CASE STUDY: The National Centre for the Written Word (The Word)
Interactive and Immersive Technology Enhances Learning and Creativity in the North East
The Word is a new, state-of-the-art cultural venue at the heart of the regeneration of South Shields, in the North East of England. LamasaTech worked collaboratively with South Tyneside Council to meet their bespoke needs and develop user-intuitive, audio-visual technology to provide interactive and engaging learning experiences.
- Use AV technology to design interactive learning experiences
- Propose innovative solutions to put the region on the international map as a forward-thinking hub of education
- Drive accessibility and learning & development in the community
- Bring heritage of the region into the into the experiences
The project consisted of a digital media wall, an immersive storytelling room and a range of touch screen equipment.
The storytelling room, Storyworld, uses high-specification projectors and speakers to create dynamic backdrops coupled with sound effects, creating a unique and mesmerising experience where children can get lost in their imagination and the literary world which surrounds them. Storyworld has re-invented the storytelling experience and provides a truly immersive learning experience. It has a remarkable impact on childrens’ writing skills. Children show complete focus when in a lesson in this environment, and staff have seen a peak in the volume of work they produce, compared to a lesson in the classroom. Due to its multi-sensory nature, it provides a fantastic experience for children with special needs.
The digital media wall consists of six state-of-the-art touch screen tablets and monitors which are linked via mini-PC to a central server. Children can colour in a picture on the tablet and make their mark with a unique design. These pictures are then projected from the monitors, to display an extraordinary media wall which showcases the artistic skills of the children for all to admire.
Interactive touch-tables showcase South-Tyneside’s fascinating heritage and links with bespoke live ship tracking technology. Visitors can track a ship’s journey up the River Tyne and find out more about where the ship has come from. There are historical nautical images and captivating stories about shipwrecks in the North East. This interactive technology creates a bespoke learning experience which promotes the rich heritage of South Shields and encourages visitors to engage with the shipping industry that continues to operate around The Word.
The Lost Dialects exhibition, for which LamasaTech deployed touch screen technology, remembers the ‘lost words of the North East Dialect.’ This exhibition celebrates the history of the local region, and promotes engagement from all ages, ensuring the history is not lost amongst the younger generation. The touch screens are DDA compliant, with easy adjustable height functionality.
The technology is enhancing the learning of children in the North East community, which has seen extraordinary results in The Word’s first year of operation.The project has had a huge impact on the success of The Word facility as a whole, and has enabled South Tyneside Council to offer the community new and engaging experiences. The technology improves learning and promotes the history of the area, to audiences of all ages and abilities.
In short, the North East community is the beneficiary of the project. The community of South Shields more specifically, profit from the state-of-the-art technology on their doorstep. Schools in the area are actively encouraged to visit The Word. Using the facility at a low cost, schools benefit from exposing their pupils to a variety of technology which is out with the budget of a school to deploy in-house. The knowledge of the pupils grows as they embark on immerse learning and teachers find that pupils produce more, better-quality work during lessons as a result of their surroundings.
“The technology is enhancing learning and encouraging creativity, which in turn develops literary skills. StoryWorld has the most potential to have impact with schools. Children become immersed in the StoryWorld environment, their senses are stimulated and their vocabulary develops by leaps and bounds. The children enjoy looking at the images or video displayed and listening to the sounds. I think the technology has made the best of what was a limited environment.
It has been possible to conduct a project using the space as a stimulus for creative writing. We have had a number of schools use the space to enhance writing skills. It has a lot of potential going forward to provide better learning opportunities for pupils.
We use the Lens touch table platform when we are doing tours, and draw attention to the live ship tracker and shipwreck map activities. There is a lot of potential for the Lens platform.“
Amanda Hayward, E Learning Advisor
ICT in Schools Team
OpenZone @ The Word