Launch of first SMART UK Regional Training Centre

By Alan Robinson


Yesterday, it was my great pleasure to act as compère* at the launch event of the first SMART UK Regional Training Centre, right here at VeryPC, attended by, amongst others, the Lord Mayor of Sheffield. This new VeryPC facility will help to train educators from all over the region in software designed to support learning in the digital age. In our training centre, you can get hands-on with interactive hardware and see the pedagogical benefits for yourself.

SMART Learning Suite provides interactive tools for whole class instruction, student led learning, individuals or groups, flipped learning, collaboration, gamification, formative assessment and more. Students can learn inside or outside the classroom at any time on just about any internet connected device. Teachers have more time to spend with their students by using simple software to quickly create lessons and activities, or save even more time by accessing pre-created content from the SMART education community.

Our Managing Director, Andrew Hopton, officially opened the training centre by “cutting” a digital ribbon. He also delivered an inspiring speech on the importance of helping teachers to educate students of the digital generation…

Successful learning starts with great teachers, and let’s be clear, technology is not a replacement for great teaching. We wouldn’t presume to tell teachers how to do their job, but we can demonstrate the tools that help make teaching and learning a more intuitive, natural process.

Andrew Hopton - Managing Director, VeryPC

…and how interactive technology can have a significantly positive effect on learning outcomes:

It has been shown that combining teaching practices with education software and learning technology makes outstanding success over 3 times as likely.

Andrew Hopton - Managing Director, VeryPC

Andy then invited everyone to have a play with the SMART interactive hardware and software on display, which will be available for training and demonstration to our future visitors.

Ross Robinson, our Audio Visual Specialist, demonstrated interactive flat panels by getting our guests to join in with some game based activities created with SMART lab. His pub quiz style activities went down a storm and he was happy to report participants agreed that whilst they were having fun, the experience was very educational. We all learned a thing or two about concepts that there is no word for in English but foreign languages have named delightfully, and our guests were introduced to some proper Sheffield words.

Pana Po’o (Hawaiian)
“Hmm, now where did I leave those keys?” he said, pana po’oing. It means to scratch your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten.**

Propensity to feelin’ reyt cowd (rather cold)

Colin McCarthy, VeryPC Client Relations Manager, showed just how easy it is to pick up the use of SMART kapp, the dry-erase whiteboard that records your ideas. After only a two minute introduction to the connected mobile app, he masterfully delivered and shared his illustrated story of the invention of the dry-erase marker to non-other than the Lord Mayor of Sheffield (no pressure, Col – didn’t know you could draw!). Here’s that very capture:

We were all honoured to play host to our special guest for the day, the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Anne Murphy. Anne very graciously made a speech pointing out the importance of bringing the kind of digital skills that enhance employability to the current generation of students, a viewpoint that was agreed upon by all in attendance. She was then treated to a tour of our office and production facility, and was particularly pleased to find that we have women working on our factory floor when she met Chantel, our superstar shipping operative:

I’m happy to say that the launch of our SMART UK Regional Training Centre was a great success. Visitors and hosts alike had fun and enjoyed some delicious food, provided by local Sheffield caterers, PJ Taste. Many thanks to all our attendees, representing VeryPC partners, customers and local schools. A special thanks to SMART UK, whose close partnership is an essential component of VeryPC’s ability to deliver their amazing technology to our customers. Finally, thanks to the VeryPC event team, whose hard work on the day meant that proceedings all went off without a single hitch – you guys were awesome!



* I say “compère”; I was more of a glorified usher really, vocally shepherding our guests from room to room as the event progressed.

** Definition from

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