The inspiring Technology Hub at Bushey Heath Primary School

    Published: 16 January 2020

    Bushey Heath Primary School, near Watford in Hertfordshire, has 273 pupils on roll between the ages of 3 and 11.

    Since September 2019, the school has been developing an exciting and innovative Technology Hub, which includes podcasting studios, a newsroom with green screen and professional TV lighting, computers for video editing and much more.

    Headteacher Penny Barefoot told me how the school’s vision for computing and ICT is for children to learn digital skills, and develop their digital literacy through real tools that are relevant to today. Podcasting and vlogging are now the media of choice for many young people and digital media impacts all aspects of life. Computing and ICT weaves through all subjects at Bushey Heath, and their new Digital Hub provides engaging opportunities for the children to be creative, and to use and apply digital skills in meaningful and motivating ways.

    Photo of hub area
    Children have space to sit and use mobile technology such as iPads, while media equipment is stored in easily accessible cupboards.

     

    “We’ve got proper editing tools and it’s just amazing”.

    Year 6 pupil

    Opening in autumn 2019, the hub was developed through a grant from the Hertsmere Infrastructure Fund, in addition to donations and the proceeds of a GoFundMe page set up by the children. The Hub uses a library area in the school, and a professional designer planned the appealing décor. A Digital Media Apprentice has been employed to run the Hub and work with children and staff to use the extensive equipment.

    The hub is made up of several distinct areas. Soft furnishings provide space for children to sit with iPads, and a panel of labelled cupboards house mobile equipment such as microphones, digital cameras, tripods and a clapboard for filmmaking.

    Two brightly coloured and fully soundproofed podcasting booths are available for recording sound, which can then be edited using the desktop PCs that are also available in the Hub. Some children told me how they had made podcasts and published them via Podbean. You can hear some of their work here: www.busheyheath.podbean.com

    Photos of podcasting studios
    The Technology Hub boasts two fully soundproofed and very colourful podcasting studios.

     

    “It’s helped my confidence”.

    Year 6 pupil

    Behind the podcasting booths lies the TV studio, with an impressive array of lighting, an autocue and green screen. Each week a local film company, the 'Think or Swim Video Production Agency’, comes in to run a club, and the children get to create news broadcasts and more. Other clubs that utilise the hub include photography and podcasting, and the school is working on building the use of the facilities into the curriculum, in such areas as R.E., Music and Science.

    Not only are the pupils at Bushey Heath gaining real and valuable digital skills through the hub, but the projects they are involved in also help them gain skills and experience in planning and project management. Digital media can also be a real enabler for children who may struggle with reading and writing. For example, reluctant readers have been encouraged to record stories using the podcasting studios.

    Collage of photos from the hub
    The TV studio has an autocue and green screen, so children can produce realistic news programmes and much more.

     

    “Getting into this technical stuff, it’s fun, I might think about a different career.”

    Year 6 pupil

    I spoke to some year 6 children about their use of the Digital Hub. They were extremely enthusiastic about it and one told me how he was working on a film about a boy who is struck by lightning and develops super powers as a result!

    “We’ve got proper editing tools and it’s just amazing”.

    “It’s helped my confidence”.

    “Getting into this technical stuff, it’s fun, I might think about a different career.”

    The Digital Hub at Bushey Heath is still in its infancy, but is already offering a wide range of opportunities to enhance teaching and learning. Moving forward, the school plans to share the facilities with the local community so that they may benefit from this technology for projects beyond the school.


    If you’d like to hear more great case studies from schools, please do check out our upcoming Technology in Schools Showcase event

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