A new state-of-the-art digital classroom has been unveiled at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) Barony campus in Dumfries.
It is believed to be the first of its kind in the region.
SRUC has invested around £80,000 to develop its first digital classroom in partnership with Glasgow-based audio-visual company MediaScape.
The project was led by demand from students who wanted to use their own devices to collaborate and use interactive technology in their studies.
The testing with students has been so successful, SRUC is now looking to create similar digital technology projects at campuses in Edinburgh, Fife, West Lothian and Aberdeen.
The Kirkmichael Digital Classroom uses hands-on digital learning applications to promote new learning and teaching methods, including tech-friendly tables enabling students to bring their own devices to connect, communicate and collaborate around large screens.
Students also interact using both a large touchscreen tilting table and a separate screen, while the lecturer can use a high definition camera to share content and control the course live from a dedicated device.
In the future, the course content could be adapted for distance learning students as well as giving students at different campuses the opportunity to take part in a lesson together and interact as if they were in the same room.
SRUC is also exploring how this technology could be used for research and farming consultancy work.
The project is part of SRUC’s journey to university status which includes a new campus at Barony as part of a £35 million investment in facilities in the South and West of Scotland.
Adrianna Quail, a student studying for an Advanced Certificate in Forestry at SRUC, said: ‘The Digital Classroom could attract students interested in technology. The equipment is easy to use even for students who are not IT savvy. Having a classroom like this shows commitment and forward thinking in a world where technology plays a huge part in the education system.’
Alistair Marshall, vice chair of the SRUC board, who officially opened the classroom, said: ‘Collaboration through technology is second nature to students at home and while studying. We need to constantly evolve to support their potential and create a world-class teaching environment.
‘The digital classroom isn’t just about today, it also reflects the working practices of tomorrow. Seeing how SRUC staff and students have created our first digital classroom has been brilliant and offers a real glimpse into the future.’