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Investment in ‘all-round’ learning sees students benefit from BT partnership

Group of people cutting a ribbon

Students attending @BordersCollege are able to utilise some of the latest learning technology thanks to a £250,000 investment from Borders College. The investment, which is part of a partnership with technology giants BT, uses the latest 360-degree equipment in a custom-built immersive classroom.

The new immersive classroom was officially opened by Mr Graeme Dey, MSP Minister for Higher and Further Education, and Minister for Veterans.

The 360-degree room creates a 3D digital projection which uses all four classroom walls and the ceiling to bring the real world into an immersive experience for students using EE’s 5G network.

Students from across the college will be able to engage and benefit from real-life learning experiences without having to leave the campus.

Mr Dey commented:

“I’m hugely impressed with the Immersive Classroom recently installed at Borders College. It will be incredibly exciting and interesting for the people who are using it, which is of course part of the education journey.

“I would imagine demand will outstrip supply as word gets out about this technology, and it’s great to see the partnership between Borders College and BT, which has allowed this innovative facility to exist.”

The technology, which pushes beyond traditional styles of teaching, will level the playing field for more rural-based construction students. It will also provide courses which increase students’ focus on sustainable building practices, as the college sets its sights on becoming a ‘green’ construction hub. As part of this focus, the college has already trialled the room with both Construction and Health-Care students.

Borders College Principal Pete Smith commented:

Thanks to the installation of this innovative 5G-enabled equipment and, with support from our partners BT, our students will be able to experience a huge range of interactive environments, enriching and enhancing the learning experience.

“We also look forward to exploring the possibilities this offers our public and private sector partners in the Scottish Borders and beyond.” 

The technology will allow Borders College students, taking courses from engineering to medical and health and social care, to benefit from the unique learning experiences of the immersive interactive space. Students have the opportunity to manage real-life scenarios and increase their understanding of what the reality is of working in each career path. This will include Electrical Safe Isolation, ambulance training and dementia training.

Alan Lees, Director of BT Business in Scotland, added:

“This announcement is part of an exciting journey for BT in bringing connectivity and its benefits to more communities across Scotland using innovative and ultrafast technology.

“It’s great to be working with Borders College to transform the learning experience and skills of thousands of students across the Scottish Borders and beyond. By harnessing the power of 5G, this immersive technology can revolutionise the way young people learn and engage with any subject offering those in more rural settings the same opportunities as inner-city students.

“BT’s ambition is to ‘Connect for Good’, and we continue to invest in our network, becoming the first to launch 5G in the Scottish Borders. It is a credit to Borders College for capitalising on this new technology early and leading the way, to create greater opportunities for their current and future students.”

The immersive space will also have the potential to support students with learning difficulties in developing imagination, creative and critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It is an example of how technology like 5G can help to transform local communities.

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