Students are set to take a walk on the wild side following a collaboration between Scotland’s Rural College and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).
Classes could use immersive technology and undertake virtual field trips, following a visit by staff from RZSS Edinburgh Zoo to the new digital classroom at SRUC’s Barony Campus in Dumfries to learn more about the opportunities offered by the state-of-the-art technology.
They also met with staff from the Animal Care, Forestry and e-Learning departments to discuss the possibility of collaborating on future projects which would benefit both staff and students at SRUC and the youth programmes delivered through Edinburgh Zoo.
Suzanne Scott, head of Discovery and Learning at RZSS, said: “There are a number of common challenges for both Edinburgh Zoo and SRUC, particularly in terms of teaching subjects based in nature, but still ensuring that students develop their digital literacy skills to ensure their relevance in a 21st century workplace.
“Barony successfully balances this and continues to push the boundaries of learning technology. The new digital classroom is a triumph, showcasing not only the most up-to-date approaches to learning technology, but promoting independent and collaborative learning among students, and supporting staff in changing their approach to delivery.”
Jackie Irving, Animal Care Programme Team Leader at Barony, said: “The common interest in conservation and education will make this a very valuable partnership. It will also greatly benefit students and staff across all SRUC faculties, including Forestry, Horticulture, Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing.
“The collaboration will expose SRUC students to a wider range of experiences relevant to their industries and develop independent learning and reflection.
“This is an exciting venture that will enhance the learning of many students, provide specialist skills to obtain employment and embed lifelong learning.”
Staff from SRUC are meeting the RZSS team at Edinburgh Zoo in May to identify projects, including the use of immersive technologies, virtual field trips and other learning and teaching opportunities.