Byram Hills Schools are committed to building the leaders of tomorrow.
Student centered, collaborative, authentic learning is at the heart of the district and community commitment. A key ingredient to meeting this goal is learning spaces that reflect their values. In these spaces, technology, coupled with sound instructional practices, is relied upon to challenge and extend the capacity of all learners.
The progression to 1:1 computing and electronic databases led sections of computer labs and sections of libraries to become underutilized. The opportunity to transform these into collaboration areas was embraced fully, and the district is fully engaged in an on-going, rethinking of space to support the development of 21st century skills.
When we met with Byram Hills, they were specifically seeking an interactive display space. “Students need to take responsibility for posting and showcasing their thinking... share their knowledge ...sort, organize and connect new information to older ideas. Working alongside their peers, students co-construct understanding in an environment that supports a culture of thinking.” (Make Space: 4 Learning.) The challenge was to find a technology that would meet these needs while being flexible and easy to use for teachers and students of all ages.
Phi Services scheduled an initial meeting to demonstrate Span in our location, discuss their unique use cases and learning goals, and share the flexibility of the system. Next, we toured their spaces to determine the appropriate solution. In the high school we designed a triple system that turned a corner and could help accommodate multiple classes working together. We contributed to the creation of unique learning space in the Wampus School, where they were planning a hub for all of the STEAM initiatives, including a maker space. By linking two spaces with Span walls on each side, we successfully accommodated a load bearing wall.
The potential to work together or separately opened up new opportunities We guided wall preparation and installed the technology ourselves to make sure the vision was achieved. We worked with key users to understand the application of the technology, so that they could lead the adoption by the general community. We regularly updated on new features and made any necessary adjustments. We even helped organize two Open Houses to help Byram Hills share their successes with other districts that face the same challenges. We have built a persistent relationship that leads us to learn from each other and to create more new spaces this year.
Children are excited to come into a refreshing, exciting environment and embrace new challenges.
— Al lovelace, building technology coordinator at wampus elementary school
Al Lovelace, Building Technology Coordinator at Campus Elementary reports that the Span System has changed the way “our kids engage with technology, each other and with content. It takes learning to a whole new level. Pushes them to collaborate, work together to solve problems, communicate with each other.” He says that it encourages collaboration and communication between children, between classes, between adults and children that he hasn't seen in any other school.
In the high school with Span 30 feet of continuous projection, groups of 30+ students can now come together at one time at Span wall and engage in problem based learning experiences. Simultaneously, there could be 30 more in their seats planning what they wanted to post on the wall. When students have an opportunity to plan their work they have opportunity to be reflective, think about what they are posting.
At the elementary level, third graders have redesigned houses for the 3 little pigs using a Design Thinking Concept. In their inclusion classes, there is a mixed level of capabilities. With Span, it is nearly impossible to tell which students have special needs. Dr. Andrew Taylor, CIO and Director of Technology says "I think the technology in that case was the great equalizer."