A VisitScotland programme of events which aims to bring together academics and business events professionals from across Scotland arrives in Stirling on Thursday – with a talk on the ‘classroom of tomorrow’.

INNOVATEEDUCATION will have a special focus on how technology platforms like virtual reality are exposing young people to new techniques which can enrich and supplement the learning experience.

The free to attend event, at Stirling Court Hotel, the University of Stirling, on Thursday 27 April, is part of the INNOVATETHENATION programme created by the national tourism organisation’s Business Events team.

The talk series, launched last year, provides a networking opportunity for academics and the business events sector, while celebrating Scotland’s vast innovation legacy and developing it for the future.

Attendees will hear from leading experts and will see how technology is disrupting education including how school pupils can enter the human bloodstream via a ‘micro-ship’ and hold red blood cells in their hands.

They will be able to try their hand at the latest in virtual reality (VR) education through Viarama – a Scottish social enterprise which was the first organisation in the world to take room-scale VR into classrooms.

The company has software that allows pupils to understand basics of programming for VR, and explore the end result of their work in a VR world. Drawing, painting and sculpting in three dimensions further develops this active engagement, bringing creativity to life in innovative and inspiring ways.

Earlier this year, VisitScotland launched its first virtual reality app, ScotlandVR, which features 360˚ imagery and footage of 26 exciting attractions in Stereoscopic 3D.

According to the latest research, by 2020 the virtual reality market will be worth 20 times what it was in 2016 – estimated at $37.7bn.

The speakers at INNOVATEEDUCATION are:

  • A leading voice in Scottish academia, Professor Mark Priestley, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Director of the Stirling Network for Curriculum Studies, is also the author of ‘Teacher Agency: an ecological approach’.
  • Lauren Rodger, Head Teacher of North Berwick High School in East Lothian, who also sits on the Executive Council and the Strategic Planning Group of School Leaders Scotland, the professional organisation for school leaders. She is also a professional verifier on the SCEL Into Headship programme.
  • Fearghal Kelly is currently a Lead Specialist with the Scottish College for Educational Leadership (SCEL). He was the driving force behind the creation of the online community of teachers www.pedagoo.org which has provided alternative, community driven approaches to teacher professional learning across the UK.

Patrick Lamont, VisitScotland Business Events Executive – Associations & Sectors, said: “Scotland’s education system has produced a vast array of inventors, innovators, pioneers and leaders throughout the years and the advancement in technology is becoming ever present in schools.

“INNOVATEEDUCATION will shine a light on major innovations in the education sector and explore the emerging opportunities for shaping the Scottish educational landscape of the future.

“Our INNOVATETHENATION programme provides an opportunity for local experts and industry champions to network for future collaboration, to help bring the best business events to Scotland and boost its profile on the world stage.”

Billy Agnew, owner of Viarama, said: “Viarama is a social enterprise committed to utilising the power of VR as a force for good within our communities. We deliver VR in the education and healthcare sectors, in schools, nursing homes, and in domiciliary care settings.

“Our educational software includes an app which allows pupils to enter the bloodstream in a micro-ship, and hold red blood cells in their hands, before seeing them replicate in real time on their journey through an artery.”

Liam Spillane, Director of Commercial Services at the University of Stirling, said: “Stirling Venues is delighted to be hosting the INNOVATEEDUCATION event alongside our colleagues in the University of Stirling. We’re sure our academic expertise combined with the outstanding facilities at Stirling Court Hotel and the stunning surroundings of our campus will make for a successful event.

“The talk is part of the INNOVATETHENATION series, delivered in partnership with VisitScotland and I’m thrilled to be part of an exciting initiative that is sharing the work being done in this niche area of expertise.”

INNOVATETHENATION is a thematically diverse series of talks representing the many areas of excellence and innovation in Scotland within the Scottish Government’s growth sectors. The series brings together experts and influencers with the aim of inspiring potential ambassadors who we can support in attracting future events to Scotland’s cities and regions.

Previous events include INNOVATEMARINE, INNOVATETECH and INNOVATEROBOTICS. Building on the success of past events, this year the team will host events around the themes of Education and Film.