Trainees turn tables on country’s tutors

STUDENTS TURN THE TABLES BY DEVELOPING CURRICULUM''A group of ?switched on? Forth Valley College students have stunned staff by developing software knowledge into a workshop to train lecturers across Scotland.'WHIZZ KIDS: (From left to right) Graeme McAllister, Simon Forrest, George Alexander and Kevin McPake show off their new game.
STUDENTS TURN THE TABLES BY DEVELOPING CURRICULUM''A group of ?switched on? Forth Valley College students have stunned staff by developing software knowledge into a workshop to train lecturers across Scotland.'WHIZZ KIDS: (From left to right) Graeme McAllister, Simon Forrest, George Alexander and Kevin McPake show off their new game.

Wily IT students taught their lecturers a thing or two about gaming by developing software that now trains tutors across the country.

In the middle of a project to produce a new computer game, the eight game enthusiasts from Forth Valley College became more knowledgable about new software than the people who were teaching them on their HND computing: software development course.

After merging teams on their project creating new ‘shoot em up’ game ‘Murder Mile’, they quickly became experts on Unity (a 3D game engine) and Blender (a 3D modelling package), so much so that their research is now Scotland’s Colleges endorsed online workshop resource for lecturers.

Vivien Gallacher, curriculum quality leader for computing at Forth Valley, believes the feat is unprecedented.

She said: “You could say the tables have turned a wee bit, but it just shows what talented students can do with a freer reign in their projects.

“To my knowledge this situation, where students are providing curriculum material for lecturing staff, has never happened before and Scotland’s Colleges has been very impressed by their efforts.

“They all certainly have a lot of potential, have worked very well as a team and we are all very proud of them.”

The team – Graeme McAllister (20), from Camelon, Simon Forrest (20), from Bonnybridge, Kevin McPake (29), from Grangemouth, David Sellick (25), from Stirling, Kevin Kalapurakal (20), from Linlithgow, George Alexander (19), from Bonnybridge, Euan Cameron (25), from Linlithgow and Allan Connelly (19), from Falkirk – are ‘buzzing’ over their achievement.

Kevin McPake said: “Seeing it all come together from the initial ideas and researching these relativley unknown software applications has been very rewarding.

“As well as that, to impress our lecturers and Scotland’s Colleges to the extent that we are teaching them what we have learned is a great achievement for us all.

“As well as creating a teaching resource that will help lecturers and students all across the country, we have created our own 3D computer game. What a real buzz that is.”

Colin Buchanan from Scotland’s Colleges believes the Forth Valley team had set a “precedent”.

“Forth Valley College is to be congratulated on this unique initiative,” he said.

“The fact that feedback from students and staff was extremely positive demonstrates that a precedent has been set that should be repeated and perhaps even become standard in the future.”