Amazing technology lets children travel globe from Portsmouth school hall

PROJECT Front, Marcie Mitchell-Aird playing on the projection mat at Portsdown Primary School with Daisy Rowlands, left, Mia McGowan, middle, and Megan Hanna.  Picture: Steve Reid (114058-453)
PROJECT Front, Marcie Mitchell-Aird playing on the projection mat at Portsdown Primary School with Daisy Rowlands, left, Mia McGowan, middle, and Megan Hanna. Picture: Steve Reid (114058-453)
Youngsters at Manor Infant School and Nursery celebrate with headteacher Ashley Howard, centre. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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EXPLORING Amazonian rainforests or playing a spontaneous game of basketball is child’s play at a school that has invested in a highly-sophisticated network of projectors.

The assembly hall at Portsdown Primary in Cosham has been transformed into a virtual reality hub.

A four-screen digital backdrop along the wall and a projector on the ceiling allows children to choose any environment they like, with accompanying musical sound effects.

And the touch-screen technology means that youngsters can physically move images around – for example, scattering leaves projected on the floor with their feet, and wading through water with fish swimming around.

Headteacher Irene Baldry said the technology has been a huge success in drama, art and creative writing sessions.

She said: ‘It has great potential to motivate and stimulate the children because the experience of using it is so memorable.

‘If they are studying ancient Greece for example they can stage a role play with the Acropolis in the background, or if they are thinking up a magical fairytale, they can surround themselves with dragons and castles.

‘In a rainforest, they can walk through leaves which move around their feet and hear the sounds of nature.

‘It’s extraordinary – it’s captured everyone’s imagination.’

Mitchell Neill, 11, is a huge fan. He said: ‘I absolutely love it. I’ve used the projector for so many things, like playing football and basketball and researching famous paintings for an art project.

‘By projecting the paintings on to the floor, which were enlarged and very high in quality, I found it much easier to analyse them, which then helped me make copies of them.’

Ricky Newman, 10, said: ‘We’re lucky to have the projector because it makes learning fun.

‘I’ve enjoyed some of the word games, where you move words with your feet or hands on the floor to make sentences.

‘We’ll be using the projector to create scenery for our nativity play, which means we can have snow and lots of exciting images without needing actual props.’

Louisa Gregory, 10, said: ‘When we go on school trips we take pictures which are projected in the hall so other children can see.

‘The projectors are particularly good for younger pupils who can move things around and play fun games to learn important lessons in English and maths.’

Kieran Coles, 11, added: ‘The best way of learning anything is doing it, which is why this is excellent.

‘We can travel across the globe in our school hall. It’s amazing.’

Mrs Baldry, who spent £24,000 of the school’s budget on the technology, hopes to teach phonics and maths on the projectors.

She said: ‘Now we’re moving to make this more part of the curriculum – so it becomes an extension of the classroom.’