Scottish school recognized for enhancing the curriculum of special needs students
CALGARY, Alberta --- September 24, 2009 --- SMART Technologies announces that it has selected Isobel Mair School (IMS) in Scotland as the UK’s first SMART Showcase School. Located near Glasgow in East Renfrewshire, IMS exemplifies the qualities of all SMART Showcase Schools. IMS demonstrates the benefits of using SMART education solutions to create an extraordinary 21st-century learning environment with staff who are committed to sharing their use of technology products with the surrounding education community. With more than 100 SMART Showcase Schools across North America, IMS is the second international SMART Showcase School to be recognized, following Zurich International School in Switzerland in June 2009. As the first UK Showcase School, IMS will act as a host site for administrators and teachers from other schools interested in learning how SMART education solutions can improve teaching and learning.
With 55 staff and just under 70 students, IMS is a unique learning facility for special needs students aged five to eighteen. In 2005, IMS began installing SMART Board™ interactive whiteboards and now has one in every classroom. IMS also uses SMART Response (formerly Senteo™) interactive response systems in many classrooms and installed its first SMART Table interactive learning center in April 2009. According to head teacher Mari Wallace, SMART’s interactive learning products play an important role in special education at IMS as they are used throughout the school to support all aspects of teaching and learning. Educators found that, unlike other interactive surfaces that only accept pen-based input, students at IMS – including those with physical challenges – could engage with the SMART Board interactive whiteboard using any part of their body. This type of interaction enables students to work directly with the content, removing barriers to learning with interactive tools and digital content. Teachers also report that using SMART products enables students with special needs to collaborate, communicate and cultivate critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, all while interacting in a fun and engaging environment. Even those students who have difficulty communicating verbally or who are typically reluctant to participate in group settings use the products to interact with teachers and peers. Construction of a new school building is underway with plans to open in summer of 2011. This new facility is designed to extend educational technology to all students and has electrical outlets in the floors to enable installation of a SMART Table in every classroom.
“Because SMART products allow our teachers to easily integrate visual, auditory and kinesthetic elements into their lessons, they are able to more strongly support the wide range of learning needs of our students,” says Mari Wallace. “Becoming the first SMART Showcase School in the UK is a testament to the quality of the products from SMART Technologies and the enthusiasm and skill of our teachers to implement technology into each child’s learning pathway.”
“It’s a pleasure to welcome Isobel Mair School to the SMART Showcase School program,” says Nancy Knowlton, SMART’s CEO. “Naming our first UK showcase school highlights the growing number of schools worldwide that are improving student outcomes through effective use of our education solutions, and we trust that visitors to this school will learn from these educators and their pupils.”
About Isobel Mair School
Isobel Mair School has a holistic approach to the education of pupils aged 5–18 years who have a very wide range of difficulties. Meeting the needs of pupils with complex learning difficulties demands a high degree of structure and staff expertise. All staff are suitably qualified in the education of pupils with complex learning needs and additional communication and language disorders. Staff are encouraged to share values, direction and responsibility for the benefit of the staff and school. To learn more about Isobel Mair School, visit www.ea.e-renfrew.sch.uk/isobelmair.
About SMART Showcase Schools
SMART Showcase Schools use SMART products in outstanding ways. These schools serve as resources for other educators who want to learn more about the benefits of implementing SMART products in the classroom. SMART hand selects schools with demonstrated commitment to creating 21st-century learning environments. Visitors to a SMART Showcase School can expect to see how SMART products are used to engage students and enhance lessons every day. SMART Showcase Schools are located throughout the United States and Canada, with international Showcase Schools in Switzerland and the UK. Plans are also in place to establish SMART Showcase Schools in more countries in the near future. To learn more about SMART Showcase Schools, visit www.education.smarttech.com/showcase.