BIMA Digital Day 2017


As part of BIMA digital day, Realise teamed up with the S3 computer science pupils of Craigmount High School, Edinburgh to imagine the future of digital in education.  The afternoon was a great success, not only from the ideas generated but our awareness of where the future of education is headed.

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The challenge

For an afternoon, the pupils were challenged with two briefs under ‘The Diana Challenge’ provided by BIMA:

  1. Imagine a way that technology could be used to reduce bullying in school.
  2. Imagine how digital technologies could improve the learning experience.

It was up to each of the seven groups to create a digital solution using either; Robotics, Virtual Reality or Artificial Intelligence to enhance the existing experience. All groups instantly migrated to imagining the future classroom, and after a brief presentation from us… they got to work!

The ideas

At first progress was slow. Ideas were sheepishly mumbled to each other in the fear that it may be ‘wrong’. Yet as we circled the room and got to chatting, concepts began to take shape.

Ideas were documented with a written pitch statement and supported by a storyboard to illustrate the user journey. During this process we encouraged them to think about the; how, why, where, when of their idea and most importantly the ‘who’ they were designing for. The user need was key to their outcome.

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Common ideas demonstrated less dependency on a teacher and more on technology for answers. As such, the concept of ‘Google it’ was greatly enhanced. In some cases, it was suggested that Virtual Reality should be used to immerse classrooms/pupils into new learning spheres. History books would be transformed with simulated environments allowing pupils to see scenarios first-hand and ask questions to those directly involved. Similarly, extreme landscapes could be visited during a Geography lesson all from the comfort of their seats. In other instances, groups looked at how Artificial Intelligence would be used to create Alexa-like desk companions and provide answers to their problems/questions.

Although only concepts were generated with our pupils, their ideas were not a far stretch from reality. Change may be slow, yet looking at existing educational platforms such as Skymap and Anaotmy 4D, it will not be long until VR and AI are fully integrated into our classrooms, embracing the digital era.

The future

Going digital will increase the access of knowledge to pupils, meaning answers will come quick. As such it is likely that an approach to the education curriculum will need to be adjusted, assessing pupils more on their evaluation skills and not right/wrong answers. From this we can see an evolution in the role of the teacher, acting less as a beacon of knowledge but more as a mentor for adopting an analytical eye. They will encourage pupils to ask about the bigger questions such as why/how as opposed to the what/where.

Integrating technology into education will not only grant pupils greater personalisation, but help them to adopt a learning style that suits their needs. Learning will not be restricted to the class environment but achieved anywhere and anytime, challenging our current idea of a ‘school setting’.

'Til next year..

It is safe to say that we were really impressed with Craigmount High, not only with the solutions they came up with, but their level of engagement and awareness in the future digital spaces. It would appear much has changed from my school days where ‘going digital’ meant plugging numbers into Excel or learning how to spellcheck in Microsoft Word. It is encouraging if not slightly unnerving to see how far this has come and will continue to grow, after all these kids are the future. I think we are in good hands.

Nicola Dunlop