Burton and South Derbyshire UTC is a partial new build, partial refurbishment project with 5,300 square metres of teaching and learning space. The College opened in Oct 2015, although the first intake of students was not scheduled until Sept 2016. During the intervening period the College worked with local Schools on a variety of project-based and hands-on learning initiatives. The UTC specialises in engineering and biomedical sciences, including aspects of health and sports sciences and is equipped with a variety of laboratories and experimental spaces. There are also zoned areas that are specifically designed for social learning, briefings, technical work and presentations. The learning zones are complemented by ICT and Audio Visual systems which are designed to engage, motivate and inspire learning.
The active network was funded and provided by the construction partner. The ICT facilities provided by Gaia include; multiple HP Servers with virtualisation software, Thecus SAN for on-site data storage and backup, Impero internet filtering and tracking software and Microsoft Endpoint Protection anti-virus software. The project also includes extensive Cloud computing facilities including Microsoft Office 365, which will be available to all students and teachers, GFI Max cloud storage to augment the on-site data storage and provide high capacity and long term data storage and Citrix Netscaler to deliver remote access facilities.
Gaia also provided a range of HP, Acer and Apple user devices including standard, medium and high specification desktop PC’s. The medium and high specification devices are based on Intel i5 and i7 processors and some are equipped with dual, 21.5” screens. These have been configured specifically to support of variety of industry standard software including Autodesk, CAD/CAM, Adobe Master Suite and Gaia’s 3D modelling and immersive visualisation suite. The mobile devices supplied include iPads and Intel Core i3 and i5 laptops.
Learning spaces were equipped with NEC U310W 2D and 3D interactive projectors and wide format, vitreous enamel wall boards. These boards provide the projection surface with space at either side for teachers to write notes. The boards were recommended by Gaia because they are hard wearing and don’t get spoiled by people using the wrong sort of marker.
Multiple 55” LED information screens are located throughout the College, with a 70” screen in the restaurant area. These will be used for digital signage and to display various examples of student work.
Other peripherals include Sharp MFD with ‘follow me’ printing and a Cunningham’s Cashless catering system. There is also a budget allocated to purchase digital microscopes, robotics equipment, data loggers and other specialist equipment. Gaia will work with the College to select, test and finalise the choice of these devices.
In addition to the equipment and systems described above, Gaia provided £40,000 of sponsorship to the UTC. This focussed on helping improve the learning experience and included time from our specialist team of software engineers and graphic artists to work on curriculum specific projects.
One of our early contributions, which was started even before contracts were signed, is production of an iPad App that explains the history, nature and treatment regime associate with the Ebola virus. Clearly this international emergency has been high profile over the past year and closely relates to the Colleges specialism in Health and Science. Gaia produced the App and is now working directly with the College and their partners to enhance and develop it and embed it (and others) within their teaching and learning.
Gaia are also supporting the College by attending and providing demonstrations at various publicity and student recruitment events.
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