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Our young people are

flying high and learning

new skills thanks to the

latest hi-tech addition to

our computing teaching

provision.

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

cameras.

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

story below).

Nuno

Guerreiro,

computing teacher

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

months.

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

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