BT ‘The Future is Now’: Nice tech, shame about reality

BTWith kids finally going back to school, BT is attempting to show just how fun it is all going to be – for some at least – with the launch of the latest instalment of “The Future is Now” series, designed to highlight the transformation of learning.

Devised by Wunderman Thompson, the activity showcases the potential of the Interactive Immersive Classroom, which allows schools to make their own 3D animations that can be projected 360-degrees across four walls from its servers. This opens up the opportunity for kids to go swimming with sharks or come face-to-face with a lion on safari, step onto a spaceship or even take a journey through the human body in the bloodstream.

Interactive Immersive Classroom also provides cameras for schools, enabling teachers to create their own content, alongside a custom app where they can select and create lessons. This content and immersive environment is powered by EE’s 5G network, which streams content hosted on the Interactive Immersive Classroom’s cloud-based networks direct to the classroom.

Presented by journalist and broadcaster Steph McGovern, “The Future is Now” highlights how technology is transforming education, bringing what could be difficult for kids to imagine or not possible for them to experience, to life. It is aimed at showcasing the extent to which 5G, cloud and broadband can take learning to a whole new level.

“Our Steph” introduces viewers to Craig Potterton, head of creative development at Interactive Immersive Classroom, who explains how the technology works and how the content is delivered at the touch of a button. She also speaks with Jill Woodward, education and families manager at North Lanarkshire Council, the first council in Scotland to invest in an immersive classroom.

The campaign is running across multiple channels, with long form film, coming in at nearly 12 minutes, being supported by digital teasers and trailers.

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, if only we had this technology when we were are at school, we might have actually paid attention rather than mess around at the back of the classroom. We might even have learned enough to have proper jobs.

It is undoubtedly top tech and “our Steph” does a great job fronting the show, yet we can’t help but wonder, how many schools will actually be able to afford this stuff?

If there’s one thing the Covid pandemic has exposed, it is the depressing state of the country’s education system. From food poverty to digital poverty, too many of our schoolchildren are disadvantaged.

Back in January, Tech for UK published a ‘Lockdown Laptops Map’ featuring nearly 1,000 schools that still needed laptops to provide to children to learn remotely. And according to Ofcom estimates, between 1.14 million and 1.78 million children in the UK (9%) do not even have home access to a laptop, desktop or tablet.

We realise this is not just down to BT, but shouldn’t we be sorting out this mess first before we start telling schoolkids they will soon be able to swim with sharks in the classroom?

Decision Marketing Adometer: A ‘you gotta love Steph McGovern’ 8 out of 10

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