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Mersive Solstice enables advanced learning at LSTM lab

Picture: Pentagon Designs

The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) has implemented Mersive Solstice in an advanced learning and teaching laboratory that enables a fully collaborative teaching style. Conceived, designed and implemented by Roche AV, the new LSTM Weston Active Learning Lab brings to reality the school’s vision of enabling students to learn from each other under the guidance of a tutor rather than being taught.

Established in 1898, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine was the first institution in the world dedicated to research and teaching in the field of tropical medicine. Its work requires state-of-the-art facilities, and the Weston Active Learning Lab was developed in response to LSTM’s ongoing strategy to become a hub for experts and professionals in the field.

This required a move away from a traditional classroom setup and toward a modern constructivism-based approach, which is informed by students’ experiential knowledge base and other factors and heavily emphasises the co-creation, or ‘construction’, of knowledge by students with their instructor acting more as a guide or tutor. Deliberate design to facilitate collaboration and group learning were key to the success of the room.

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Enabling students to share content from their own devices to the displays in the room, where it would be shared with the class, was the key technical challenge. Roche AV ruled out wire-based solutions from the start as wireless sharing was a hard requirement given the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment supported at the school.

To handle the more than 150 inputs, Roche opted for an AV-over-IP system. This allows fast switching between the sources as well as the highest possible performance delivery of high-definition images and videos, especially vital to students studying detailed documents and to the overall flow of lectures. From the touch panel located on the lectern, the teacher can choose from a range of instructional options.

Roche AV chose Mersive Solstice for the lab. Craig Pickard, director of projects and innovations at Roche AV, explained: “Solstice is streets apart. In terms of ease of use it is a cut above any other solution that I’m aware of. Whether the user’s device is Windows, Android or iOS, they can hook up to the screen in moments, regardless of their level of technical proficiency. With this kind of technology, the system should do the work, not the user – and that’s totally the case with Solstice. Mersive sells itself – and the capabilities of the system are continually growing. You’re never more than a stone’s throw away from a new feature or capability.

“We believe this space to be a benchmark of what can be achieved using AV-over-IP technology to enhance the collaborative learning experience. The room completely encapsulates the term ‘active learning lab’. With each feature designed to encourage users to work together, students can now effectively collaborate and learn from each other.”

One of the goals of the project was to contribute to LSTM’s strategic aim of being the ‘go-to’ institution for training of global health professionals and leaders. The solution implemented has already had a positive impact on this, as the room has been used by health organisations from around the world.