Representatives of Tonbridge Grammar School and Harrow, Richmond and Uxbridge Colleges (HRUC) visited North Kent College recently for a demonstration of some of the College's pioneering technology.
Harrow, Richmond and Uxbridge Colleges visited the College's Gravesend campus, whilst the Tonbridge Grammar School visitors made the short trip to the Tonbridge campus. However they were brought together by North Kent College's immersive classrooms, which they wanted to learn more about and find out how they could possibly be of use to their institutions.
These hi-tech classrooms allow for a seamless learning experience with teachers and students in other immersive classrooms, and to connect with employers at remote locations.
The classrooms are fully interactive with digital whiteboards that students can use to answer questions or tasks set and engage in lessons as if they were in the room with the lecturer.
Each room also allows ultra-high-definition video presentations to be shared, and features motion tracking cameras with high-quality two-way audio that allows for natural conversations between rooms, no matter where the participant is standing.
Each of North Kent College's four campuses at Dartford, Gravesend, Hadlow and Tonbridge, host an immersive classroom, whilst there are 13 in total at various colleges across Kent.
Other advantages include:
- External lecturers and guest speakers will no longer have to attend a campus to give a presentation or talk as they can beam in remotely.
- Practical demonstrations can be broadcast straight to the rooms rather than students having to be taken out on trips to industry specific locations.
- Students can connect remotely if they are unable to make it to a campus due to illness or bad weather.
Mark Andrews, Deputy Executive Principal, Strategy and Curriculum, for North Kent College said: "I am delighted that we could showcase our brand-new immersive classrooms to some of our colleagues in the sector, so they can see the benefits it could bring to them.
"It gave them a flavour of how the technology can be used to engage employers and educational partners, both regionally and nationally, with students, and how easy it makes it to share expert teachers and guest speakers across college groups whilst at the same time retaining the interactive nature of a regular classroom."
Nigel Stratton, Chair of Trustees at Tonbridge Grammar School, was impressed by the demonstration, saying: "It was great to see this new technology in operation. It was interesting how the immersive classroom experience is being integrated into the teaching and learning at North Kent College. We hope to implement something similar at Tonbridge Grammar School in the future as part of the experience the students will need to develop their skills for their future lives and the world of work."
No technical knowledge is needed by staff to use the classrooms, they simply connect their laptop and are ready to broadcast their lesson.
Students also don't need to download any software to join the lessons remotely, as it is all browser based.