John Leggott College of West Common Lane, Scunthorpe, has invested £170,000 of Government funding in a state-of-the-art virtual reality learning and skills space; it is designed to impress with its unique purpose and the exciting opportunities available for students and the wider North Lincolnshire community. This innovative 180 degree technological immersive space allows students in the college to learn and develop with each other and participants from other colleges and establishments. It can be used for many different purposes such as employee interactions, presentations, lectures, careers events, open events and overall enhance the day-to-day learning experience. For example, aspiring lawyers could role-play in a virtual courtroom or experience renewable energy manufacturing opportunities without physically visiting a wind turbine farm. Similar 3D technological spaces have been created at Wilberforce College in Hull and Franklin College in Grimsby as part of a collaborative Advance Colleges Trust (ACT) project.
The Immersive Space hosted a grand reveal event on 5th May showcasing a demonstration of the new space for students, teachers and representatives of the local community. The Immersive Space is a 180 degree space. The visual image can be projected onto the floor, which gives the impression that students are involved in the image being presented on the screen; this in turn creates a more realistic experience and has even been compared to a virtual reality headset but for multiple audiences to enjoy. Not only is it going to be used by students, it is also available externally to other businesses and community groups looking to create realistic experiences with the immersive space.
The College has worked with award winning digital agency, Feel Created, in respect of looking at how software can be used optimally and effectively within this immersive space. Ian Long, founder and Creative Director at Feel Created said: “Originally tasked with creating a series of static digital assets and videos, we saw an opportunity to create a modern content management system (CMS). The solution makes the content more dynamic and easy for ACT staff to amend content and even add new, additional content. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with ACT on this exciting project; utilising state-of-the-art technology is a testament to the forward-thinking ethos of ACT. It’s great to see our digital materials in action across all screen formats. I’m sure it will be highly beneficial for ACT students moving forward.” Emma Swinburn, Project Lead for the ACT Project Team reported that “it’s been in the planning stages since April 2021, and we got the confirmation of the investment in November 2021. It’s been an amazing experience to see it come to life and a pleasure to work alongside the team and see our work come to fruition for the benefit of learners and the wider community.”
Jamie Watkinson, Head of Teaching, Learning and Innovation, stated that “this 3D space will transform the teaching and learning experience on a daily basis.” Mr Watkinson added that “this cutting edge technology allows learners to experience a whole range of different workplaces and career opportunities without actually setting foot outside the campus. We are providing a learning environment fit not only for the remainder of the 21st century, but looking ahead to the 22nd century.”
This project was funded by the Government’s Skills Development Fund with the aim of ensuring that learner skills are developed and enhanced to prepare learners for academic progression and prepare them for eventual employment in a whole range of careers. John Leggott College has received £900,000 to invest in skills developments for learners and the future workforce who will contribute to both the regional and national economies.
The local Member of Parliament for Scunthorpe, Holly Mumby-Croft, has been highly supportive of the initiative and Government funding. I had an absolutely fantastic time visiting “John Leggott College to see their new 180 degree immersive technological space, and I’d like to thank everyone at the college for welcoming me. We have some world-class teachers and schools in Scunthorpe, and I’m absolutely delighted that the Government have provided the cash needed to get this project up and running. This is going to provide some really exciting learning opportunities for people in North Lincolnshire and will be a big boost to an already excellent learning environment, offering skills and opportunities to local young people. I hope I’ll be invited back soon to see how the students are making use of this new facility and see what exciting exhibitions are put on!”
As the academic year closes, the second year Vocational Games Design students said that “they are going to use this space to set up an exhibition to show off their games work” which will form part of a public exhibition to be held on 25 May. Tony Jackson, Games Design teacher, stated that “this 3D environment will provide the hi-tech hardware and software to develop their digital and games design skills. Students will then be prepared to achieve the highest grades in the subject and ultimately, be equipped for successful careers within the gaming industry.”
Principal and CEO of John Leggott College, Leon Riley, closed the event by paying tribute to all of the staff and political representatives involved in bringing about this technological innovation. “I am excited that with the Government’s financial support, we now have a hi-tech learning environment which will open up the full range of potential careers and learning and skills opportunities for our students and workforce of the future. This invaluable resource will also open our doors to local, regional and national enterprise as well as community groups. I am proud that our College and local partners are at the forefront of this cutting edge technology which will bring the classroom and the workplace closer together.”