Advertising and Digital Marketing students got a glimpse of their professional futures this week when they got to work with a robot, a brain scanner, and a 3D virtual reality paint brush.
The group of second years got to try out all this hi-tech kit as part of a competition prize won by one of their lecturers.
Back in November, Senior Lecturer in Marketing Kardi Somerfield was named in the top 10 higher education social media superstars by JISC, an organisation that provides digital services to UK education.
As a reward, Kardi won the visit from their Digi Lab team.
“I was delighted to make the top ten, particularly because my students could benefit from this prize. It’s been great to have JISC and Digi Lab here, along with all this cool tech to experience.”
Over the course of a morning, the students had a chance to programme the robot for themselves – and for marketing students that meant imagining it working in places like a restaurant, hotel, or shopping mall.
Kardi said: “It was helpful to see some of the technology first hand, and with the robot it was far easier to imagine it in a service or marketing environment when you could see first-hand how people interacted with it.”
The 30 strong group also got to try out the brain scanner – a wireless EEG headset that records brainwaves and overlays the pattern of electrical activity onto an image of a brain.
“It detects responses such as interest, focus, and stress, so it’s perfect for testing how effective an advertising campaign might perform, or what consumers really feel about a product,” said Kardi.
Verity Nalley, from JISC Digi Lab team said: “The marketing students came up with a load of amazing ideas for how it could be used in promotional campaigns.”
Digital Marketing Student Karima Iredale had the idea of creating an app that would connect with wearable tech like the Apple Watch or the Fitbit that would give the user information on how focused or stressed they were.
“So it wasn’t just about the body activity but the brain fitness as well,” she said.
Her classmate Raluca Sandu agreed it was a great experience.
“It is much easier for us to now consider it as an option when we are in the position to develop a campaign or talk about viral marketing for a real job.”
The final bit of kit in the prize was a Google Tilt brush – which is conjunction with a VR headset, allows users to ‘paint’ both large and in 3D.
Summing up the benefit of the day, Kardi said the most important thing was to create an environment where students can share.
“We can train them in one particular technique today, but in a years’ time, or two years’ time, it will be something else – so it’s more important to build the capacity to embrace the new technology and keep learning, and acquiring, and deciding which things work for you.
“I think that’s where things like today can help as it might just be that sometimes you need to have things put in front of you to give you that opportunity to explore.”