Using EdTech to create seamless in-class learning

Entrepreneur and web developer, Matt Mullenweg, once said technology is best when it brings people together. Technology at its best can also be a teacher’s best friend and an enabler for creating a more seamless and calm learning environment for students. Since the start of the pandemic, EdTech has provided educators with a unique opportunity to breathe a little fresh air into the classroom while dusting away a few age-old cobwebs.


We’ve had a chance to rethink teaching and learning – to think outside the box and trial different teaching methods. Good EdTech should support more equilibrium in the classroom, help create a sense of calm and give students a sense of creative freedom and security. Promethean’s sixth State of Technology in Education Report, which asked educators from across the country to share their experiences and priorities, showed that attitudes towards tech use in the classroom remain consistently positive. When asked about using EdTech in the classroom, 77% said they believe EdTech is a great way to engage students, and 76% believe it enables them to do their job better.


Using over 20 years of experience working with the education sector, Promethean is committed to ensuring schools can access the very best experience in line with their specific needs and priorities. The award-winning ActivPanel has been designed to deliver innovation and ease-of-use that matters to teachers and students. The ActivPanel is purpose-built to make teaching more seamless and productive while elevating student learning experiences. The intuitive Unified Menu makes access to the most commonly used tools quick and easy, allowing teachers to smoothly navigate and support learning.


Giving teachers the support they need and deserve…


Whichever EdTech is being used, it should enable teachers to do their jobs better while at the same time helping students to feel more engaged, included and empowered. Promethean’s State of Technology in Education Report showed that teachers feel they are not receiving adequate training and support they need to utilise EdTech effectively, with 55% saying classroom tech training is lacking and 9% claiming that they received no training at all. With budget and time constraints being named as barriers, only 15% of respondents felt they received “full training” when it came to technology. It’s clear that having technology that is easy to use and appropriate training disseminated is crucial. To help address the shortage of EdTech training and make development opportunities more accessible to teachers throughout the UK and Ireland, Promethean created the online CPD platform, Learn Promethean, which provides free and easily accessible training. The platform hosts a wide range of opportunities for developing EdTech skills with over 20 online courses, more than 200 training videos, and over 130 articles and resources.


Teachers are able to use the ActivPanel in collaboration with a range of inclusive classroom devices such as tablets and laptops. This means functions such as device mirroring and quizzes that require class participation and provide instant assessment, are simple to deliver. Multi-device mirroring allows teachers to move seamlessly and flexibly around the classroom. The ActivPanel Series comes with a choice of software supplied free as standard, including ActivInspire and ClassFlow. Designed by teachers, for teachers, award-winning ActivInspire software can be used to create and deliver lessons that are interactive and engaging. Teachers can smoothly leverage and enhance existing content and resources while responding to student insights in real time. If a teacher is away from the ActivPanel because they are working at home, using ActivInspire on their laptop to share lessons allows them to save time and avoid any duplication of effort. They are able to record their voice and talk their students through the key learning points as if they were in the classroom.


Empowering students…


Embracing modern technology is vital for students, who understand that it will inevitably play a key role in their futures – both in their education, careers, and in their personal lives. EdTech helps students to feel more confident and in control, which in turn can support better wellbeing. EdTech acts as an enabler for key student interaction that might not otherwise exist. Inflexible blackboards and chalk now seem like a distant memory. The ActivPanel is not just the teacher’s tool, it’s there for the whole classroom and it represents a unified hub of learning shared by both teacher and students.


The State of Technology in Education Report showed that social and emotional learning (SEL) was a top priority for 44% of educators, but only 2% of schools said they will be able to invest in wellbeing for 2022/23. The Promethean ActivPanel encourages collaboration that supports wellbeing in class and can help reduce any feelings of separation or isolation among students. When used appropriately, technology is a great tool for stimulating and inspiring students. Using tools such as polls and quizzes for assessment can increase interactivity and give the classroom an energy boost.


Looking to the future…


Moving forward, teachers must have the right tools to connect with students in engaging and innovative ways. Educators are confident EdTech is here to stay and will play an important part in the future of teaching and learning. Promethean’s State of Technology Report showed that 61% believe online content and resources will see the biggest growth in the future. Following the last 18 months, 95% believe they are now better equipped for distance learning when needed.


It’s a truth universally acknowledged that you can’t get different results by doing things the same way and while the idea of not reinventing the wheel has weight, you have to ask the question how well the wheel is rolling and whether it could benefit from a little realignment. EdTech has gifted educators with a flexibility their predecessors weren’t afforded. Of course, the downside may be no more snow days.


To find out more about the ActivPanel and to arrange a demonstration, visit:



BYJU’S acquires GeoGebra to make learning maths more visual and interactive

BYJU’S, the world’s leading edtech company, has announced the acquisition of Austrian mathematics learning tool GeoGebra. The company provides a dynamic, interactive, and collaborative programme which will advance BYJU’S aim to make maths more engaging.


The acquisition complements BYJU’S overall strategy by enabling the creation of new product offerings and learning formats to enrich its mathematics portfolio. This collaboration will empower BYJU’S to bring comprehensive, personalised and immersive learning experiences to all students.


GeoGebra will continue to operate as an independent unit within the BYJU’S group under the leadership of its Founder and Developer, Markus Hohenwarter.


Speaking on the acquisition, Anita Kishore, Chief Strategy Officer at BYJU’S, said, “The GeoGebra team has built a powerful and stimulating platform that complements BYJU’S mission of providing impactful learning for students. Designed to improve mathematical understanding, it offers interactive resources that adapt to every child’s style and pace of learning. At BYJU’S, with the help of innovative teaching and technology, we are on a mission to make maths fun, visual, and engaging. By bringing GeoGebra on board, we will continue to further enhance, reimagine and transform the way maths is taught and learned. By combining our strengths, we will be able to offer best-in-class resources to build innovative and exciting next-generation learning formats”, she added.

GeoGebra, with a rapidly expanding community of over 100 million learners across 195+ countries, brings together geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics and calculus in one easy-to-use format. Mathematical thinking is grounded in visual learning with GeoGebra’s interactive learning environment, which contextualises maths to make it fun. The platform offers engaging geometry and algebra learning tools with a user-friendly interface, which can be either downloaded as an app or used online. The curriculum is available in multiple languages for students around the world.

GeoGebra was born out of a passion to help students learn maths in a visually appealing and engaging way. Our shared passion for learning and teaching resonates with BYJU’S, making them a perfect partner for our onward journey. I am confident that this partnership will help millions of students learn mathematics in an interactive way, helping them overcome their fear of maths and learn to master it,” said Markus Hohenwarter, Founder and Developer of GeoGebra.


On a mission to deliver rapid, sustainable growth at scale, Markus, together with Michael Borcherds and Stephen Jull, co-founded their company in 2013 to provide a solid footing for GeoGebra to deliver its long-term vision. GeoGebra includes both an enterprise and philanthropic non-profit organisation. Their commercial services support more than 300 established education service companies and startups, while the non-profit supports students, teachers, researchers, and government agencies across many countries. BYJU’S welcomes the social mission of GeoGebra and acknowledges its importance for mathematics education worldwide, ensuring GeoGebra’s current apps and web services will continue to be available free of charge, putting the power of mathematics into the hands of students and teachers everywhere.


Launched in 2015, BYJU’S launched in the UK earlier this year as BYJU’S FutureSchool, bringing its engaging and fun music, maths and coding courses to students across the UK. The virtual courses empower students with life-long skills and encourage them to build a love of lifelong learning and curiosity.

Just 2% of teachers in the most disadvantaged schools say all their pupils have adequate digital access

  • Only 2% of teachers working in schools serving the most disadvantaged communities say all their pupils have adequate access to devices and internet to work from home
  • More than 1 in 4 teachers (28%) believe the attainment gap has increased since September
  • Teach First call for significant funding to address the digital divide and digital skills gap as almost two-thirds of headteachers (64%) say their existing budgets are insufficient

New polling from education charity Teach First has found that only 2% of teachers working in schools serving the most disadvantaged communities say all their pupils have adequate access to devices and internet to work from home. This is five times less than the most affluent schools (10%) and three times less than the national average (6%).


In addition, 3 in 4 teachers (75%) in the most affluent schools say they have enough devices for at least three quarters of their pupils, compared to just 1 in 4 teachers (25%) in the most disadvantaged schools.


The issue of the digital divide has received significant attention throughout the pandemic, with most pupils studying at home for extended periods. During this period the government successfully distributed more than 1,300,000 devices to schools across the country. Teach First also worked with businesses and partners to deliver over £1,000,000 worth of devices and dongles to schools serving disadvantaged communities.


Yet teachers have made clear that the digital divide goes beyond Covid-19 and lockdowns –  as technology becomes increasingly essential to modern classrooms, with two-thirds of teachers (65%) say that they are using technology more than two years ago and that figure increasing to three quarters (73%) in secondary schools.


A quarter (28%) of teachers also believe since the start of this academic year the attainment gap has increased between those pupils who had a digital device throughout the pandemic compared with those who didn’t.


It is no surprise, therefore, that teachers are also broadly in agreement that better access to digital devices would help to close the attainment gap – two-thirds (63%) agreed that it would help doing so.


To tackle the digital access issue, schools have made it clear that they will need additional financial support in order to purchase devices and internet dongles. Almost two thirds of headteachers (64%) say they do not have enough funding in their existing budget to ensure all pupils have adequate digital access.


Teachers also highlighted that access is not the only issue to solve – upskilling pupils to use digital tools effectively is also vitally important.  Only a third (36%) of teachers believed their pupils have sufficient digital skills to use devices safely and effectively when learning from home.


Teach First are recommending that the Department for Education continues to invest in the provision of laptops, tablets and internet routers for pupils from poorer backgrounds – so they do not continue to fall behind. This provision should be paired with accessible information and guidance, so that parents and carers can support their children to engage with digital technology productively and safely.


The charity are also calling for a significant funding boost to schools serving disadvantaged communities, where the attainment gap remains stark – so that all children are giving a fighting chance to a bright future.


Tony Costello, Headteacher at Savio Salvesian College in Merseyside, said:


“Our school is one that particularly felt the impact of the digital divide. We were scrambling for laptops and dongles back in November 2020. Dongles were particularly important as parents in our community have very limited access to the internet. 


“Because of this, the gratitude for devices was truly felt throughout our community. The donation of laptops and dongles from DHL UK Foundation via Teach First before Christmas, along with provision from the Department for Education and other generous benefactors, came at just the right time. It meant pupils had access to remote learning from day one of lockdown starting in January this year. 


“Like many schools, we’ve become a lot more reliant on digital learning since the school closures – especially for lessons, submitting homework and extra tuition. While things have significantly improved, there are still gaps we’re trying to fill. Any additional donations of digital devices and dongles would really help ensure that all our pupils have everything they need to progress in their learning.” 


Russell Hobby, CEO of Teach First, said:


“The pandemic has drawn attention to a number of inequalities in our education system and it is clear that the digital divide is a serious issue. But it goes far beyond the current pandemic. Technology is playing an increasing role in pupils’ learning and is central to resilience in the face of potential disruption. If young people from disadvantaged backgrounds do not have access to devices and the internet – as well as a good space to study – then the attainment gap will widen.


“Government, businesses and charities played an important role in supporting schools to ensure pupils forced to work from home during the pandemic were able to do so. But now we have to look at the long-term future of education – and that means prioritising investment towards schools serving disadvantaged communities, where the digital divide remains stark.”



UK explores how education must adapt for tomorrow’s world at ‘In the Future… How will we Learn?’


9th November 2021 – How can we prepare for AI in learning? What does the classroom of the future look like? How do we educate children for the needs of the 21st century? These are some of the questions being discussed by leading figures from the world of education during ‘In the Future… How will we Learn?’, taking place in the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and online from 9-11th December, under the UK’s participation theme ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’.


Participants are invited to join all three days of Summit sessions online from wherever they are in the world through a virtual platform while De Montfort University, Founding Partner of the UK at Expo 2020 Dubai, which has recently opened a new campus in Dubai, will also host sessions in-person on the Pavilion on 11th December.


The speakers, who will be contributing both in-person and virtually, include Andria Zafirakou, 2018 Global Teacher Prize winner, who will chair a summit asking ‘What makes teachers great?’. Helen Grant MP, Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Girls’ Education will be chairing a discussion on why girls’ education matters globally. Professor Sir Steve Smith, UK Government International Education Champion and the Prime Minister’s Special Representative to Saudi Arabia for Education will also chair a session focused on the future of higher education which will include Professor Katie Normington, Chief Executive & Vice Chancellor, De Montfort University.


Other experts chairing summits and contributing to broader activity during ‘In the Future, How will we Learn?’ include:

  • Alison Watson MBE, Founder and Chief Executive of Class of Your Own
  • Brajesh Panth, Chief of Education Group at the Asian Development Bank
  • Antara Ganguli, Head of United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI)


Laura Faulkner OBE, UK Commissioner General for Expo 2020 Dubai, says: “Never has it been more important to examine how global education needs to adapt to equip our children for tomorrow’s world. The UK Pavilion’s Education Programme will be exploring the big questions of the 21st century, such as what the classroom of the future will look like, the role of the teacher and AI in learning.”


Earlier in the week as part of the programme of events, UK at Expo 2020 Dubai Founding Partner HSBC hosted the final of its NextGen10 competition. Supporting Partner Heriot-Watt University also hosted a Future Skills Conference, addressing key themes encompassing, purposeful education, the role of education in transforming economies and addressing global challenges, current and emerging talent needs and building entrepreneurial mindsets.


To register for your interest in attending the ‘How will we Learn?’ programme of activity, in-person or virtually, please register online. If you missed any of the programme you can catch up on our events and find out more about the UK’s activities at Expo 2020 with our new Virtual Pavilion which will be updated throughout Expo 2020.


Join the conversation at @UKPavilion2020 #Expo2020


  • Monitors carbon dioxide and features proprietary risk alert system for use in schools, restaurants and other indoor spaces
  • Alerts users to take steps to proactively improve indoor air quality to help decrease the potential risk of transmitting airborne viruses among building occupants


Honeywell yesterday announced a new, user-friendly monitor that alerts users when indoor air conditions may present an increased risk of potentially transmitting airborne viruses in schools, restaurants and other spaces.


The Honeywell Transmission Risk Air Monitor is an easy-to-deploy, portable device that measures carbon dioxide and features a proprietary risk alerting system based on user-selected activity levels within a room. This helps customers be aware of when to proactively improve indoor air quality, which according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can help reduce the spread of certain diseases and decrease the risk of exposure among building occupants.


The new monitor incorporates a proprietary algorithm developed by Honeywell based on research conducted at the University of Colorado on the influence of aerosols on the transmission risks of airborne viruses. Users are alerted when conditions are present that indicate a certain air risk factor level is reached so they can increase ventilation with outdoor air and/or improve air filtration, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends as important components of a larger strategy for indoor air quality.


“The importance of indoor air quality isn’t going to go away once we have the pandemic behind us. People are more aware of and cognizant to the potential impact that indoor air quality can have on well-being and productivity,” said Mary Furto, Chief Marketing Officer of Honeywell’s Gas Analysis and Safety business. “Our monitor provides an efficient and simple way for users to be alerted if their indoor spaces present increased risk factors by analyzing breathable air. This can enable users to understand when to take appropriate actions such as increasing ventilation in a room.”


Honeywell’s monitor uses CO2, temperature and humidity sensors and offers three pre-programmed activity level settings. It features a green, yellow or red light to alert users about the potential for increased indoor air risk factors. It incorporates an easy-to-read digital display, a rechargeable battery and is Bluetooth®*- and WiFi-enabled to allow for connectivity between the device and its mobile application and online dashboard.


Depending on the number of devices an individual or organization uses, Honeywell created unique user experiences to easily monitor certain indoor air risk factors. For schoolteachers or small business owners who use one or a few monitors, they are encouraged to use the Transmission Risk Air Monitor application from a mobile device. For organizations with several monitors, such as schools or school districts, they can access an online dashboard to monitor certain indoor air risk factors across devices from one centralized location.


Scientific evidence suggests using air monitors1 to measure indoor environmental air can be an efficient method2 to assess the potential risk and exposure to airborne viruses, which can fluctuate based on CO2 concentration levels and how active people are in a space.


“Our research has shown a close correlation between the likelihood of transmitting airborne viruses and increased carbon dioxide levels. Effective monitoring solutions can indicate that fresh air is sufficient and circulating properly in an enclosed space,” said Jose-Luis Jimenez, Professor of Chemistry and CIRES Fellow, University of Colorado-Boulder. “Our recommendation is to display a real-time carbon dioxide monitor in all public indoor spaces so people can learn quickly what environments are safer or less safe for a given activity. Going forward these monitors can be useful as a metric of indoor air quality to indicate when conditions could present an increased risk of exposure to airborne viruses.”


In addition to potentially reducing risk of exposure to airborne viruses, indoor air quality adjustments can be beneficial for student health and academic performance. While adverse effects have been reported for elevated levels of CO2 in classrooms, studies have shown that increasing ventilation can help students with decision-making, attention, concentration and memory.3


For more than 50 years, Honeywell has developed innovative gas detection solutions and analytics software to protect workers in challenging conditions across a wide range of industries. The company’s portable BW SOLO CO2 detectors are being used by workers handling large amounts of dry ice to package and ship certain COVID-19 vaccines.


The Honeywell Transmission Risk Air Monitor complements Honeywell’s Healthy Buildings solutions, which integrate air quality, safety and security technologies along with advanced analytics to help building owners improve the health of their building environments, operate more cleanly and safely, comply with new guidelines, and help reassure occupants as they return to the workplace. Honeywell has an advanced indoor air quality portfolio that can help improve occupant well-being, meet energy efficiency goals, and importantly, change the way that occupants experience a building. 



The Honeywell Transmission Risk Air Monitor (HTRAM) analyzes specific air quality conditions and alerts the user when conditions are present that may increase the risk of exposure to airborne viral transmission. It does not prevent or reduce virus transmission nor mitigate viruses that may be present, nor does it detect or warn against the presence of any virus, including but not limited to COVID-19. The HTRAM does not repel or destroy any microorganism, viruses, bacteria, or germs.


* Bluetooth is a trademark of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group.

1 Exhaled CO2 as COVID-19 infection risk proxy for different indoor environments and activities, Sept. 2020,

2 Monitoring carbon dioxide to quantify the risk of indoor airborne transmission of COVID-19, April 2021,

3 Foundations for Student Success – How School Buildings Influence Student Health, Thinking and Performance, Jan. 2021,



Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions (SPS) provides products, software and connected solutions that improve productivity, workplace safety and asset performance for our customers across the globe. We deliver on this promise through industry-leading mobile devices, software, cloud technology and automation solutions, the broadest range of personal protective equipment and gas detection technology, and custom-engineered sensors, switches and controls. For more information, please visit:

Honeywell ( is a Fortune 100 technology company that delivers industry-specific solutions that include aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings and industry; and performance materials globally. Our technologies help aircraft, buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains, and workers become more connected to make our world smarter, safer, and more sustainable. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit

Aurora Immersive and Igloo Vision partner to provide immersive classrooms in the UK

Igloo Vision, the shared immersive workspace company, and Aurora Immersive, a division of Osborne Technologies, have partnered to bring immersive classroom technology within the reach of primary schools, secondary schools and colleges across the UK.


Osborne Technologies launched Aurora Immersive over a decade ago. After completing over 70 successful projects, they have become an established market leader across the education sector; developing and delivering bespoke immersive and sensory environments. Aurora’s immersive spaces can bring the real world into your school allowing teachers to take their students beyond the classroom, giving them experiences that they would not ordinarily encounter.


Based in the UK, with offices in USA, Canada and Australia, and a demo centre opened earlier this year in mainland Europe, Igloo Vision is a global leader in shared immersive workspaces. These immersive spaces have been installed in over 40 educational institutions around the world. Teaching in an Igloo immersive space allows whole classes to experience immersive content that would otherwise be experienced via headsets or devices such as tablets, smartphones, or laptops.


This collaboration provides a complete solution combining Aurora Immersive’s decade of experience in designing, creating and installing bespoke solutions, alongside Igloo Vision’s experience in providing intuitive immersive software and media players.


The two companies are already working on several opportunities together, including two upcoming immersive classroom installations for Riverside College in Widnes and Fitzalan High School in Cardiff.


To signify the new partnership, Igloo Vision and Aurora Immersive are collaborating to provide an immersive classroom at Bett 2022 on stand SH51. The classroom will showcase a range of immersive technologies and applications for the education sector powered by Igloo Vision’s Immersive Media Player, which is a user-friendly and intuitive platform for teachers and students to work with.


“More-and-more educational institutions all over the world are seeing the benefits of shared immersive spaces for education,” said Theo Penty, Head of Educational Business Development EMEA at Igloo Vision. “That goes for schools, colleges, universities, and so on. What excites us about this new partnership is making this kind of innovative technology and immersive learning experiences, more accessible throughout the UK.”


Matthew Livesey, Aurora Immersive Manager at Osborne Technologies, said “We are always looking for ways to provide the best possible solution for our customers, which is why we’re so pleased to partner with Igloo Vision. This partnership will allow us to continue providing schools with unique learning environments, each of which is fully customisable with the added offering of the Igloo software package and media player.”

How one primary school is building a more inclusive environment for its pupils

‘The number one thing is the inclusivity benefits of the resources. Not having pupils question who is playing football and building a much deeper level of respect for each other.’

Creating an inclusive environment for pupils is a top priority for many teachers and their schools. Adam Walker, a teacher from East Stanley Primary school, talks about how using the Rainbow Laces resources from Premier League Primary Stars helped create a more inclusive environment for his pupils – increasing their understanding of gender stereotypes and the LGBTQ+ community. 

“We had an incident at a football match a few years ago where a pupil from our school called a player from another team a homophobic slur. It was at this point we realised that we needed a solution that we could use to support our pupils in understanding the importance of being inclusive. After a long search to find the right solution, we came across the Rainbow Laces resources from Premier League Primary Stars. A bank of free resources that could educate our pupils around the importance of inclusivity, challenging stereotypes and being a good ally – it was exactly what we were looking for.

At East Stanley we are seeing more girls wanting to get involved in sport. So it was great to see Premier League Primary Stars use male and female professionals in their resources to show balanced representation of real sport. Activities such as ‘Do it like a…’ and ‘Be an ally’ have been popular with the pupils. It has especially given the girls something to look up to and through challenging stereotypes we have mixed teams playing football with a deep level of respect for each other.”

East Stanley has used the Rainbow Laces resources in PSHE lessons at the school to create a more open environment: “The Rainbow Laces resource pack helped us in our PSHE lessons when talking about what it means to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community or discussing gender stereotypes. Now all the pupils are aware of different types of representation; they know that it doesn’t matter if you are homosexual or heterosexual, a boy or a girl, your ethnic descent, or what your first language may be.”

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Adam appreciates the difference that resources like Rainbow Laces make: “Now that I have these resources I reflect and think that if material like this had been available when I was in school, it would have helped me to identify and feel more comfortable as a result of inclusive topics being spoken about openly. The more we use material like this in primary schools, the more we will create a better environment for everybody to live freely. It is only going to have a positive influence.”

Speaking about whether he would recommend the resources to fellow teachers, Adam said: “I would 100% recommend them. Knowing how the PSHE curriculum works, Rainbow Laces has been great for us. For other teachers who are looking to increase inclusivity at their school, we have loved the outcomes the resources have given us. Premier League Primary Stars has a wide variety of resources too and there is also the opportunity to build Rainbow Laces – and others resources – into additional lessons around Maths, English and PE. We have seen a real difference and our pupils are happier as a result.”

As part of the Rainbow Laces 2021 campaign, Premier League Primary Stars have launched a brand new resource titled Rainbow Laces – This is everyone’s game. The resource includes an educational film, and supporting resources, that celebrates LGBTQ+ football fans and showcases the power of football to bring people together. The film tells the story of a young Sheffield United fan and member of the LGBTQ+ community, who talks about what football means to her and how it has played a part in helping her to feel proud of who she is. 

Premier League Primary Stars is available to teachers at primary schools in England and Wales for free, supporting English, Maths, PE and PSHE. The programme is already in 83% of schools and has over 50,000 teachers signed up. For any schools yet to get involved, head to the website today to sign up and join the Premier League Primary Stars community. 

ZEISS Digital Classroom Sevenoaks School, UK

Sevenoaks School is a prestigious independent school set in a beautiful, 100-acre campus in  the Kent countryside. The school’s new state-of-the-art Science and Technology Centre, with  its sunlit atrium, was described by the Royal Institute of British Architects as “a great cathedral of a space, full of life and light”. It is here that the pupils of Sevenoaks explore science and technology. The pace of discovery accelerated in March 2021, when the Biology department installed a ZEISS Digital Classroom comprising a suite of 10 networked Primostar 3 microscopes.

Transforming the student experience

 The school has a strong tradition in Biology, says Karen Mylod, the Head of Biology at Sevenoaks whose department boasts 10 teachers. All pupils take the International GCSE Biology, and of the 400 or so pupils in the sixth form, more than half have chosen Biology as part of their International Baccalaureate diploma programme.

Already, the ZEISS Primostar 3 microscopes are transforming the  student experience, says Karen, through their combination of powerful optics, built-in WiFi cameras and networked iPad displays. “The system is great for collaborative work, which students really like to do. For example, when a student finds something interesting under their microscope, the rest of the class doesn’t need to queue up to stare into the eyepiece – they can just look at the iPad.” The ZEISS Digital Classroom also allows the teacher to monitor the images on each pupil’s microscope and highlight interesting examples on a bigger screen, for the whole class to see.








Karen Mylod, Head of Biology at Sevenoaks School

Inspiring student projects


The ZEISS Digital Classroom is also having a big impact on how Sevenoaks sixth formers carry out their research projects, Karen explains. “Our students do an individual project for which they come up with a research question, formulate a hypothesis, and design a practical experiment. The ZEISS Digital Classroom setup is great because collecting good numerical data is so important, and students being able to document their images is a key part of that. It takes away the guesswork, and having to rely on sketches of what they have seen. Instead, students’ images can now be included with their work.”

Karen offers an example of a student who decided to investigate the bold claims of a brand of hair-thickening shampoo. He took five hairs from the heads of 15 other boys and examined those hairs using the ZEISS Primostar 3 microscope. He then had the boys use the shampoo for a week, before taking new hair samples and imaging again. “With our previous set-up, using manual microscopes, this project would have been difficult to achieve, but because we now have the digital microscopes, the pupil could measure easily in micrometres using  the Labscope app.” All well and good, but what about the important question: did the shampoo deliver on its promise? “I didn’t think    the shampoo was going to work, but the difference in the hair – its appearance in his ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures, and also in the thickness measurements – was amazing.”



Simple ‘plug and play’ setup

 One goal of the ZEISS Digital Classroom is  to make teaching as frictionless as possible. The ZEISS Primostar 3 microscopes are designed to be robust and straightforward, and the accompanying Labscope software effortless. “The ease-of-use of the ZEISS software was absolutely vital,” says Karen. “After all, we’re biologists, not IT specialists! And our students, they just download the app straight on to their iPads and they are up and running. They find it all very intuitive.” Each of the microscopes in the ZEISS Digital Classroom are used in conjunction with several sets of dedicated iPads, says Karen, but each microscope also has a QR code  that students can use to link the microscope to their personal devices if they prefer.

So    how    is    teaching    with    the   new microscopes? “The teachers really love  them. They think that they’re really easy to use. And the optics are fantastic: especially at the highest magnification, we get really clear images. It is so much better than the microscopes we replaced.” They are also a lot easier to set up, Karen notes. Teachers and students at Sevenoaks no longer need to  spend  valuable  learning  time  manually

configuring the microscopes, because getting up and running with the Primostar  3 is as easy as plug and play.

The ZEISS Labscope Teacher app also allows the teacher to specify the set-up required for the task at hand, and the microscopes simply configure themselves. That said, manual calibration is still possible within the software, if required.


Making microscopy more accessible

 “It’s funny,” says Karen. “One of the other teachers said to me, ‘Surely, the students should still be learning to calibrate the microscope manually?’ I said, ‘Why?’.

It’s clear to me that making microscopy more accessible – and less  fiddly  and boring – boosts student engagement. The laboratory and scientific workplace of the future is digital, and we are teaching to this future.”

And the future for Biology students at Sevenoaks is all about curiosity. “This  new ability to see and capture such tiny differences has our students exploring questions about the living world that  may not have been possible before these

microscopes became available,” says Karen “It has opened new doors of curiosity and investigation for them.”

Adding a new dimension to teaching

How does Karen sum up her experience   of the ZEISS Digital Classroom? “I think it’s brilliant – and the students love it. It adds  a new dimension to teaching microscopy, and it clearly demonstrates the importance that Sevenoaks School places on science.”


The ZEISS Digital Classroom was supplied to Sevenoaks School by K-Tec Microscope Services Ltd, a trusted microscopy partner of ZEISS.



As the world’s attention is on the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, there is no doubt that teachers across the UK will be looking at ways they can incorporate the themes from the conference into everyday teaching. EVERFI, a leading and global education company driving social impact through education to address the most challenging issues affecting society, has a free course available for teachers to run in the classroom, aimed at 11 – 14 year olds.

Speaking at COP26 the Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi has expressed the importance of placing climate change topics at the heart of education, saying: ‘Empowering teachers in every school to deliver world-leading climate change education will not only raise awareness and understanding of the problem, but also equips young people with the skills and knowledge to build a sustainable future.’

The demand for education on social impact issues, such as sustainability,  is something that today’s students crave.  Some young people are even losing sleep over the thought of what our world will look like in the future1. Environmentalists like Great Thunberg, who is at COP26, have highlighted the critical importance of sustainability and the need for behaviour change in the way we live our lives.

EVERFI brings together national and regional partners so students can access high-quality learning resources, at no cost to schools. The platform offers self-paced online lessons with built-in assessments free to schools with unlimited student licenses and ongoing support.

To help teachers unlock the conversation around the topic of sustainability, EVERFI has created Sustainability Foundations, the ideal course to upskill secondary students. Students can explore environmental systems and understand how human health, climate change, global resource constraints, and animal welfare are all interconnected. The learning journey enables  students to practice making sustainable choices, reinforcing the concept that they have the agency to create sustainable change.

This curriculum-linked course provides a fascinating, hopeful introduction to the topical and important subject of sustainability, for a generation of young people who will feel the consequences of human exploitation of our planet’s resources, and must be part of finding effective solutions.

The course is is divided into four unique modules that focus on different areas of sustainability:

  • Sustaining Global Resources teaches students to identify renewable and non-renewable resources and make sustainable choices.
  • Protecting Healthy Biodiversity helps students explore the importance of biodiversity and the balance of all living organisms.
  • Positively Impacting Climate Change asks students to hypothesize about what it will take to contribute to the restoration and regeneration of a virtual place.
  • Healthy Life explores the complexity of needs required to keep human life healthy.

The course has been designed in partnership with teachers and subject experts, and needs minimal preparation: all the subject knowledge you need is built in. As with all EVERFI courses, Sustainability offers self-graded, interactive lessons to help students develop simple, actionable strategies for positively contributing to a healthy environment. Real-world scenarios prime students for long-term behavioural change using problem-solving and self-reflection activities.

Schools can register to access the free course – and others like it – here:

Legionella in Schools: Key points for good water management

Author: Paul Limbrick, Senior Consultant, Water Hygiene Centre Ltd


Good water hygiene management within school properties can be distilled into the following areas:

1 – Establishing the level of water hygiene risk;

2 – Devising an action plan proportionate to risk;

3 – Evidencing how risk has been suitably managed.

ACoP L8 and HSG 274 Part 2 provide practical advice and guidance on how this can be achieved – to help ensure compliance with health and safety laws.

Establishing the level of risk within school properties can be further compartmentalised into two main areas:

1 – Management policy;

2 – Operations.

Starting with management policy; it’s important to identify a hierarchy of authority (communications pathway/organogram) for water hygiene management ensuring that those responsible are demonstrably competent to undertake their role. Doing so will help the organisation to suitably delineate between management and operational water hygiene responsibilities. Moreover, estates, facilities and/or caretaking staff will invariably accept responsibility for planned preventative and reactive maintenance tasks (as ‘authorised’ or ‘competent’ persons), whereas staff members with a strategic water hygiene responsibility (often estates) may accept responsibility for managing the organisational written scheme of control (sometimes referred to as the water safety plan).

The responsibility to manage and deliver the organisational written scheme of control typically falls within the role of the ‘responsible person’ (RP). Nominating a demonstrably competent person (known as the RP) for water hygiene is a legal requirement and is a role of significant responsibility as the duty holder, or ‘directing mind’ of the organisation – often the Chancellor or Principal, may be the head teacher of a school (depending on the type of school) and may not necessarily possess the technical knowledge, qualifications, water hygiene experience or expertise to adequately execute the duties of the RP and therefore authority may be delegated by the duty holder to an RP. This may help to ensure that the estate is managed in accordance with accepted practices and that assurances are provided to occupiers of the estate (teaching staff, students) regarding protection from waterborne pathogens such as Legionella and associated infection and disease.


Whilst many of the operational and managerial water hygiene responsibilities may be delegated, it is noteworthy that the duty holder will retain accountability for ‘water and Legionella risk’. It may be prudent to consider this when planning the resources and budget required to ensure that all health and safety concerns are adequately addressed. The threat from Legionnaires’ Disease is considered ‘preventable’ and when contracted from an estate, invariably there will be legal ramifications…

Once the management structure has been agreed and formalised within a policy document, water management considerations now become more ‘operational’. For example, a good starting point for a school, as for any organisation, would be to commission a site-specific water risk assessment with accompanying schematics. Carrying out a site-specific risk assessment is an absolute requirement under health and safety law. Provided that the risk assessment is accurate and completed in accordance with British Standard 8580-1 then the full extent of the water safety risk will be captured. The risk assessment should include a survey that includes all the systems that may contribute to or cause a risk of waterborne infection. Risks should be evaluated and quantified based on the likelihood of Legionella contamination within a given system and the consequence of infection from this bacteria, using a scoring system for example.

School water systems that could present a risk will more than likely include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:

  • Domestic cold-water systems – cold water (i.e. less than 20°C) is to be achieved at the outlet within two minutes. This should be confirmed by monthly monitoring from sentinel outlets (i.e. those nearest and farthest from the water source);
  • Domestic hot-water systems – hot water should be heated to at least 60°C and be distributed to all parts of the system at 50°C or above. Hot water should achieve temperature within 1-minute of opening the outlet. This should be confirmed by monthly monitoring of sentinel outlets or, where there is pumped hot water circulation, by monitoring the temperature at the farthest point on the recirculating pipework;
  • Showers – ensure that these outlets are cleaned and descaled at least quarterly and used or flushed at least once weekly. If showers are infrequently used they should be removed or flushed regularly. Flushing activities are to be captured in a documented programme with records kept as evidence;
  • Wash hand basin tap outlets – ensure that all outlets are used or flushed at least once weekly. Similarly, if there are infrequently used outlets then they should be removed or captured in the aforementioned flushing programme;
  • Cold water storage tanks (stored cold water) – ensure that temperature within the tank is less than 20°C and that storage capacity does not exceed 24-hours of supply;
  • Hot water generators/boilers (stored hot water) – stored hot water should be no less than 60°C and therefore flow at no less than 60°C from the boiler;
  • Thermostatic mixing valves (TMVs) – depending on the asset which the TMV is serving, then water temperature should be regulated to 41°C +/- 2°C in order to mitigate scald risk. However, this falls within temperature range that encourages the growth of waterborne bacteria (20-45°C ) and therefore these risk systems should be dismantled, cleaned, disinfected and functional checks at least annually.

The HSE’s HSG274 Technical Guidance, Part 2, Table 2.1 provides practical guidance on the minimum requirements for the management of these systems. Therefore, whilst it’s not mandatory to follow the guidance, bear in mind that should the guidance not be followed then an organisation will need to demonstrate that they have achieved either an equivalent or better standard.

Once the risk assessments have been completed, an assessment of perceived inherent and actual risk will be provided by the surveyor. In practice, this often generates recommendations on how water safety risk can be reduced within the estate. The risk assessment can therefore be used to inform the written scheme of control and assist with the development of an action plan that identifies the corrective action to be taken as well as realistic timescales for completion. Schools, as with all organisations, must at this stage identify what is reasonable and practicable to include within the action plan to help ensure that the water safety management approach remains sustainable for the organisation. Accepted health and safety principles in the UK encourage a balance between risk, cost and difficulty in the actions that are taken; which may necessitate the inclusion of some works and the derogation of others.

Finally, for all planned preventative maintenance works or reactive maintenance works, it is imperative that comprehensive and complete records are kept and are easily accessible. A failure to provide enough evidence to demonstrate that a system is under control could be interpreted as a failure to ensure that service users are safe.