A new reality for learning at Telford CollegePublished: June 25, 2018
Telford College is taking learning to a new hi-tech level by investing around ¬£750,000 in a suite of virtual and augmented reality facilities.
The top floor of the Walker building at the college’s Haybridge campus is to be transformed into a new virtual reality suite, thanks to more than half a million pounds of funding from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.
Graham Guest, principal and chief executive of the college, said: “The LEP funding will help us to purchase virtual and augmented reality equipment which we will have in place by September, for the start of the new academic year.
“It will provide massive educational benefits for our students, and significantly contribute to skills delivery, making us the college of choice for employers and students. Telford College is focused on delivering future technologies to students.”
The suite will include the latest immersive virtual and augmented reality teaching aids and software packages, including a virtual reality ‘cave’ which can transport users into other working and learning environments.
Other equipment includes a full size hydroscopic display screen, interactive mirrors, motion simulators, smart glasses and augmented reality display systems.
It’s part of a big investment at the college over the summer to prepare for the arrival of students from the King Street campus, which will close at the end of the current academic year.
Mr Guest added: “Becoming one college has given us an opportunity to think outside the box. Education has to adapt to young people’s modern-day lifestyles, which means we can no longer put all the emphasis on traditional classroom-style tuition.
“Combining the knowledge, skills and facilities on our campus is a perfect time to reflect on our curriculum, and the introduction of virtual and augmented reality technology is a key ingredient in this.
“By investing in the latest industry and university-standard equipment, we are able to offer people a new, exciting and much more interactive experience.
“We want to be at the forefront of education, which is why we are bringing in virtual reality and new technologies to inspire students. It will revolutionise ways of teaching and learning.”
Telford College is working closely on the project with local technology company Virtual Reality Simulation Systems, which specialises in augmented reality, virtual reality, and motion simulation.
Chief executive Tim Luft said: “As they embark on a new journey, they are leading the way in which UK colleges adopt virtual reality and augmented reality as an everyday teaching tool.”
Telford College has also been working with international VR and AR company EON Reality, deploying their AVR Platform to thousands of students in order to make augmented and virtual reality accessible in and out of the classroom.
UK MD and Global Chief Operating Officer of EON Reality, Mark Bridgeman, said: “By using VR and AR, they are already leagues ahead, and helping futureproof their course offerings. EON Reality is therefore delighted to be supporting this clear vision, and the cutting-edge VR/AR hub suite at Telford College.”
Professor Ian Oakes, Marches LEP board member, said the funding – under the LEP’s Investing in our Future Workforce project – would ensure the region was equipped with the cutting-edge skills needed in the modern economy.
“It is absolutely vital that this region has the necessary skills and training to enable it to thrive and prosper in this fast-changing world and we have been working with our partners in education and industry to develop a strategy to deliver just that.
“This funding will help develop a wide-ranging programme of courses which will target the gaps in existing provision.
“It will make sure that people in work can update their skills and our youngsters leave education fully-equipped to play their part in developing a vibrant and thriving regional economy.”