From education to employment

College embraces new invention for the care sector

Burton and South Derbyshire College (BSDC) is leading the way with future-focused learning, using state of the art technology in the form of an interactive care instrument called Crdl – pronounced ‘cradle’.

The wooden musical instrument translates human touch into sound that changes depending on the type of contact that is made; squeezing a hand will make a different sound to a gentle touch, tapping your finger or resting on a shoulder.

It was designed to assist people suffering from dementia, by creating a new form of social interaction to enable them to make meaningful connections regardless of their cognitive abilities.

The innovative idea that has received a special mention in the TIME’s list of Best Inventions of 2023, was developed by two architects from the Netherlands. Chris Beech, Assistant Principal and Dean at BSDC, introduced the Crdl to the college after visiting the Netherlands himself, where he was attending an event at ROC Mondriaan College.

The event was to showcase innovation and applied research happening in the Netherlands around the use of technology in care. Speaking about the event, Chris said:

“The team were so enthusiastic about approaching care differently and as soon as I was back in the UK, I contacted the Crdl team directly. I found it very exciting that it has been developed by architects to create a solution for a problem outside their own sector, which makes it a great example of collaborative thinking for our students. We quickly realised the potential of the Crdl to form part of a central theme around technology and innovation.”

Health and Social Care students at the college have already utilised the device into their learning and put their newfound knowledge of the instrument in to practice during visits from local care homes.

The equipment is part of a series of new and upgraded facilities the College has recently introduced, significantly boosted by £3.5 million funding through the Stronger Towns Fund. This includes a Health Simulation Suite which provides learners with simulated environments to gain knowledge, skills and experience within a range of health and social care settings. The Health Simulation Suite features a mock hospital ward with three beds, a nurse’s station and specialist equipment, in partnership with University Hospitals of Derby, Burton NHS Foundation Trust and Staffordshire University. There is also a mock care home environment and an Immersive Interactive Simulation Suite with virtual reality technology, interactive 3D graphics and audio content to provide a multi-sensory learning environment.

The College’s vision is to extend the use of the Crdl to other course areas. Zoe Tierney, Learning Technologist at Burton and South Derbyshire College has started to lead the training sessions across different departments, including Pastoral Care and Performing Arts.

Speaking about the wider benefits of the Crdle, Zoe said:

“I am always excited to embrace innovations that enrich education, and with the Crdl the benefits are boundless, from enhancing education to uplifting the wellbeing of our students. In a world brimming with virtual technology, Crdl takes us back to the essence of human connection.”

Related Articles