Embracing interactive technology at Finlayson Park School

5th July 2020

Finlayson Park School, which opened in 1979 with 114 students, now provides a unique bilingual education for more than 1000 students from 27 different ethnicities.

Based in South Auckland, Finlayson Park School is New Zealand’s largest primary school. Shirley Maihi, who is the principal at Finlayson Park, is finding new ways to communicate with her many students, share broadcasts with parents and inform the community. This is achieved through interactive boards within the classroom and a large outdoor digital display at the heart of the school.

Staff at Finlayson Park School tell the story.


THE NEED

In this fast-paced digital world, schools are adapting by embracing new technologies that help to prepare their students for the future.

Finlayson Park School accepted the challenge of new technology head on, by expanding their resources and finding new ways to engage with students, teachers, parents and their local community.



Teacher and kids using an interactive whiteboard for lessons.


THE SOLUTION

As New Zealand’s largest primary school, Finlayson Park was in need of a unique solution that would cater to their large and diverse student body. Through Benjamin Rann, Canon’s Educational Specialist and a former principal himself, three key solutions were found.

We were very pleased to know that Canon had an Education Specialist. With him and his knowledge of schools, children and teacher's needs, that's been a real plus for us to be engaging with Canon.

Shirley Maihi - Principal, Finlayson Park School

The first solution was a small digital display to the right of the main office, showcasing student achievements, upcoming events and school news. This provided parents with up to date news and school communications during school drop off and pick up times.

The second solution was the installation of 15 Infocus JTouch interactive boards into classrooms to transform the learning environment into a modern, collaborative space.

The third, and most ambitious solution, was the installation of New Zealand’s largest digital display inside school grounds. This digital display, which is commonly referred to by teachers as “the big screen”, promotes exercise through play, broadcasts school performances and even plays rugby matches and other live events.


IMPLEMENTATION


Interactive whiteboards

Ideal for education, the customisable Infocus JTouch interactive panels allows students and teachers to collaborate, share ideas and engage with one another through technology. With 4k resolution, a built-in whiteboard, intuitive touch, wireless casting, multiple monitor inputs and the ability to download any applications such as Google Suite, the Infocus Jtouch gave classrooms a hand-on, interactive approach to learning.

"Our learners are very collaborative, and the size of the board allows all our learners to touch the board at the same time. Kids want to touch and learn, and they don't wan to take turns so the size of the board allows all our learners to touch the board and learn together and it creates this very engaged feeling at school" says Sumi Naidoo, Vice Principal at Finlayson Park School.



Students dancing in front of the large screen.

Big Screen

The large digital display is installed under the cover of a generous outdoor pavilion, where students gather for assembly, kapa haka and other activities.

One unexpected, positive impact was the uplift in engagement of students at playtime, with children of all ages gathering around the big screen to exercise through dance. It has been especially good for students who want to get involved in physical activity during their break, but don’t want to get knocked around on the field - it's a safe and fun way to for them to be up and off their feet.

The school have also been able to use the display to bring the surrounding community in, playing sport or cultural events on it, which is a great way to hold fundraisers for the school as well.

The big screen not only serves a practical purpose of enabling large numbers of students, teachers and community members to view it at once, but it also encourages pupils to ‘think big’.

The community has really been supportive of it. We have our hui's outside here. They are able to see things that are happening within the school through our big screen and not through a boring talk by myself or the Principal. They can see the video footage of their kids learning on the big screen.

Aina Masina - Vice Principal, Finlayson Park School

Both Canon and Finlayson Park School team look forward to growing our relationship further.

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