South Staffordshire College digital campus: 4D immersive laboratory

Jamie Smith, director of strategy and infrastructure at South Staffordshire College takes Computer Weekly on a tour of the brand new digital campus, which includes a 4D immersive laboratory – a unique space where teachers can bring their own content on a USB stick and have it projected onto the walls and floors with accompanying sound effects.

“The young people who come into our organisation need to have a transformed educational experience which is enabled by digital technologies that make sense to them,” says Smith.

The college is making use of the digital technologies at its disposal to grow and to thrive in the digital world. In the 4D immersive laboratory, Smith said teachers have taught how to approach a forensic crime scene in public services classes, while others have thrown an Indian buffet in the room, with images on the walls and sound effects transporting the students to India.

The planning for the campus began 36 months ago, with building work happening over the last 12 months. The college is receiving less and less money from government so it has to become innovative in order to reduce costs and find new funding.

“One of the fundamental challenges in education is that we’re experiencing increasing financial pressures, so this is requiring us to innovate in an increasingly competitive environment,” said Smith.

The college is currently working with IBM around analytics and advanced marketing for its website.

“We’re looking at how people behave on our website to target that and work out how to deliver in new ways on our website. We’re going to redesign our website and target people online in a way that makes sense in their digital world.”

The application of the IBM analytics technology is already helping the college to have insight into how people behave online. “We’re already learning how we can redesign and remodel our website to provide a better seamless and engaging learner experience.”

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