Keele University digital health hub

Pure AV helps the School of Pharmacy at Keele University transform a traditional 48 seat IT lab into a modern 60 seat collaborative space.

The redesigned ‘Digital Health Hub’ combines a new classroom layout with wireless collaborative casting tools to increase room capacity, encourage collaboration and enable greater interaction with the augmented reality teaching tools developed and used within the School of Pharmacy.

The new teaching space was designed with collaborative learning in mind, along with features that would accommodate the School of Pharmacy’s latest augmented reality teaching tools.

Reg Icli, Learning technology officer, School of Pharmacy

Increased capacity and reduced footprint

The University needed to increase the capacity of the room while reducing the overall footprint. This required a fresh approach to the room layout and was made possible through the introduction of new collaborative furniture.

The original banks of desks and computers have been replaced with ten tables, each with a 49” display situated at one end and equipped with either laptop or desktop workstations. The tables are colour coded to assist with group activity and each can comfortably accommodate six students.

The lecturer has the ability to distribute content to each of the displays through the Extron control panel situated on the lectern and a Kramer Via Connect Pro system introduces the potential for wireless collaborative casting.

A modern, adaptive teaching space

The usage of the Digital Health Hub varies significantly; from standard sessions with the presentation of slide or web content, to the review of diagnostic imaging, to the use of the latest augmented reality teaching tools.

The new solution offers the flexibility to adapt to the differing requirements of room users. The ability to share content wirelessly over the University’s Eduroam network using the Kramer Via Connect Pro system has dramatically increased the adaptability of the space and the potential for lecturers to introduce new, creative teaching methods.

We wanted to design something that was very flexible and allow us to do all sorts of creative things. We’ve got our own augmented reality technology that we can project out to the students, or we can set up small group creative projects within the larger group teaching.

Katie Maddock, MPharm course director

With the ability to simultaneously share up to four screens (desktop, laptop or mobile device) to the ten 49” LCD displays in the room. Students can collaborate using these displays and their own devices in a number of ways: making notes, utilising digital whiteboards, sharing files and even taking turns controlling linked displays to present to the whole room.

The initial response to the Digital Health Hub has been extremely positive. The upgrade to the sound system and introduction of LCD displays has dramatically improved the quality of the student experience. The near DICOM standard of the Panasonic LCD displays also to be a a valuable addition for students of Radiography, required to work with diagnostic imaging.

Perhaps the biggest impact to the environment is the inclusion of the wireless casting.

The wireless casting is a fantastic addition to the space and has helped us to change the way we teach, particularly though the use of AR tools which can be managed locally in a very effective and simple way.

Reg Icli, Learning technology officer, School of Pharmacy

An enhanced student experience

I think the student experience in this room is going to be absolutely amazing. The ability for them to use their own technology to find their own information and then share that information freely within the group is probably going to be the biggest thing. Also being able to project our own high-tech, cutting-edge augmented reality tools, so that each student group can do something different with it, is going to be tremendous.

Katie Maddock, MPharm course director

The project was successfully delivered within a six week period and the University eagerly anticipates the full integration of the room into the programme for the new academic year. Work has already begun developing the AR technology to make the most of the new space and we look forward to seeing the results.

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