Digital learning is ‘superfast’ in the South Downs

Digital learning in the classroom is reaching new heights in the South Downs


Release date: 9 March 2017

Amberley C.E. First School enjoy digital learning from interactive white boards and iPads in each class. Superfast broadband supports the technology allowing teachers to access resources from the internet as well as broadcast media to enrich children’s learning and understanding.

A good example is BBC Newsround which is able to be downloaded and played as part of lessons. Being able to play and pause the programme means that children can think and debate the issues that they are hearing about.

“Newsround is a great free resource which we can now watch without the frustration of buffering, and the children are able to learn about and discuss together the issues affecting the world,” said Oak Class teacher, Becky Wolff.

A global view is also being encouraged by partnering with a primary school in Pakistan. Superfast broadband will enable the two schools to Skype each other to discuss lessons and learning whilst opening up the Amberley children’s horizons to beyond the borders of the UK.

Closer to home, the Amberley’s partner school, St James' CE Primary School in Coldwaltham will be able to hold video conferenced class sessions so that pupils learn the subject matter from expert teachers at both schools. “It also helps to stimulate the children by giving them an alternative interactive learning experience,” said Becky.

The giant iBoard Touch teaching screens are interactive allowing the teacher to pinch and touch information or images on the screen, and have a particular feature where children can ‘scratch off’ hidden parts of their lesson for example confirming answers to algebra equations.

The technology also means that it is possible for work to be shared in the classroom directly from iPads and ‘flipped’ onto the big screen. For the youngest pupils in Early Years, teachers can video and photograph children’s work to create a digital record of progress; which it will then be possible to share online with parents.

“One of the most exciting things about superfast broadband is that it is enabling children to learn interactively and engage with digital technology which in itself is preparation for employment in jobs that probably aren’t even created yet,” said Becky.

Superfast broadband is enabling the school to better deploy digital learning across a broad spectrum of applications, from collaborating online with other schools to downloading resources and connecting with other communities around the world.

The high-speed fibre broadband technology made possible by the Better Connected partnership between West Sussex County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK initiative is available to more than 230 households and businesses and school in the village of Amberley, and the majority of residents in Amberley can get superfast speeds of up to 70Mbps at home.

David Barling, Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services at West Sussex County Council, said: “It is fantastic to see Amberley’s schoolchildren able to include digital education in their learning and enhance their skills which will help them for the future. The aim of the Better Connected project has been to bring better, faster broadband to West Sussex and it is very rewarding to see local communities, now including Amberley, reaping the benefits of our investment.”

Stacey King, BT’s regional partnership director for the South East, said: “It is great news that by working together efficiently and effectively the partnership has been able to provide faster internet speeds to Amberley village and Amberley C.E. First School. Openreach is committed to making fibre broadband as widely available as possible. The technology really does have the ability to transform the way people learn and interact online.”

Re-investment funding of £3.9million from West Sussex County Council and central government and BT aims to extend coverage of ‘superfast’ broadband to an extra 4,000 homes and businesses by the end of 2018.

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