Simon Pile discusses digital signage at Anson Primary School

Our latest Under the Hat video is with Simon Pile, Deputy Headteacher and from Anson Primary School in the London Borough of Brent. You can view the video above and read the transcript below.

What’s the best thing about your job?

There are so many things, I think the fact that no two days are ever the same is great. The joy of seeing young learners excited about grasping new concepts, or developing a real love of learning. I think working with our staff at Anson is particularly special, they are incredibly dedicated, they’re innovative and they’re seemingly ageless too.

Why is sharing and showcasing digital content important to you?

So I’m particularly passionate about children not just having a voice, but having an audience too that is as large as possible. Throughout the curriculum, we try to embed experiences that give children the opportunity to express themselves. If this work isn’t seen by the teacher and the pupil, then it doesn’t give a huge incentive for children to share maybe deeper thoughts and consistently share them. I don’t think we should ever really underestimate the depth of thinking that children are capable of. Having seen them showcase their understanding on life, crime, pollution, global warming, race, poverty, is hugely important. If we’re going to convince the children that they have the potential to be the next change-makers in the world, we should give them an audience for their current thinking.

Why TrilbyTV?

Without a doubt, the simplicity of the platform is key to the success. In the past, we’ve had USB sticks plugged into screens, we’ve had slideshows of screen savers, and they’re incredibly time-consuming and difficult to set up. but more importantly, they’re time-consuming to manage. They’re usually done by one person rather than anybody in the school. So because TrilbyTV is a cloud-based solution means that we can be anywhere in the world and update the system immediately. When you consider the complexities of moving a school from a physical environment into a virtual environment, that kind of access is really critical, not least because all of your work is suddenly cloud-based.

However, what I think sets apart the system is that we can tailor screens to different needs, which means we can communicate and share the corporate side of our work in the main entrance and push our vision very much to our visitors. We can share the work of the pupils in the main spaces in school and not only that. When you have 30% of pupils in school during lockdown and 70% at home, the ability to embed that content on the website has been really valuable.

What’s been your TrilbyTV eureka moment?

So when we returned to school in September, I don’t think we’ve ever seen such a complicated timetable to get every pupil fed and out playing at lunchtime within an hour and fifteen minutes. So for me, the children just didn’t really know which part of the school they were in and when they were supposed to be there. Staff were struggling just as much and when you’ve got that kind of issue going on, you need a solution that works for everybody. So we created some really colourful graphics and displayed them on the TrilbyTV screens throughout the dining hall and then everybody had clarity, everybody knew where they were. So even for the youngest of learners, TrilbyTV can be informative and useful. It’s not just about sharing work all the time. Sometimes it’s about joining a community together and having a shared understanding.

What three words would you use to describe TrilbyTV?

Three words, simple, powerful, unique.

So we want to use more screens around the school to give each year group a chance to share their work with an audience – that’s an immediacy that they currently don’t have. So it means an investment in screens to put up around the school but it also means an investment in time to train the staff how to use the TrilbyTV software and that’s not going to take very long. What we envisage is that the children will journey along the school corridor and they will be immersed in that digital experience of celebration and sharing. So when we have our whole school events, such as assemblies or sports days, when we give our awards, we can really celebrate that and have every screen really broadcasting that great news, because this is really about a good news item. It’s about spreading joy, spreading pride and spreading the feeling that we’re part of something within the community. So it’s important for us to have every screen connected and therefore everybody has a voice and an audience. I genuinely believe that TrilbyTV fits with our ethos of happy, creative, confident children with a lifelong love of learning. I think celebrating that learning gives them that joy makes them happy, and encourages that creativity and confidence.

What tips would you leave Under the Hat for other TrilbyTV users?

My one tip would be to think differently. Yes, TrilbyTV is great for sharing pupils’ work, there’s no doubt about it. But actually, you can do more than that with the system to engage your audience. So we’ve had fun ‘guess who’ competitions where the teachers are hiding behind red noses for Red Nose Day, or Father Christmas’ beard at Christmas time. But we’ve also had school votes on there, showcased school council election manifestos, we’ve showcased our film festival information. It’s also been used as really practical things like price lists behind stalls so that people can see how much they’ve got to pay for a year six project or theatre evening. So it can be really limitless, in fact, really the only limitation is the imagination you have for the product.

What are your future plans for growing your school’s digital signage?

We’ve only just entered our second year of using TrilbyTV and it’s had an amazing impact in year one. So I don’t know how I really managed and struggled trying to fit our previous kind of square solutions into a round hole for so long. As educators, I guess that’s part of it, we try and make things fit. We try to make things work and generally we make things happen, but it’s at a cost. So I certainly wish I’d switched to TrilbyTV a lot earlier than we did. If I had it done, I’d probably have a lot more hair under my hat!

Thank you Simon, it’s great to hear how TrilbyTV has had such amazing and impactful outcomes during your first year with us. We can’t wait to check in again with Anson Primary School to see what other fantastic new ways you’ve been using our solution!

If you’d like to learn a little bit more about how TrilbyTV can help your remote learning or school communication as a whole, you can book a free demo session here!

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