From education to employment

Telford College duo fly to Texas for global tech seminar

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Two members of the Telford College teaching team have jetted out to the United States this week to showcase cutting-edge healthcare training technology at an international conference. Caroline Bastow and Stewart Riddle will be taking part in a panel debate at the SXSW EDU Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas.

The event, which runs until March 7, is described as a global showcase of technology and best practices to ‘help create a new tomorrow for learners everywhere’. They are there to discuss the impact of the college’s new virtual reality training software for health and social care students. It has been created in partnership with experienced design experts Inizio Engage XD and has won multiple awards. The panel discussion will explore the use of immersive learning to ‘rehearse challenging moments’ in a safe and supportive environment.

Caroline, Telford College’s head of quality and learning, teaching and assessment, and Stewart who is a clinical educator at the college, will join Inizio Engage XD duo Tom French and Andy Walker on the panel.

The panellists said:

“Imagine if the team on Apollo 11 had been able to rehearse the moon landings in Extended Reality in 1969, Not just the practical tasks, but the emotional challenge of being in such an unfamiliar landscape. We want to explore the use of immersive learning to rehearse challenging moments. By entering worlds without distractions, anything is possible and you can experience difficult emotions and discuss them with learning leaders.”

Caroline added:

“We can’t wait to share details about this VR experience, which is already having a real impact on students.”

Janet Stephens, Telford College’s deputy chief executive, added:

“For us, it’s a game-changer when it comes to bridging the gap between theory and practice, especially when it can be difficult to get ‘real-life’ placements. The VR experience is the wow factor – the start of every teaching programme, which can prepare students emotionally like nothing else.’’

Andy Walker, senior creative at Inizio Engage XD, said:

“We’re excited to bring our perspective on VR’s power to boost emotional resilience to SXSW EDU. To share the potential of VR in learning with the leading global educators is a fantastic opportunity – we’re looking forward to an interactive and fun session.”

Speaking on behalf of the Integrated Care System, Simon Whitehouse, chief executive officer for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said:

“We have been privileged to be part of the development of this innovative and exciting new way of learning. Not only does this offer more opportunities for students to get the experience they need for a successful career in health and care, but it also demonstrates a real commitment locally to grow and develop the very best people to meet the needs of our population in the future.”

The SXSW EDU events bring together keynote speakers, panel debates, performances and film screenings. They have a track record for attracting globally recognised names, from entertainment legends such as Oprah Winfrey to Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former US president Bill Clinton.

Organisers say the aim is to provide attendees with ’valuable insights, inspiration, and actionable takeaways to drive positive change in education’.

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