Student using BIG PAD interactive screen

A Pupil Referral Unit in Kent implements Sharp Audio Visual Edtech to help disadvantaged pupils.

The Kent based education unit provides students with a holistic curriculum designed to meet their individual needs, be it medical, health, or physical. Often disadvantaged, socially and due to missing education, this approach enables the best possible outcomes for its pupils.

With outdated and unreliable equipment, the Pupil Referral Unit was struggling with teaching. Ageing classroom technology had become unreliable and disruptive to lessons, leading to a loss of pupil engagement. By partnering with Sharp, the Education unit received a bespoke solution that improved functionality and enabled fluid in-class and remote teaching in an ever-changing learning environment.

The challenge
Creating a modern learning environment

Whilst providing specialist education for 120 pupils between the ages of 11-18 years, the immediate challenge for the Pupil Referral Unit was equipment cost, reliability, and the ability to allow full participation from remote students, encouraging them to work with their peers in the classroom.

Ageing classroom projectors and interactive displays were becoming unresponsive, and providing poor image brightness, and contrast with limited audio capability, ultimately affecting teaching and student engagement.

Furthermore, the Pupil Referral Unit was concerned about the cost incurred in maintaining their existing equipment. With high energy consumption and expensive parts, they required a reliable solution to provide seamless digital education.

Finally, due to the nature of the education referral unit, several students studied from home due to health needs or social situations. There was therefore a need for the school to enable remote or hybrid teaching to the students studying from home.

The business manager went on to say “Our objectives for this project were clear, for Sharp to provide a simple solution, unhindered by technological barriers, allowing full participation from all students without being disadvantaged through technology either in the classroom or remotely.”

Soundbar on BIG PAD

The solution
Reliable, future-proof Ed-tech

The Pupil Referral Unit was introduced to Sharp through their Business Manager who had previously utilised the KCS Procurement Services AV Framework. The Business Manager was aware of Sharp’s positive reputation and subsequently invited Sharp to discuss their needs and requirements.

Through consultation, Sharp designed a bespoke solution to meet their objectives and ultimately help improve the quality of teaching. Sharp demonstrated a proof of concept to help the Pupil Referral Unit achieve its objectives and improve the quality of teaching.

The final solution consisted of a full suite of Audio Visual and IT equipment to help facilitate blended teaching and learning. With ten wall-mounted screens throughout the Pupil Referral Unit and an additional mobile solution that employed the same equipment. This mobile solution was mounted on a portable trolley, enabling multiple classrooms to take advantage of its functionality.

The mobile classroom solution was installed to encourage student participation and engagement in class. Sharp installed a BIG PAD 75” interactive display to provide a clear presentation of lessons, allowing teachers and students to seamlessly interact with all lesson activities.

Furthermore, Sharp installed a wall-mounted microphone array and soundbar to capture audio within the entire classroom alongside the BIG PAD interactive display, allowing remote students to be able to hear and easily engage with the teacher and their peers.

Students and teacher engaging in a lesson

Finally, Sharp installed a high-quality Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera with tracking and broadcasting for the entire class. The camera included optical zoom to allow the teacher to focus on apparatus, for instance during STEM lessons.

With the installation of the state-of-the-art Audio Visual equipment, it was essential that the Pupil Referral Unit had an easy-to-use solution that end users could simply switch on and go. Sharp installed an on-board Windows 10 computer to make the solution independent of any connected laptop with an integral Windows PC built into the BIG PAD interactive display. This provided the ability to run all lesson presentation and video conferencing software, giving teachers the capacity to easily connect the screen, camera, and microphone and hold their lessons.

Finally, Sharp installed a desktop second 24” monitor with a wireless keyboard trackpad. This would allow the teacher to completely control every aspect of the online lesson. This key feature lets the teacher maintain control of the lesson whilst facilitating remote students who may be more introverted or less confident to still engage in the class.

“Sharp designed a solution to meet our objectives and improve the quality of teaching. Providing proof of concept and developing a solution to achieve the optimum learning environment.”

Business Manager, Pupil Referral Unit

Student using BIG PAD

The result
Affordable solutions that empower teaching

Sharp provided a reliable, affordable solution which has ensured flexibility and enabled teaching in any environment whether in the classroom or at home.

With the addition of the Sharp BIG PAD 75” interactive display and the high-quality pan-tilt-zoom camera, teaching can be conducted in a natural way, capturing the interaction between student and teacher without compromising the experience for either. This ensures students are not disadvantaged despite their circumstances.

The Business Manager went on to say, “We have realised a steep improvement in functionality, enabling fluid in-classroom and remote teaching.” The new equipment provided a reliable, affordable solution designed to facilitate in-class and remote teaching whilst enabling learning in a natural, inclusive way. Helping to capture the interaction between student and teacher without compromising the experience.

Staff at the education unit have also benefited from the new AV solution with the capacity to facilitate staff training and meetings, improving their ability to achieve key objectives whilst avoiding unnecessary staff travel. This has helped reduce the carbon footprint incurred by the school and provided a positive environmental and social benefit.

“We have realised a steep improvement in our equipment’s functionality, enabling fluid in classroom and remote teaching.”

Business Manager, Pupil Referral Unit