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Student trying out VRStudents trying out virtual reality headsets.

Around sixty students took part in an event that aimed to show how technology has dramatically changed toys.

The occasion saw youngsters from Hardwick and Woolpit primary schools aged between five and seven visit West Suffolk College’s University and Professional Development Centre based on Western Way.

Small groups got to look around a new extended reality (XR) lab, and one of the sessions enabled the learners to see themselves inside the game Fortnite, thanks to the magic of a green screen.

Current students who are all studying on degrees with University Studies at West Suffolk College oversaw the sessions as part of a Skills Escalator Day.

The aim of these events is to give primary school students an introduction to a range of different jobs and industries at an early age.

The Skills Escalator Lead at West Suffolk College is Victoria Fiebelkorn. Victoria said: “We invited some of the youngest primary school children from across the region to experience our XR lab and new technologies. Our own students then ran sessions and the children absolutely loved it.

“We live in a world where digital technology will play an increasing part in our world. So, we need to build innovative technologies into their lives now, as they are going to need to know about it in the future.

On the success of the event Victoria added: “One of the teachers came to me and pointed out an excited pupil and said that he would usually stand back and watch the other children, but not participate himself – but because we had smaller groups and he felt relaxed in the environment with the friendly and enthusiastic young students – he really engaged with the day. She was pleased to see him so comfortable, and I’m delighted to hear feedback like that. We hope to upscale this and have a bigger version with a focus on technology involving even more youngsters next year.”

Hardwick students with LegoHardwick Primary School students with LEGO to show the contrast between the old and the new

Laura White is a teacher from Woolpit Primary School. Laura said: “We are looking at technology and toys at the moment. It’s been interesting to see how much has changed. Being able to see the differences between the old and the new has been amazing.”

Peggy, 6, from Hardwick Primary School said: “It was fun and exciting.”

Peggy’s teacher Natalie King said: “It’s been really useful for the children to have this experience and they were very intrigued by it. The event is something so different. I think we might have some College students of the future thanks to this event.”

Student trying out VRStudents from Woolpit Primary School giving a big thumbs up.

Jake Mills, 22, from Redgrave is studying on a degree in interactive and immersive technology at University Studies at West Suffolk College. Jake said: “The children seemed excited and interested and they were amazed they could green screen themselves into Fortnite. I got involved as I believe it is always good to share your passion with others and try and inspire them.”

Student Peter Fear is on a Video Games Design degree at University Studies at West Suffolk College. Peter said: “I went to Cambridge University when I was younger and experienced something like this - and now I’m demonstrating new technology to others myself.”

Danilo Francisco is studying in an interactive and immersive technology degree at University Studies at West Suffolk College. Danilo said: “It was great to be involved.”

David Gee is the Digital Technology course leader for University Studies at West Suffolk College. David said: “This event gave the children a chance to experience virtual reality, motion capture, coding and games technology, with a range of activities run by our degree students. It gave them an insight not just into the latest technology, but how it may look in the future.”

3 Hardwick student tries out VR

6 student enjoys delight of green screen

7 Peter Fear and Jake Mills students who were involved in a green screen

8 Woolpit student in top gear