Our young people are
flying high and learning
new skills thanks to the
latest hi-tech addition to
our computing teaching
Drones have been introduced
in computing classes with our
young people being taught to
control the devices using an iPad.
The drones were first used in
a classroom setting to develop
skills around controlling the
devices, before then progressing
to use outside to introduce more
complex tasks, such as targeted
landings, and taking photos and
recording videos using in-built
Through using drones, our young
people are practicing:
l Functional Academic skills
- through the learning of basic
coding. Coding, and developing
understanding of instructions,
also supports learning in areas
such as English and Maths.
l Daily Living Skills - through
practicing fine motor skills
with the iPad controls, spatial
awareness and avoiding
obstacles, turn-taking, and
understanding of instructions.
In the long-term, one of our
ambitions is for young people to
use the drones off-site to collect
photos and video which will
support their learning in subjects
such as Science and Geography,
as well as practicing and
generalising other skills, noted
above, in different settings.
Our young people began using
the drones at the start of the
2020/21 academic year.
The introduction of drones to
computing sessions comes after
the successful implementation of
the use of Virtual Reality headsets
in the last academic year (see
at Prior's Court, said: "We
are always trying to introduce
new technology and equipment
as a tool for learning, as tech can
be a real motivator for our young
people which then opens up
pathways to learning and support
in other areas.
"This has certainly been the case
with one of our young people,
Toby, pictured, who has been
involved since the very beginning
of this project. From installing the
relevant apps to our current aim
of making a video around our site,
Toby has been enjoying himself
while also, crucially, learning new
skills and gaining confidence.
"The use of technology is
important to us as it also
provides a strong reminder about
our Founding Patron, Dame
Stephanie Shirley, who was
herself a pioneer in the field of IT."
Our use of Virtual Reality to allow our young
people to enjoy new experiences and
accustom themselves to real world situations
without leaving the comfort of their
classroom has been shortlisted for an award.
We've been named a finalist in the Innovator of the
Year category in the 2021 Bett Awards for work being
done across site with Virtual Reality over the past 18
This work, led by Computing Teacher Nuno Guerreiro,
has involved collaboration between Education,
Residential and multi-disciplinary teams to use
Virtual Reality headsets as a complimentary resource
to existing approaches.
The technology has been used to provide our young
people with access to relaxing sensory experiences,
desensitisation around scenarios such as being on
a bus or medical environments, and enjoying new
experiences such as skiing.
One success, at the
start of 2020, involved
supporting one young
person to board a
plane to go on an
overseas family holiday
for the first time in
nine years, while the
technology has also been
used to complement the
work of our on-site therapy
team with phobia treatment
(particularly around animals) and
desensitisation around medical settings.
Other finalists in the category include a project run
by BBC Learning and LEGO's education arm.
The winners of each category in the 2021 Bett Awards
will be announced in June.
In the running for innovation award
Lift off for drone usage project