BT creating the classroom of the future in Cumbernauld
Pupils in North Lanarkshire can now experience what it’s like to be in outer space, under the ocean, on a World War 1 battlefield or even on top of Everest thanks to a new learning initiative which is the first of its kind in the UK.
The project has become a reality after the local council teamed up with BT to bring the first 5G-enabled immersive classroom to Scotland.
The new immersive classroom has been developed within the Muirfield Community Centre in Cumbernauld where a room has been transformed into an exciting and engaging learning environment.
The 360-degree room creates a digital projection which uses all four classroom walls and the ceiling to bring the real-world into an immersive experience for students. BT is making this immersive experience possible through its EE 5G network which brings ultrafast speeds and enhanced reliability for classrooms of the future.
With 5G’s greater bandwidth, students and educators can livestream virtually from any location with minimal disruption and connect many more devices than on previous networks. This means students can still enjoy a rich learning experience and not be disadvantaged by their location or by the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Carbrain Primary pupils were the first to dive into the new experience with an underwater lesson about the ocean.
A student from Carbrain Primary also said his favourite part was seeing the Northern Lights, a subject he studied at school: “I loved the colours, it was as if I were seeing them in real life!”
Another student enjoyed the Safari experience, saying “It was so cool to see the animals so close up.”
Watch a video of the immersive classroom here.
The concept aims to push beyond traditional methods of teaching to create an inclusive digital experience that helps explain abstract and challenging concepts through a 3D model. It will also have the potential to support students with learning difficulties in developing imagination, creative and critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
“The immersive classroom goes beyond the traditional classroom boundaries,” explained Councillor Frank McNally, Convener of Education and Families with North Lanarkshire Council.
“Its potential uses really are limitless and we hope that it can be used to engage pupils who are perhaps turned-off by traditional learning experiences as well as by local community groups, for example historical societies.
“This project shows that North Lanarkshire is at the cutting edge in terms of technology and connectivity and demonstrates our commitment to providing our pupils with outstanding learning opportunities.”
The new classroom is just the latest example of the increasing importance of digital fabric for almost every aspect of modern life.
While the pace of change has not exactly been slow in recent years, the experience of the pandemic has provided a disruptor, making local authorities, governments and businesses more aware than ever of the need to ensure fast, reliable internet coverage across their area.
Did you know?
- EE’s 5G network already covers Cumbernauld, Motherwell and Bellshill in North Lanarkshire, as well as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Stirling.
- EE’s 4G mobile network covers 99% of the population of North Lanarkshire and 95% of the council area.
- Through BT’s access to Openreach’s full-fibre network, BT already has fantastic access to Scotland’s largest existing full-fibre network, which Openreach plans to extend even further.
As the country looks to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic it is clear that for a better future we require a better understanding of technology and how it can help almost every aspect of our daily lives.
For example, with 5G-led converged technology, councils can better orchestrate the movement of people and things and help improve air quality at the same time. This, however, requires better collaboration between various stakeholders, such as councils working with the private sector on insights sharing.
Technology and connectivity are a crucial part of delivering on a rural digital fabric future, but it’s not about the technology - it’s what it lets people achieve.
BT delivers new tech innovations and a wide range of value-added services to provide the extra support needed to get the best from them, so local authorities can deliver the best for their communities.
Transport and tourism
5G and complementary tech will play a critical role in making connected traffic systems a reality. For example, smart sensors and cameras can be integrated into traffic infrastructure to collect data about oncoming traffic and trigger real time actions, such as re-routing vehicles or changing traffic lights.
This could be deployed in areas that experience high levels of tourism and foot traffic in summer holiday months, for example at Snowdonia National Park.
This solution will result in fewer traffic jams, less fuel consumption and fewer accidents on the road, whilst logistics and supply chains will be speeded up.
Remote health services
But by using 5G enabled technology, clinicians can deliver better on demand care to patients. This will transform access to public health services for all communities, particularly the most rural and disadvantaged.
Remote consultations have helped to avoid unnecessary patient visits to GP surgeries and hospitals, while enabling physicians to perform safe initial screening and providing universal access to medical advice. This is particularly beneficial for the elderly, frail or for infants needing urgent medical treatment, for example
Immersive experiences for work and education
Covid-19 has set off an acceleration of remote experiences – whether that’s within the healthcare sector, education or private sector.
Virtually overnight, the pandemic demonstrated that change was possible as a scale and pace previously unimaginable, and that technology is central to achieving this.
When the crisis forced councils to transform overnight, they did so successfully – adopting new technologies at rapid pace that quickly enabled the majority of local authority employees, with jobs that allowed it, to work remotely.
Other direct and indirect environmental benefits linked to remote working also include reduced noise pollution, reduced need for land for road networks and infrastructure, reduced road congestion and savings in energy and material resources from less use of paper and plastic.
To find out more about our wider 5G projects, visit business.bt.com/solutions/5g-bt-for-business