BT has been the official mobile network partner for the innovative 5G Wales Unlocked project.
The project has been looking at the potential future benefits of new 5G technology in rural and semi-rural areas of Wales. The aim has been to look at the potential of this new technology to boost rural communities, from powering tech innovations in agriculture and security, to improving rural transport and education and bolstering the tourism industry.
As part of several trials, one has looked at how 5G technology could help support education in more rural areas. Using a new immersive 360-degree facility in Ebbw Vale, a demonstration has used the high-speed connectivity to project inspiring and educational video content onto all four walls.
BT's Gareth Callen, who is Cardiff-based and worked with partners on the project, believes it’s a good example of how using new, connected technology can help boost rural and semi-rural areas.
“It's been great working with a range of partners on this 5G immersive space in Ebbw Vale,” he says.
“It's a brilliant example of how using 5G and new technologies can help deliver rich, high quality content to inspire school pupils about the world, wherever they’re located.”
Local schools have been trialling the facility and the innovative teaching methods, like projecting lesson content onto all four classroom walls to teach students beyond the traditional methods.
Lessons can be delivered across a variety of curriculum-related themes, helping to inspire children and young people on a journey of the senses as they get to experience what life is like at the bottom of the ocean or explore the surface of a planet.
Immersive classrooms are facilitating the development of crucial skills – critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration are just a few. And students with learning difficulties and those who struggle to engage in classroom activities are actively more involved in this environment.
Live link-ups can also be used to connect classrooms across the country, meaning pupils can work collaboratively with other learners, and educators can enhance their own lessons in partnership with other schools.
Gareth Callen believes the technology also offers real potential for other sectors and industries, not only education.
“We're also exploring the potential of this immersive space to help people working in other fields including skills training, emergency services and healthcare. It has real potential to help boost rural and semi-rural communities across the country.”