On 27th February, it was my honour to represent Blend Media in Cardiff for BBC Digital Cities, 2018. BBC Digital Cities is an exciting event series which aims to improve participant's digital and creative skills across a variety of major cities around the United Kingdom. Cities that have participated in the program include Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Belfast. The events are targeted at the creative industries, are free and include stimulating workshops, masterclasses and networking events.
The BBC Digital Cities event, held in the Wales Millennium Centre, was more specifically organised by BBC School Report; a journalism project that gives 11-18 year olds across the UK the opportunity to improve their media literacy skills and produce their own stories about subjects that matter to them.
From the outset, BBC Digital Cities Cardiff seemed like a typical creative event, involving presentations, collaboration and discussion about user-controlled content (360 video, VR etc.), however, it turned out to be a little bit more exciting that originally anticipated.
Instead of giving a traditional talk, I had been asked to run three interactive workshops throughout the day with over eighty school children from the local area. So, I have to admit, this did seem like quite a daunting task to someone with no teaching experience.
However, it ended up being a thoroughly rewarding day from both a personal and professional perspective.
My goal for the day was to introduce the school children to create their own 360 experiences by using Blend’s 360 Stories platform that enables you to easily create interactive 360 experiences that can be published across websites, ad networks and social media.
Before getting started with 360 Stories, we discussed how the platform could be useful to the students in the classroom environment, such as helping with coursework or adding another layer to their storytelling across social media channels such as Facebook.
"360 Stories also gives you access to Blend Media's fantastic library of 14,000 premium 360 videos"
Working in groups, it was great to see the children dive straight in and use their imaginations to create their first 360 interactive experiences. From here, two distinct creative themes appeared: science and travel.
In both cases, the students enthusiastically used the 360 Stories platform to link multiple 360 scenes together, adding detailed (clickable) text to each scene to engage users and immerse them in the 360 experience. 360 Stories also gives you access to Blend Media's fantastic library of 14,000 premium 360 videos, so the students had great fun taking advantage of that.
"The platform offers a new way to gamify education and washes away the sometimes monotonous nature of learning"
From a professional perspective, you could easily see how this platform could help students study and create new ways for homework to be completed. The tool also offers a new way to gamify education and adds a very exciting dynamic to the learning process.
Thank you to all the BBC team at Digital Cities for inviting me to be apart of such a great initiative. I will certainly look forward to being apart of the team next year. I would also like to thank our good friends Lorna and Glenn at Orchard for their help and assistance on the day.
Finally, I’d like to wish all the students I met during the day the best of luck for their futures. It was great working with you all. I know that having seen your passion and eagerness to learn, you will all go far!