Sandwell Academy is part of the Thomas Telford Multi Academy Trust (TTMAT), established in September 2017 and comprises of three secondary schools and one primary school across the Midlands in England, United Kingdom. The principal objective of the trust is to provide an academic environment where students can maximise their potential while enjoying the benefits of a wide range of subject matters. Opened in 2006, Sandwell Academy is home to 1,200 students and boasts state-of-the-art facilities and technology and specialise in Physical Education and Sport and Business Enterprise.
Modernising the classroom
In 2016, Sandwell started the process of replacing their existing projector and whiteboard estate due to the degrading image quality which was impacting on the delivery of lessons and lesson content, especially as video is used widely across the school. Daljeet Kangh, IT Manager for the Academy, started the process of looking for a superior, replacement solution.
"The ongoing cost associated with projection-based technology was unpalatable for the Trust, and we found that we were constantly replacing lamps and filters, we wanted to upgrade our front of classroom display solution that met the needs of the school today but also future-proofed our investment. I was aware that interactive touchscreen display was becoming popular within the education market, so, together with my Audio Visual provider, we started to look at credible alternatives to projection."
Future-proofing learning environments
Daljeet had core objectives from the upgrade project, specifically that the replacement solution needed to be affordable with no ongoing maintenance costs, be completely intuitive and come with excellent pre and post sales support.
"From the start of our engagement with Avocor, we have been impressed with the product quality and the support that we have received. This demonstrated to me that Avocor was a brand that cared about customer relationships and this gave me the confidence that Avocor would be actively supportive through the lifecycle of the displays we rolled out across our estate."
Daljeet standardised on the Avocor F series, the flagship model in the Avocor product range. Leaders in display innovation, Avocor was the first-to-market with InGlass™ touch technology, delivering an incredibly smooth and responsive user experience, optimised for use with Microsoft Windows applications.
"We particularly loved the crystal-clear image displayed by the Avocor F series displays which delivered high-definition, 4K image quality, and our teachers loved the simplicity of the Avocor solution. The fact that they could just pick up a pen and start annotating directly into lesson content has made lessons more interactive and ultimately saved valuable lesson time."
Avocor partners with Qwizdom, education software specialists and each Avocor display comes with a free subscription to OKTOPUS, content creation software that also enables users to open 'legacy' whiteboard content created in bespoke software such as SMART Notebook. Avocor solutions are also designed to be incredibly intuitive and users will instantly feel comfortable with the Microsoft interface, opening a world of familiar content such as PowerPoint, Excel and Microsoft whiteboard.
The Avocor F series also includes a connect and control bar at the front of the display, providing instant access to USB ports for guest users, reducing the need to connect laptops via the rear connectivity ports. The bar also includes control functions, removing the need for remote control devices that inevitably get lost, rendering the technology useless.
A collaborative partnership
Daljeet has continued to be impressed by the support from the Avocor team, citing that the company is flexible and agile enough to respond quickly to end users needs and requirements, implementing changes in product development is required.
"We feel as though Avocor listens to our feedback and we have seen changes in their product roadmap that reflect our feedback. Deploying Avocor interactive displays across Sandwell Academy has been an extremely positive experience for the school. We have saved money and time and we are more productive as a result. We no longer have to calibrate at the start of each lesson and we don't have additional maintenance costs. The technology has a longer lifecycle than our previous project estate, meaning we have invested in technology that is future-proofed and provides excellent return-on-investment."