Contact: Jonathan Morgan, Principal School: Gogarth Special School, Llandudno, Conwy, LL30 1YE Web address:www.ysgolygogarth.co.uk Phone: 01492 860077 URN: 402027
Case Study Summary
Complete ICT Solution - Gaia provided a complete ICT solution to Gogarth, ensuring that it was both adaptable and accessible to meet the needs of the school.
Comprehensive ICT Support - Gaia provides Gogarth with constant ICT support and maintenance, ensuring that issues are minimised and teachers can focus on teaching.
Unlocking Innovative Learning - Gaia has sponsored a full 3D hardware and software teaching solution, enhancing student learning, particularly benefiting students who learn visually.
Developing Effective Teaching Resources - Gaia also works with Ysgol Gogarth to develop specialised teaching resources, which are both effective and innovative.
Gogarth Special School
Gogarth is a day and residential Special School currently catering for approximately 210 pupils between the ages of 3 and 19 who have a wide spectrum of additional learning needs. This includes more than 50 pupils with Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Currently the only ALN school in the local authority, Gogarth provides a specialised curriculum comprising of literacy, numeracy and life-skills.
The school has extensive experience of implementing Autism Specific Strategies such as, SPELL (Structure, Positive, Empathy, Low Arousal, Links), ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) as well as the use of Alternative and Augmentative communication strategies such as PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) to support pupils’ learning and development. In addition the school provides an outreach service in collaboration with the Local Authority for local mainstream schools.
Gogarth Undergoes Complete Redevelopment
In January 2014 Gogarth moved from its existing school into a purpose built facility, which included new classrooms, specialist teaching areas, therapy rooms, hydro-pool, sports hall and vocational teaching areas, as well as short-term self-contained residential and living accommodation, offering a clear division between school and home.
The schools’ goal for this project was for the facilities and resources of the new building to enhance the quality of pupils’ experience and enable a much richer engagement and learning to take place. Critical to this was the need for an ICT solution where both adaptability and accessibility were of paramount importance, especially given the additional needs of the pupils.
Following a rigorous tendering process, initiated in April 2013, Gaia were selected as the preferred bidder. With strict deadlines in place for the opening of the new building, Gaia ensured constant communication and a close relationship was developed and maintained between the school, the builder and Gaia, to ensure that the new ICT solution was fully integrated into the school.
Gaia Provides Fit-For-Purpose ICT Solution
Gaia followed the builders’ construction timetable and as each area was made ready the Gaia team followed fitting the ICT. As the build was not ready to be handed over to the school until the same week as full occupation, the Gaia team worked over the Christmas holidays and at weekends ensuring that the school’s ICT was ready for the 1st day of operation.
Gaia’s strategic relationships with suppliers and manufacturers ensured that the highest quality hardware and software was used to create a right-fit ICT solution for Gogarth.
The solution includes Cisco active networking, HP servers, Acer PC’s, Acer Laptops, iPads, Smartboards, 3D projector, iBoard Touch Screens on height adjustable trolleys, Digital Signage, adaptive and special needs peripherals and software.
“The most pleasing aspect of the experience of working with Gaia has been the personal and individualised service offered from the tender stage through to completion and into the managed service we now receive. The willingness to problem solve with us and listen and respond to the unique demands of a school like Gogarth have been evident from early in the project. Gaia have never made us feel like a client and the whole process has been conducted in the spirit of partnership with knowledgeable staff who clearly understand 21st Century schools. Technical solutions have been explained to staff at all levels of the school and local authority in a way that allowed them to make informed decisions and feel part of the overall process.
Gaia’s willingness and commitment to meeting the most demanding of schedules in order to facilitate what were extremely optimistic construction completion dates was incredible and the fact that the school opened earlier than originally planned with a full IT infrastructure cannot be underestimated. In addition, the support that the technical staff gave teaching and nonteaching staff during the first few weeks, led to a very smooth transition.” Jonathan Morgan, Principal
A Comprehensive Managed ICT Support Service
Underpinning the capital build project was a managed ICT support service, which provided a combination of both onsite and remote support from Gaia's staff of highly qualified technicians. The managed ICT support service is a combination of both reactive and proactive maintenance, giving the school peace of mind and enabling staff to focus on teaching. Gaia's support engineers are also helping to keep teachers up-to-date with a working knowledge of various classroom technologies, allowing them to deliver more engaging, technology-based lessons. Gaia continue to provide CPD when needed, using SEN specialists such as Ian Bean (www.ianbean.co.uk).
Gaia Sponsorship Helps Unlock Innovative Learning
Gaia sponsored the provision of the latest 3D hardware and software, furnishing Gogarths’ Digital Media Room with fit-for-purpose kit. Gaia provided a high specification hardware package comprising BenQ projector and Acer PC, as well as providing its market-leading 3D education software package, Gaia 3D.
This sponsorship has allowed Gogarth teachers to teach and students to learn using the very latest 3D software. The 3D software allows students to explore content in 3D and visualise complex concepts, which is especially useful for pupils with ASD, who are thought to be visual learners.
Gaia Develop Innovative Learning Solutions
Gaia have worked with Gogarth to create a number of innovative teaching resources, matched to the schools SEN curriculum needs.
Gaia Talking Heads – Bringing A School Mascot To Life
Gaia worked with the school to create a fully controllable avatar, based on Gogarths’ school mascot, John. The idea of the avatar is that some students may be more open to communicating with a familiar virtual character, compared with talking to a teacher. The avatar’s words and actions are fully controlled by the teacher, with the teacher also able to see and hear the student, allowing students to express thoughts and feelings that they may be uncomfortable sharing with a teacher.
Monkey Puzzle Animation
Gaia have also used this avatar to create an animated sign language video, with the goal of teaching students 20 Makaton signs, based on the words of the song “Monkey Puzzle” by Julia Donaldson. Gaia recorded, edited and pieced together the singing and animation, to create the finished article. Headteacher, Jonathan Morgan, said;
“Gaia have been very supportive in helping us develop a resource that helps us engage those young people in learning the signs.”
Gogarth Pupil Lets Talent Shine At Gaia
During 2015 one of the Gogarths' autistic students started a work placement at Gaia, allowing him to develop his artistic and computer design skills within the Gaia Creative Media team. Gogarth Principal Jonathan Morgan said Gaia have been “incredible” and “the investment Gaia have made in supporting him is something we’re very proud of,” - Read more about the work placement
Gaia Technologies & Ysgol Y Gogarth – The Future
Gaia continues to provide Gogarth with a leading managed ICT service as well as working with Gogarth to develop innovative, best-in-class teaching resources using the latest technology.
Gogarth Headteacher, Jonathan Morgan, is exceptionally positive about the future, not only for Gogarth, but for the continuing working relationship.
“The future is working with Gaia to develop something which isn’t the norm, which is different, just like Ysgol Y Gogarth. I’m very excited about the future. I can only see it going from strength to strength”
Serving the community of Newark, Nottinghamshire, the 1070 pupil Dukeries Academy (11-18) is part of the Academy Transformation Trust (ATT) community of 19 academies.
As a specialist technology academy pupils have access to the latest technology delivering a wide range of learning opportunities and experiences ensuring individual students reach their full potential. Previously known as the Dukeries Comprehensive School, it converted to academy status in 2013 to become the Dukeries Academy and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014. The Dukeries Academy is a leading member of the ATT Trust ICT Steering Group, supporting and guiding 18 other academies in their use of ICT.
The Dukeries Academy is proud to be a reference site for Acer & Gaia Technologies and has expanded its academy wide provision of Windows devices in 2015. In addition, the academy and its strategic partners have invested in 2015 to build a new innovation centre. The centre will act as a beacon of innovation within Dukeries and the wider community.
Gaia Technologies Provides a Leading Innovation Room
The Acer/Windows Innovation Centre at The Dukeries Academy.The “Official” opening is on 6th November 2015 by Mark Spencer MP
A large room has been converted into a versatile learning space enabling students, community groups and partner institutions to use the latest Windows devices, software and projection technology. The innovation centre has a key role in providing the facilities to train teachers and pupils in the use of latest technology within all aspects of the curriculum. The development of these new teachers’ skills will support the wider use of ICT in the academy and community.
The Dukeries Academy innovation room - including green screen and filming provision.
The room has flexible furniture which can be adapted depending on the use of the room at any particular time, either by the school or the local community. One wall has a drop down green screen powered by an Acer Windows PC with professional lighting to allow students to produce their own films.
There is also a large interactive projector used as a teaching wall, again powered by one of the 20 Acer PCs. Up to 60 mobile Windows devices, the Acer Switch 10E tablets are being issued flexibly by students not only within this room but out in the wider academy environment and field trips. Gaia Technologies are also supporting the academy with, lighting, 3D cameras & a 3D printer for this project as well as a 3D setup in the new drama hall.
The Dukeries Academy, Gaia Technologies and Acer use Window desktops and tablets to create innovative projects, including animated comic book strips and an interactive virtual construction site;
The Dukeries Academy and Discovery Channel Partnership
The Discovery Channel is also working in partnership developing the digital learning environment at The Dukeries.
The partnership involves bespoke training programmes within the innovation room, developing the use of both content and technology, with CPD to digital leaders, teachers and students to maximise the impact on teaching and learning.
Forging Strong Links with, and between, Manufacturer and Academy
Gaia Technologies has a long history of successful partnerships within the education sector. Key to this is Gaia Technologies relationships with the leading manufacturers and suppliers, ensuring that Gaia Technologies is able to consistently provide its customers with a market leading ICT provision. The key benefits of partnership with Gaia Technologies for The Dukeries Academy are;
Working with a trusted ICT partner - Gaia Technologies has been on each and every DfE ICT Services Framework (formerly the Becta framework). - one of only five ICT companies to do so.
Creative, innovative solutions using hardware and software from trusted brands — ensuring the Academy had the best hardware and software from market leading providers, such as Microsoft and Acer
Predictable costs — The Dukeries knows how much the service will cost year on year
Reliable service - ensuring a continuity of service, allowing teachers to teach.
“The Dukeries Academy benefits from Gaia’s strategic relationship with both Acer and Microsoft. The close links between the Academy and Gaia has a real impact on widening the opportunities for our student and staff. Gaia’s friendly and flexible managed service, infrastructure and installation service enables us to concentrate on the delivery of outstanding teaching and learning to all of our students”
Ian Barton Principal Dukeries Academy
Innovative Software Demands Innovative Devices
Gaia Technologies also provided the Academy with a whole site licence of the Gaia3D curriculum matched software. The Gaia3D software is an incredibly powerful piece of education software, which requires a powerful device to run. Gaia Technologies supplied all the necessary hardware and licences required. At the heart of this was the Acer Veriton small form factor desktop and NVidia graphics card.
The Dukeries Academy - A Successful, 21st Century School
The Dukeries, thanks in part to their improved ICT provision, the hardware and software solutions provided and the ongoing partnership with Gaia Technologies, was described by Former Secretary of State for Children Schools and Families, Ed Balls, as "the kind of school we would like to see across the country, I call it the 21st Century School".
The Dukeries Academy also recently celebrated their best ever A Level results in August 2015. The Principal of The Dukeries Academy, Ian Barton, said: “These are incredible results and they are a credit to the hard work of our pupils and staff. You should all be very proud of your achievements and you should feel confident as you look to pursue your future aspirations. Congratulations.”
Gaia Technologies had once again successfully demonstrated the ability to provide exciting and innovative solutions to customers.
Excelsior Academy was set up by the Excelsior Academy Trust and Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).
The academy serves the community in the west of Newcastle and actively involve families in supporting their children’s learning.
The Academy occupies new state of the art buildings which allows the delivery of a ground breaking model of education. Gaia was selected to help the Academy deliver its new build ICT Project.
Gaia delivers on time and on budget
Gaia was able to call on its own implementation teams to ensure that exact products were delivered and that work was meticulously planned in order to avoid any overruns. The focus and attention Gaia paid to the project meant that significant sums were saved from the £1.8m budget.
Secure Wireless Cloud
Gaia worked closely with the Academy to implement one of the largest wireless clouds in any school in the UK- in order to enable ‘Anywhere Learning’. A colossal 240 Wireless Access Points were distributed in key locations of the building to enable students to securely roam without interruption in and around the building. This number of Access Points is much higher density than normal and was determined to be necessary to accommodate the large number of simultaneous student connections to the wireless network.
This discreet use of ICT has been a major contributory factor in the school’s increasing levels of attainment as Notebooks used within a wireless infrastructure have provided pupils and teachers with greater access to information across every subject.
The flexibility to learn without time and place restrictions has suited pupils’ schedules, resulting in high-quality coursework.
Delivery Against the Odds
The design of the building and the weather caused delays in the construction project which endangered a delay in the Academy’s opening.
At the time of commencing work we had to deal with a number of issues surrounding support infrastructure to the Interactive Whiteboards, water leaks in the Server Rooms, and Construction delays.
Gaia, along with everyone else on site, worked tirelessly throughout the evenings, weekends and the insertion of multiple support teams in order to ensure that the delays did not cause the Academy to open later than planned. As a result, Gaia teams received the highest gratitude from the Academy Leadership Team for their dedication and their Delivery Against the Odds!
Cisco Systems as a Base Infrastructure
Gaia worked closely with the Academy to design the state of the art LAN infrastructure.
As a leading Cisco Partner, Gaia helped the Academy design and implement a Cisco based infrastructure that would protect their investments for many years to come. With industry-leading services and performance, the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switch is Cisco’s flagship switching solution. It delivers the most comprehensive feature sets for core or distribution deployments.
The design involved two 10Gbps linked 6509 switches acting as a Core and linked up to 60 Cisco 3650 Switches with teamed up 4Gbps fibre SFP in 6 distribution zones around the school.
State of the Art VoIP as Standard
Gaia also worked with the Academy to design and implement a telephony system based on Cisco VoIP Call Manager and Unity.
The migration included new lines, PBX, Voice Mail, and Handsets including wireless based ones. Cisco Unified Communications Manager provides voice, video, mobility, and presence services for up to 60,000 users. The system is a scalable, distributable, and highly available enterprise-class IP telephony call-processing system.
Cisco Unified Communications Manager creates a unified workspace that extends enterprise telephony features and capabilities to packet telephony network devices such as IP phones, media processing devices, voice over IP (VoIP) gat
eways, mobile devices, and multimedia applications.
Largest Implementation of (IBM) Lenovo
The Academy has chosen for its user devices, Lenovo (IBM). Nearly 1400 Lenovo Machines have been deployed in the Academy. That is an average of one computer for every 1.2 students. An impressive ratio by any standard.
This all-new Lenovo equipment packs a complete, high performance computer into a beautifully thin design incorporating widescreen. It includes built-in wireless, the new Vista and the new Office 2007. The new devices will allow the students to do everything from sharing photos to creating movies to building websites.
To complete the picture, Gaia helped the Academy specify the portable device for students and teachers. Over 1000 Notebooks have been deployed throughout the Academy using secure trolleys.
Every device comes with the latest Microsoft Office version and a wide host of media applications. A special education pricing deal with Lenovo (IBM), brokered by Gaia, meant that the Academy was able to maximise their budget.
Shelfield Community Academy is the first school in the UK to work with Gaia Technologies to embrace and develop the use of 3D technologies in the classroom. Through the implementation of 3D lessons, the school has seen a dramatic improvement in student participation, retention and comprehension.
Gaia have developed a wide range of 3D learning content in partnership with teachers and students. This content covers the breadth of the curriculum and some of the vocational courses. The content library is available for use and is packaged with the Gaia 3D Viewer. Gaia also offer a wide range of 3D hardware solutions for large spaces, classrooms and individual users.
Specialising in English and literacy, sport and physical education, Shelfield Community Academy is part of the Ormiston Academy Trust, which strongly believes that children should be empowered to maximise their potential through the removal of barriers to learning. One of the aims of the Trust is to raise educational standards by building a world-class network of innovative, high performing secondary schools in partnership with the wider community.
As an Academy, Shelfield has the independence to deliver the curriculum of its choice and adopt the latest technologies and innovative solutions to enhance and improve its pupils’ learning experiences. With this in mind, the Academy decided to partner with Gaia Technologies for the design, development, implementation and support of its unique 3D Immersive Visual Learning System.
“We knew that a 3D learning solution would dramatically enhance our teaching processes and develop students’ learning skills in a way that cannot be compared to the traditional text book approach.” Bernard Dickinson, Principal, Shelfield Community Academy
An Innovative Teaching Solution
“Gaia’s 3D Immersive Visual Learning system changes the dynamic of learning as students learn through observation rather than by instruction,” explained Anas Mawla, Gaia Technologies’ Managing Director. “By using our 3D visual learning solutions, teachers spend less time explaining, as students are able to understand complex relationships and techniques through individual observation. Gaia has brought expensive technology to affordable levels well within the reach of educational establishments.”
“From the outset, this has been a real partnership,” explained Bernard Dickinson, the Principal at Shelfield Community Academy. “We knew that a 3D learning solution would dramatically enhance our teaching processes and develop students’ learning skills in a way that cannot be compared to the traditional text book approach. We wanted an organisation that would work with us, providing the hardware and support and developing custom 3D resources in line with our curriculum objectives.”
“Teaching in 3D eradicates the time lost in lessons. Using the 3D learning solution I can teach 30% more than I can in a normal classroom!” Michael Murphy, Head of Humanities Faculty, Shelfield Community Academy
Shelfield has been impressed with the flexibility of Gaia Technologies from the early stages of the project. In addition to their in-depth experience, Gaia engineers and consultants fully understand the unique requirements and objectives of the Shelfield teaching staff.
“The partnership is extremely productive,” added Bernard Dickinson. “The combination of innovative technology, staff input and Gaia’s ability to deliver has resulted in an incredible teaching solution.”
Michael Murphy, the Head of Shelfield’s Humanities Faculty, agrees: “Gaia provides an outstanding service on many levels, but their communication skills are first class,” he continued. “Gaia is genuinely eager to help our students learn and works very closely with staff across the Academy to change the way in which our students interact with teaching and learning.”
But it’s not just about changing how students interact with teaching and learning. Shelfield’s 3D Visual Learning Solution is substantially en-hancing the way in which information is absorbed by students. Shelfield’s students were born into a world that embraces visual media. Computers, game platforms and mobile phones are a natural part of their lives and the transition from traditional text book teaching to a 3D Visual Learning experience is enthusiastically welcomed by the Academy’s students.
A Real Learning Experience
Shelfield has found that teaching in 3D provides students with an entirely new experience where they are more engaged and productive.
“Teaching in 3D eradicates the time lost in lessons,” continued Michael Murphy. “A lesson that would normally take 60 minutes can now be conducted in 35 minutes, leaving almost half the lesson period available to expand on what has been learned. Using the 3D learning solution I can teach 30% more than I can in a normal classroom!”
The initial Shelfield 3D learning solution implementation, including a wide screen, stereo sound and the core 3D projection system, has been installed in a dedicated suite. Teaching staff book the facility in advance whenever they need it, although the system has proved so popular with students and staff that classroom-based lessons often decamp to the 3D centre so that the subject being taught can be explored in more detail.
“Students are all engaged and excited to be learning. You can visibly see the participation increase when we walk into the 3D suite. Students who are engaged are much more likely to recall and retain information and that is what teaching is all about,” added Mr Murphy.
“A recent geography class used the 3D suite to focus on volcanoes. While discussing the structure and function of a volcano, one student brought up the subject of Pompeii. We were able to naturally flow on with the lesson, using the 3D system to explore Pompeii and walk the students through a Roman town. You just can’t achieve that level of interaction using traditional text books,” explained Mr Murphy.
Using resources like these, students show dramatic improvement and have more fun learning.
Shelfield’s 3D system is used to explore Roman architecture and the Roman way of life.
“3D isn’t a gimmick. It allows us to develop skills within our students far more effectively. It has changed the way we teach: students can learn at a faster pace, the whole process is more effective and efficient, and we can improve students’ abilities to understand and learn.” Bernard Dickinson, Principal, Shelfield Community Academy
The success of the 3D learning solution and the impact that it has had on both teachers and students has encouraged Shelfield to evaluate the practicalities of replicating its 3D learning solution across other parts of the Academy so that it can be used as a day-to-day teaching tool in classrooms.
“We initially saw our 3D resource as playing a key role in teaching complex subjects, such as science where it can be difficult to describe a concept,” explained Lisa Barton, Shelfield’s Head of 3D Learning. “However we found that our students have really engaged in 3D so we are working very closely with the Gaia team to create new resources to enhance our overall curriculum.”
Changing the Way We Teach
Shelfield Community Academy is developing the 3D concept further across the curriculum. It sees the 3D learning platform as the natural way forward in helping students learn and gain an understanding of subjects, and plans to expand its use of this new and highly successful teaching tool across all departments.
Bernard Dickinson concluded, “With Gaia’s help we have thoroughly investigated the whole concept and have developed our approach to learning using 3D in particular to help students appreciate concepts and understand more easily how things interrelate. 3D allows us to develop skills within our students far more effectively. It has changed the way we teach: students can learn at a faster pace, the whole process is more effective and efficient, and we can improve students’ abilities to understand and learn.”
“Gaia Technologies is leading the way in this technology and supporting the Academy in the content creation and development of the hardware and software used in this incredible teaching tool.”