Navigating the new education landscape

After several months of having to navigate the challenges of distance learning and phased re-openings, the end of term is fast approaching for all UKI schools. The reality is that many schools never actually closed their doors completely, maintaining some level of operation for key workers’ children with reduced class sizes and teachers on rotation. But as we look ahead, the Government’s current plan is for all students to be back in the classroom this month. With this in mind, when it comes to education technology and business planning for the channel, the priority needs to be preparing to operate against a backdrop of new challenges. Jim Wallis, Head of UKI, discusses some of the ways in which Promethean has been preparing its channel partners for the new education landscape.

For the AV industry, recent events have sparked discussion around the practicalities of using technology in the classroom and more specifically, what it means for the future of touch screens in education. As a global education technology company, we understand the evolving needs of schools – and technology has become an integral part of curriculum delivery.

Evolution of teaching and learning 

Over the past two decades, technologies have emerged which support teachers with creating more collaborative learning experiences that better engage students in their learning. The pedagogy of today is therefore far removed from the 1900s models, where the ‘chalk and talk’ approach would see students as passive learners. Facilitated by technology, modern pedagogy creates more active learners through interaction and collaboration. A return to ‘chalk and talk’ would take education backwards and risk a negative impact on student attainment.

When it comes to improving learning, there are also five pedagogical principles which align with the use of IFPDs in the classroom:

  • Writing is better than reading – either at the IFPD or using Screen Share from their individual devices, students can share written contributions.
  • Talking is more important than listening – use the IFPD to stimulate discussion using activities and polls.
  • Images are better than words – display highly visual content direct from the internet or prepared resources.
  • Shorter is better than longer – deliver bite-sized learning materials from multiple sources with the click of a button.
  • Different is better than the same – support learning in the moment with the Instant Whiteboard or accessing educational apps.

Given the close alignment of IFPDs with these pedagogical principles, it is clear from an educational perspective that the technology not only remains relevant, it is a fundamental part of teaching and learning. At Promethean, we help our partners develop an understanding of the education market that enables them to talk to schools in a language that resonates. In doing so the sales conversation is less about the technical specification, and more about how it can be used to make a positive impact on learning.

This approach has not changed and will not change. Where we do need to adapt is on a more practical level. For existing customers, this is as simple as providing schools with advice on sanitising the IFPD surface. For the Promethean ActivPanel, detailed guidance on this can be found at Support.PrometheanWorld.com.

For new customers it’s more about developing new working practices, which is exactly what Promethean has done with the demonstration programme and after-sales support.

Adapting to change

By staying fully operational during lockdown, the Promethean team was able to expand an existing demonstration programme to suit new working parameters in schools.

This flexible solution gives schools the choice between three different types of ActivPanel demonstration:

  • Virtual – online video session.
  • Remote – online video session followed by two-week on-site ActivPanel road test.
  • On-site – traditional face to face demonstration with two-week ActivPanel road test.

As part of its comprehensive channel support, Promethean can deliver these demonstrations on behalf of partners. In fact, since its launch last month, Promethean has been busy delivering demonstrations on a daily basis and has bookings well into the future – a clear indication that the market is still moving despite the lockdown restrictions.

Recognising that schools want to continue with investment plans, Promethean has also reviewed its practices for orientation training. Orientation training sessions are a key part of ActivPanel after sales support, helping teachers develop core skills that enable them to get the most out of the technology from day one.

As with demonstrations, schools have the flexibility to arrange orientation sessions virtually, remotely or on-site. Crucially, this is supporting schools in preparing for the September return.

While Promethean has evolved its processes to ensure business continuity, advice has also been developed for partners as the industry gears up for the pupils’ AND students’ return. Publishing regular updates and articles on Atlas, Promethean’s Partner Gateway, partners can access the latest installation guidance with additional support available from a dedicated channel team.

Looking to the future

Right now, adaptability is crucial in keeping the industry moving forward. With the situation continuing to unfold around the world, nothing is set in stone. Manufacturers need to be agile and responsive, providing continued and proactive support to channel partners. At the same time, there needs to be a balance with ‘business as usual’, especially when it comes to product development.

Promethean has maintained investment in the ActivPanel with new product updates released regularly. These are communicated to partners on scheduled update calls and through Atlas, ensuring that the latest information to support sales is always available.

Promethean also continues to develop its Partner Accreditation Programme. Built on trust, honesty and transparency, this programme has gone from strength to strength over the past few years. To learn more about becoming a Promethean partner, please visit:

https://www.prometheanworld.com/gb/about-us/become-a-channel-partner/

SET as boxed out pull quotes:

“As a manufacturer, Promethean is committed to supporting its partners to develop their business in a way that no other AV manufacturer does. With an unparalleled consideration for partners and end-users, Promethean’s values resonate completely with our own and this true partnership encourages honesty, loyalty and collaboration.”
Mike McEwen, Director, AdEPT Education

“Promethean’s response to change coupled with world class levels of business support will continue to equip partners with the tools necessary to deliver confident levels of business continuity. I’m not aware of any other IFPD manufacturer that has succeeded to the same level.”
Lee Wilson, Managing Director at AV2events

“I can honestly say that there is no other manufacturer in the IFPD market which offers the same level of care and support. Promethean has identified some of the key challenges facing us as installers and helped us to make the transition from standard AV into a more convergent and integrated IFPD world.
Colin Bulger, Installations Manager at Ardnas Installations

Demo 2

Given the close alignment of IFPDs with these pedagogical principles, it is clear from an educational perspective that the technology not only remains relevant, it is a fundamental part of teaching and learning.

The sales conversation is less about the technical specification, and more about how it can be used to make a positive impact on learning.

The pedagogy of today is therefore far removed from the 1900s models, where the ‘chalk and talk’ approach would see students as passive learners. Facilitated by technology, modern pedagogy creates more active learners through interaction and collaboration.

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