Accessible EdTech for the learners of Petty Pool Vocational College

Petty Pool learners using Lumio in their classroom. Customer quote reads” The use of the Lumio application on the iPads was of huge benefit to the students. It kept them engaged, it allowed them to interact with the presentation, they could research items independently. The questions that were discussed from student answers could be further researched independently. It allowed me to stretch and challenge the learners in a more autonomous way than a traditional PowerPoint would. Feedback from the students was very positive, they all really enjoyed it and were fully engaged” Ewan Martin Animal Care and Year 3 Teacher.

Nestled on 40 beautiful acres in Sandiway, Cheshire, UK, Petty Pool Vocational College provides education and training for young people with diverse learning differences, from neurodiversity to physical or learning disabilities. Their vision is to empower young people to discover a world of opportunity and possibility and connect them to their futures by developing the skills they need to pursue a career of their choosing. Their programs include hospitality, animals and environment, retail and customer service, horticulture and grounds maintenance and business enterprise. The focus is on employment strategies. The goal of the program is to upskill learners, get them out onto work placements, help learners turn that experience into a vision for their future, and then continue to support learners as they transition into a permanent work position. Students explore options that work best for them and can end up in part-time or full-time paid employment or volunteer work.

I had the opportunity to chat with Mike Kirkman, the curriculum lead for digital and functional skills as well as teaching Business Enterprise at Petty Pool, to discuss the program, the work he does and the outcomes it produces for learners.

Students apply to the program as early as year 9. The Petty Pool team collaborates closely with learners and their families to make sure the program and the course the learners select meets learners’ aspirations. Work experiences take place in the learners community and includes travel training to prepare learners for all aspects of their work life.

Mike shared that their program aims to deliver an outstanding and inclusive educational experience. Central to this are the EdTech tools they select to support teaching and learning.

Learning spaces are outfitted with a SMART Board MX Interactive Display. Learners all have their own personalized iPads and teachers create and deliver learning experiences using Lumio, a digital learning tool by SMART.

Lumio is the ideal tool for this environment, Mike says, because of the opportunities it provides for learner engagement. It also unifies all of the components of a lesson in one piece. It can include direct instruction, individual and group practice, instructional videos and assessment. Students don’t have to navigate to new locations or remember logins, which keeps them focused and prevents frustration.

Teachers at Petty Pool are able to use existing content and then create engaging activities within the lesson to reinforce the learning. Teachers are able to activate prior learning using the brainstorming activity, Shout It Out. Games and graphic organizers offer learners opportunities to practice both individually and in groups. Activities can be structured so that learners collaborate in digital workspaces, promoting both content knowledge and social skills practice. Teachers also find the collaborative games are great for recall and recap lessons.

Petty Pool learners enjoy coming to the SMART Board at the front of the room to test their knowledge with the Game Show activity. It helps learners with retrieval practice while also helping to develop their social interaction and communication with their peers. Learners also practice different roles, with someone taking on the role of game show host and reading out the questions while others participate as contestants and answer the questions.

Learners with visual impairments benefit from using Lumio as the content displayed on the SMART display at the front of the room can also be displayed on their iPad, allowing them to see and interact with the content without having to sit at the front of the room and feel singled out. This allows them to choose their seat and even sit with friends and get the same access in an inclusive way.

Using Lumio with the SMART Board MX Interactive Display at the front of the room also helps to empower learners and give them some agency in their learning. The teacher is able to drive the lesson from their device, moving around the room and providing support as needed. Learners can use both the front of room display and their devices to practice their learning and show what they know.

Petty Pool Vocational College empowers learners by helping them develop agency as well as the skills needed to find success in the workplace. It’s only with passionate teachers, thoughtful EdTech choices and rich community relationships that this is  possible.

Learn more about Petty Pool Vocational College at

Interested in learning more about how Lumio supports all learners? Read our blog post Lumio gets an “A” for Accessibility.