The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project is delighted to announce a partnership with Stagecoach that will see the national company sponsor Virtual Reality (VR) headsets as part of a schools engagement initiative reaching rural areas across the Highlands and Islands.
The VR headsets, along with the immersive portal, has fast become one of the highlights at major events around Scotland having showcased at the Royal Highland Show, Inverness Highland Games and the Black Isle Show.
The ‘On the road’ tour, will see Stagecoach bringing the VR headsets to schools in Wester Ross, Ross-shire, Argyll and the Isles, Caithness, Badenoch and Strathspey throughout the Autumn this year.
Many school pupils will be used to ‘gaming’ with their own VR headsets. However, utilising immersive 360-degree filming technology, the project will allow pupils to be taken on a journey across land, sea and air to actual places across the Highlands and Islands, a million miles away from the imaginary worlds of Minecraft, Half-Life and Beat Saber they may be used to.
David Beaton, Managing Director for Stagecoach Highlands said “This is a fantastic project for us to be involved in. Being able to bring this technology to rural schools who might not otherwise have the opportunity to ever use them in an educational environment, is great.”
Cllr Ian Brown, Leader of Inverness City and Area and co-chair of the Inverness Castle Delivery Group said “The VR headsets provide pupils the opportunity to be transported to different locations throughout the Highlands and Islands, some of whom might never have seen before. It offers the chance for pupils to strengthen their understanding of the vastness of our beautiful landscapes and understand why this project is so important to tourism in their areas”
Chair of Highland Council’s Education Committee, Cllr John Finlayson, said: “It is great to see Highland pupils in rural areas getting the opportunity to use VR headsets and especially now when they have received positive press and a high profile nationally.
“The geography of the Highlands and the profile of our many rural educational settings means that inclusive initiatives like this are really appreciated.”
The next stop for the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands immersive portal will be in the Collegaite Church, Tain from 22-24 September during the St Duthac Book and Arts Festival.
Reflecting the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands theme, it will encourage people to visit all parts of the Highlands and Islands in a new, innovative and sustainable way.
The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project is part of the Inverness Castle project which is supported by the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal, a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.