New Park and Northway Open Days!

We were recently invited to the openings of two new schools in Liverpool – Newpark Primary and Northway Primary both of which have had a 4D immersive space designed into the new builds. Lauren from our team went to have a look around the new schools and to speak with some of the teachers who have been using immersive approaches to learning in really creative ways.

 

New Park Primary School

After the wonderful assembly put on by New Park School to celebrate the opening, I was lucky enough to see the 4D room in action as there was a lesson taking place whilst I was there. Year 6 were continuing their learning from the day before about WW1, using the immersive space to brainstorm their ideas of how soldiers may have felt during the war whilst being surrounded by images of soldiers in the trenches and war time propaganda. Some great vocabulary was being verbalised and written down by all the class.  Some of the children shared their ideas with me…

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What’s great about lessons in a 4D space, where there are no tables and chairs, no boundaries to learning – collaborative work feels more accessible and pupils who may not ordinarily express their thoughts and ideas, start to uncover them and share with others more openly.  Teachers often tell us that there is a marked improvement in written work and recall of information back in the classroom after being fully immersed in a topic inside a 4D space.

I got talking to the teacher  Ian Willis, who said that he had already loved using the space for a number of activities and topics since its installation.  I discussed possible ways of extending the lessons by bringing objects and materials into the class; suggesting the use of material to project the ocean scenes onto while pupils lay beneath, giving the effect of being underwater.  Or that right then and there, he could even take the projections off and plunge the class into darkness to simply be immersed in the sounds of gun fire and bombs.

He loved the idea, so for the final 5 minutes of the lesson, this is what he did, asking Year 6 to just imagine how it might feel to be in the trenches and not being able to see in front of you. When the lights came back on the looks on these 9 and 10 year olds just showed how effective this was.  Lessons like this become memorable due to them involving all of the senses, immersing the class to create tangible feelings and empathic responses but within the safety of the school environment.

After the lesson I got chatting to a few of the other teachers:

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As you can see, New Park are really using their space to great effect by adding their own content and creating their own lessons based on children’s literature – ‘The Gruffalo’, the ‘Tiger Who Came to Tea’ and ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’.  The 4D software really comes into its own when you begin to add your own content so you can really customise your experiences and take ownership of your topics.

Year 2 teacher, Emma, told me about using ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ as a starting point for discussing a variety of topics:

  • Location – taking the pupils to all the locations of the children in the book who find a Golden Ticket.
  • When Charlie finds a coin on the ground, a discussion with her class with the question, ‘What would you do if you found the coin?’, ‘Would you keep it?’, ‘Would you give it away?’, ‘Would you spend it?’
  • This led onto the question of ‘What sweets would you buy in the sweet shop in the book?’ Asking the class to think about the amount things might cost, weigh and quantities of things.
  • And from that she discussed ‘Where does chocolate come from?’  – going right back to the source of the cocoa beans in Africa to teach the class about fair trade – which in turn changed the pupil’s answers to the original questions of money and choices!

Excellent learning journey!

 

Northway Primary School

On entering the school I was greeted by pupils throughout the corridor – ‘Welcome to Northway’, ‘Welcome to our new school’, ‘Thank you for coming!’ leading all the way to the school hall which was filled with parents, governors, former pupils, the Mayor, the building firm Morgan Sindall and many other people who had helped create the new school and the community around it.

A timelapse of the new build was shown at the front while we listened to the piano being played beautifully by a Year 6 pupil. Soon after the rest of Year 6 joined to sing a song about the school and the Head expressed his thanks for everyone who was there.   To everyone’s surprise, the whole school then ‘flash mobbed’ us with their rendition of ‘If I had a hammer!’

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Head teacher, Mr Anderson, spoke about how he felt that the community around Northway had been really supportive and summed it up with expressing that the whole process had been. ‘Flexible, Fun and Fantastic!’ also noting how they’d worked closely with New Park Primary to share and develop the ideas for each school, which having been to both was really evident.  It was a joy to see how a larger community was being formed by the two individual schools connecting together and sharing the process with not only school staff and parents – but the wider area too.

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A wooden plaque was presented by the youngest pupil, James, (4 and 8 months) and the oldest former pupil, Dorothy (82) and her family, to officially open the school.

We were then invited outside to watch the placement of a time capsule containing letters and items from the school to be opened in 2025!

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I was given a tour of the whole school by one of the Year 3 teachers, got to see their 4D space and chat to a few of the teachers…

Hannah from Year 3 told me all about how she’s used the room to set up a market: bringing in items, money, weighing scales and setting up tills to immerse the pupils in a bespoke maths lesson.

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Year 3 had also used 4D Cave to explore the stone age.  The whole class had got dressed up as stone age people, lined up outside the room before heading in to draw cave paintings using paper on the floor.

Year 1 had actually created full sized trees to add to the space to create a 3D forest within the  4D Forest theme and by the looks of things have also recently travelling to Africa for their new topic!

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Thank you to everyone from New Park and Northway Primary Schools for inviting us to their open days, we had a blast!

It’s been great to see New Park and Northway putting the tools of projection, light and sound to create really beautiful and creative lessons to engage their pupils in immersive learning journeys.  Through using their spaces frequently the learning experiences created go beyond the four walls of a normal classroom allowing the pupils to be transported back in time or to another place in the world creating memorable lessons for future reference.

 

Let’s celebrate YOUR space…

If you’d like your immersive space to be featured don’t forget you can use the hashtag #4Dexchange to share your own lesson ideas on our twitter or facebook and you can email Lauren at lauren@4Dimmersive.com to tell her all about your space!  We’d love to celebrate your immersive experiences with

4D Exchange – South East

At the end of September we travelled down to London to facilitate our first ever South East 4D exchange at East Croydon School.

We welcomed teachers from East Croydon, Thomas Day and Thomas Knyvett, thank you for all those who attended and to East Croydon for hosting.

Once everyone was refreshed with tea and biscuits the exchange got underway.

See our Prezi below for a roundup of all the ideas and some tips and tricks from us too!

If you’re interested in attending our next 4D exchange in Spring and/or if you would like to be a host for 4D exchange contact Lauren at lauren@4Dimmersive.com

Don’t forget, you can exchange ideas with the 4D network by using the hashtag #4dexchange – we will always retweet and celebrate your immersive approaches on our social media streams.

Join the 4D community

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Our Training and Research coordinator  Inés shares some more details on the 4D community and why we are working hard to create a network of immersive practitioners. If you’re working in an immersive space, we’d love for you to be involved. Full details are below or you can get in touch with the 4D team here.

Sharing immersive experiences

Immersive environments, by definition, are spaces that take people outside of their everyday experiences to immerse them in the creation of new worlds and perspectives. While this is what makes them so powerful, it also means that sometimes sharing or retelling an immersive experience outside of the space can be hard to do under the glare of the staffroom’s strip lighting.

As a team that all have direct experience of the education and healthcare sectors, we are aware of the many daily priorities, responsibilities and challenges that staff have to juggle. Time pressures, low resources, and limited time to get together as a team mean that sharing best practice can be difficult.

However, since we launched in 2009 we’ve seen and heard so many incredible examples of use – from using the tunnel theme to develop vowel sounds in KS3 French to integrating props with a Hansel & Gretel timeline to take young people on a journey of texture – that we knew we wanted to do something to encourage sharing of practice right across the network. This meant engaging people from our 4D champions to less confident users still exploring how to get the most out of their space.

Creative communities of practice

So, where to begin? During a masters degree, I wrote a postgrad university essay on ‘Interpreting arts participant groups as Communities of Practice’.

I had heard the phrase ‘Communities of Practice’ banded about, but to me it seemed bizarre to create a separate group and strategy for learning when learning was exactly what these arts participation sessions were about. If we are using creative means to enhance learning and collaboration for the participants, doesn’t this suggest that we could be using creativity for our own learning too?

Etienne Wenger, educational theorist and one of the most respected voices at the Communities of Practice (CoP) school, said that “learning can be the reason the community comes together or an incidental outcome of members’ interactions”. That is to say, a group may be performing as a CoP without necessarily being aware of it, whether they are catching up about a pupil’s response to a trip to the moon over lunch, or uploading a short video of their latest immersive session in the spooky forest to YouTube.

So, we were faced with a task – how can we help this informal learning across schools extend to a larger network, so more people can give and take inspiration from it, without it becoming a burden for our busy practitioners?

For us, the answer had to lie somewhere in the field of creativity. 

We already know the teachers we work with are highly creative, and if creativity can be used as a teaching tool that gives more ownership to pupils, then it can also be used as a way to strengthen and develop a sense of community and sharing across practitioners or, as our friend Wenger puts it, “[create] an environment in which the value communities bring is acknowledged”

We knew this sharing needed to be fun, lightweight and inspiring. Crucially, we also knew it had to be led not by us but by the expertise of the practitioners on the ground.

4D exchange

From this need we developed a series of regional inter-school creative network sessions called 4D exchange. 4D exchange is a regular event where teachers working in 4D immersive spaces can exchange ideas, best practice and resources with each other, in an immersive environment.

Presenters each have 5 minutes to share an overview of an idea, lesson or resource they have found particularly effective in their space. How they present this is up to them – some may take us on a mini immersive journey through their created timeline, others may bring along the props they used, whilst others will share samples of the resulting works that pupils created. We ask for very little in advance – just a brief sentence around your topic and any content you’d like us to upload, so that impact on capacity is minimum. The sessions last 90 minutes, with a break included, but you could easily replicate something on a smaller scale during your weekly staff meetings.

After the presentation there is plenty of room for discussion and hands-on experimenting in the space, followed by a chance to see new content in development, and hear some short tips and tricks from the 4D creative team. The sessions also allow us to gather feedback from our spaces to see how we can support them in the future. And, of course, biscuits are provided! We’ve found these sessions to be fun and informative and, crucially, the practitioners who attended have left inspired and full of ideas!

“Just wanted to say a big thank you for the meet up, really great to meet and hear from others who are using the spaces in unique ways, hugely beneficial.” – 4D exchange Salford participant

So what’s next?

As our community develops, we’re learning more and more about what you need to help you develop as a 4D practitioner. From cloud-based content sharing to teacher exchanges, we’re always keen to develop new resources and approaches to help the creative exchange of ideas. 

Get in touch!

How do you share best practice about immersive learning across your school? Do you have any feedback or good news stories you’d like to share with us? Or would you be interested in setting up your own 4D exchange hub?   

If so, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch at ines@4dcreative.co.uk or 0844 414 2595. Welcome to the 4D community!

Our next 4D exchange is taking place on the 25th March at Kensington Community Primary School in Liverpool. 

If you’d like to attend then register here http://www.4dcreative.co.uk/4D-exchange/ 

References

Wenger, Etienne. Communities of Practice. Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Print

—. “Communities of Practice. Learning as a Social System.” The Systems Thinker. June/July 1998. Web.

Soria-Donlan, Inés. Interpreting participant groups as Communities of Practice: Changing the way we look at arts participation. 2012. Web.

Education Innovation 2015

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4D Group will be exhibiting at the Education Innovation event at Manchester Central this February. This year’s event is focusing on how technology can improve attainment across the curriculum, computer coding, SEN and FE – all areas where our immersive spaces are impacting in schools across the UK.

Our pop up immersive space will be on stand B11 which is opposite the Microsoft stand if you need a hand finding us! You can experience our portable, flexible, inflatable full of light, sound and projection all powered from an iPad. We will also be there to discuss our full immersive spaces and wide range of training options so do come and meet the 4D team.

Aside from the exhibition there is also an impressive list of seminars and speakers during the two day event including Vic Godarrd, David Mitchell and Tim Rylands. Explore the full listing here.

If you’re looking for inspiration and innovation then you need to join us at this year’s event. To find out more and to book your free tickets click here. And if you are coming and would like to book a time with a member of the 4D team please get in touch via our contact page.

Immersive workshops at Middlethorpe Primary

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As 4D Group’s Training & Research Coordinator, getting to visit our immersive spaces and be part of their development is one of the best bits of the job. In January, Middlethorpe Primary School (who bought a 4D Pop Up immersive space in December 2013) approached us with a particularly exciting challenge.

Feeling confident in using the space for provocation days and ‘scene setting’, they wanted some additional support around how they could go beyond their current use of the space by experimenting with new activities within the pop up and developing immersive approaches to classroom-based learning. Finally, the session was to be part of their Erasmus exchange week, where they had teachers from across Europe visiting their school to look at ICT in education.

What did we do?

The day’s workshop followed our Explore, Create, Consult model, which we’ve used with spaces across the country to increase staff confidence and deepen learning through creative investigation. The model allows participants to explore and experience new creative approaches, apply this learning by experimenting in the creation of new ideas, and consolidate learning through consultation between participants and/or pupils.

To welcome the Erasmus cohort to the UK, and with English language levels varied, we started with a hands on activity that sits at the heart of what we do – den making! After creating a 5-minute den using an old army parachute, participants entered the pop up and told us something about themselves through transforming a paper bag with anything but writing – a fantastic ice breaker for staff, and a great creative way to assess pupil’s mood at the start of a session.

Seeing their bags hung around the pop up, the teachers embraced the idea of how low-tech approaches can add meaning and detail within the immersive space.

With confidence growing, participants split into 5 groups and explored five very different immersive tools for the classroom, developed by Cathy Cross and her wonderful store cupboard of den making kit! From old picture frames, to glowing boxes, gauze tents to illuminous trees, we looked at how these micro-environments could create a sense of focus within a classroom, and open up new ways of deepening understanding of a topic.

After a very generous lunch of seaside fresh Fish & Chips, we then experimented with applying some of these ideas to real life scenarios, and tested some of these out within the safety of the group.

What did we find?

As is most often the case with these sessions, we found that it was the teachers who came up with the most incredible concepts through applying their own expertise to the tools we had provided, and it was great to hear new ideas around how immersive environments in and out of the pop up could enhance learning across all subject areas – from the Sciences to PSHE.

For those Erasmus visitors who were new to the concept of immersive learning, the workshop was an eye-opening experience that left them teeming with ideas:

“Thank you very much for the workshop. It has been very helpful and I’ve learned many things. I surely do want to implement immersive space in my class. I will let you know and share my experiences with you.” – Abdullah Kur, Teacher from Nenehatun Ilkokulu School, Turkey

For Middlethorpe staff too, the workshop left them inspired:

“What a fantastic time we all had. Well done. Great workshop.” – Anna Rytting, Teacher at Middlethorpe Primary School

We are now working with Middlethorpe Primary to help implement these approaches into their longer-term use of their 4D pop up, looking at the principles of immersive learning and how these can be embedded into their wider schemes of work.

If you would like some additional support around how to make the most of your 4D immersive space, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch ines@4dcreative.co.uk or 0161 686 5760 and we’ll be happy to help!

4D at Bett 2015 – in pictures

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Last week 4D attended the largest ed-tech show in the world and it was a exhilarating, eye opening and successful time.  Over the course of four days, we met hundreds of people from over 20 different countries. It was a fantastic time to share the immersive spaces we create and more importantly, the impact these spaces have on people across the UK.

Lots of people told us that Bett would be an eye opening time and they were spot on. From meeting teachers from all over the world to learning about fellow exhibitors with new ideas we’ve had a really fantastic start to 2015. Particular highlights included Colette speaking on the Bett Futures stage to share about our work, meeting people from all over the world including the French ministry of Education and being able to create an exhibition stand out of cardboard that wowed everyone there!

Below is a selection of photos of the event including our incredible cardboard immersive space and the inspiring Bett Futures zone we called home for a few days alongside 29 other ed-tech start ups.

To find out more, arrange a visit to an immersive space or if you’d like a 4D tote bag sent to you, just get in touch with the team.

 

Immersive open days – January/February 2015

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Make immersive experiences part of your plans for 2015 by registering for an immersive open afternoon.

Our open days are an opportunity to ask questions, gain an understanding and look at how immersive learning could work across your whole school to inspire creativity and improve engagement.

Our open days are lined up on the following dates:

January
20th – 24th Bett Show, London

February
4th – Gisburn Road Primary, Barnoldswick
11th – Woodcroft Primary School, London
12th – Someries Primary, Luton
23rd – 4D creative offices, Salford
25th – Broomfield South, Leeds

To register, please visit our Eventbrite page at http://4dcreative.eventbrite.co.uk or if you need further information, just call on 0844 414 2595

This is a chance to talk, learn and share ideas.

Here’s the agenda for the open afternoons: 

Introduction to 4D Creative

* Who are we and what do we do
* Immersive installations – both permanent and mobile
* 4D Create – our immersive software and content library

How will immersive learning make a difference

* Whole school approach
* Case study evidence
* Lesson ideas and the use of immersive with the wider school community

Q & A and an opportunity to use the system in our demonstration space

Hot drinks, biscuits and discussions will be plentiful!

Who’s this event for? Anyone interested in immersive learning or creating an immersive space in their school. Those with a role in developing the curriculum and senior leaders will gain most from the sessions

For more information please email: pete@4dcreative.co.uk or call on 0161 686 5760

 

Everything you need to know about 4D at Bett 2015

BETT_024D creative are proud to be exhibiting at our first ever Bett show next week.

With over 5 years experience and more than 70 immersive spaces across the UK, we have lots to show and share with the worlds leading education exhibition. We’re also delighted to be nominated in the Bett awards with the winners announced next week too.

Find us at Stand BFG8 and explore our fantastic pop up immersive space where you can hear about our range of new products and features to enable inspiration and creativity. Keep your eye on our Twitter account (@4dcreative) for all our news at it happens during the event.

What’s new?

  • New and engaging interactivity – control a whole immersive space with gestures and objects
  • Enhance the delivery of the computing curriculum by encouraging pupils to use coding language to programme the whole immersive space
  • Mobile and modular immersive solutions to transform the corner of a classroom or a whole school hall
  • A stand alone piece of software to create your own immersive spaces and integrate with your own technology
  • Cheaper, quicker installs from £13,500 (+ VAT)

Bett Futures Zone

4D creative were selected to join 29 of the most exciting, innovative ed tech companies in the Bett Futures Zone. We will be presenting on the Bett Futures stage on Friday between 12.50pm and 1.50pm so do come and hear all about our work so far.

This area has it’s own stage with a fantastic line up of speakers and seminars. Explore Bett Futures here.

If you’re coming to Bett and would like to arrange a meeting in advance, just in touch with Pete in our office on pete@4dcreative.co.uk

 

11 tips for making the most of BETT 2015

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With BETT only a week away, Oli from our team presents eleven handy tips for making the most of your BETT experience. These tips will help you find new, exciting products, hear engaging inspirational seminars all without getting the exhausted, exhibition blues.

Of course you’ll want to add the 4D creative stand in the BETT Futures zone to your plans! We have lots to show you including new levels of interactivity, updated software and portable immersive solutions. Stand BFG8 is where you’ll need to be!

Over to Oli for his tips…

Preparing for BETT

I’ve been going to BETT for the last 5 years – it’s always an enlightening and exhausting experience. If it’s your first time at BETT this year, prepare to be blown away! It’s absolutely huge and there is a massive array of stuff to see and do.

1. Pre-Register Online

If you pre-register on the website you can skip the long registration queues and the hassle of filling out all your details on the day. Simply fill out your details online, print the barcode, and take it with you. Find out more here.

2. Collaborate with Colleagues

Arrange to meet with your colleagues to determine the resources they need for the following year, even if you’re all going to BETT. They might spot something you miss and you might be able to bring back valuable information for others members of your team. Many hands make light work!

3. Draw up a Hit List

BETT is so staggeringly massive that you could easily miss out on something if you don’t plan ahead. The full list of exhibitors is available online so have a search create a list of the exhibitors you want to visit. Don’t forget to write down the stand number!

Of course the most important stand number you’ll need is 4D creative at BFG8. The full list can be found here.

4. Get the BETT App

On arrival, you’ll receive the show guide with lots of exhibitions however I prefer the BETT phone app for a number of reasons. Firstly it’s easier to carry as it’s on your phone at all times. Secondly the interactive map is fully searchable making it a lot easier to use during your time at BETT.

It’s available for Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, and Android from this link.

5. Figure Out How to Get There

It might sound obvious but planning out how you are going to get to the venue can save you a lot of hassle on the day. Transport for London have some excellent online tools and there are brilliant public transport apps for all mobile devices. It is especially important to check your route if you are going at the weekend as there is often planned maintenance work on the tube.

6. Take Advantage of Lectures and Seminars

BETT runs a fantastic programme of lectures and seminars each year where you can learn best practice and new skills from leaders in their field for free. The full schedule is available online so plan which sessions you want to go to in advance and put the start times into your phone so you don’t miss them.

Seats are allocated on a first-come first-served basis so make sure to get there early to avoid disappointment!

7. Be prepared to spend more than one day

Even with careful planning it can be difficult to get the most out of BETT in a single day. There is so much to see and do that it’s generally best to spread it over a couple of days if you can.

If you’re travelling to London especially for BETT have a look online for a cheap hotel room. You can get a very basic room in central London for around £40 and being well-rested will seriously enhance your BETT experience.

8. Food and Drink

There are plenty of food and drink options inside the ExCel but be aware that they can get quite busy at peak times and that they are not the cheapest places to eat!

If you have any special dietary requirements or if you simply hate queues it may be better to bring a packed lunch. There is also a Nisa Supermarket a few minutes away from the venue and a range of bars and restaurants within walking distance of the venue that may be a bit less hectic.

Of course a lot of the stands will also have a huge supply of complimentary sweets to tempt you in but some real food might also help!

9. Clothing

You’ll be walking around a lot so make sure to wear comfortable shoes. It’s also a really good idea to bring a backpack to store all the leaflets and freebies you’ll get as well as a bottle of water so you can stay hydrated. There is a cloakroom you can use in the ExCel centre for a small fee so don’t worry about having to carry a heavy coat around all day.

10. Don’t be Afraid to Ask

When you find something that interests you don’t be afraid to ask the supplier for a demo or for more information. Some suppliers will come out and demo their products for you and the rest of your team which can be an excellent way of securing a buying decision.

If you already have authorisation to buy you can often get a discount simply by negotiating with suppliers at the event, especially if there are several vendors selling a similar product.

Exhibitors are there to explain how a product will work best for you and your school, so use their knowledge and ask the questions you need to.

Many exhibitors can scan the barcode printed on your conference pass to automatically get your contact details. This is much easier than manually writing details down so don’t be put off if they ask to “scan your badge” then wave a little laser-thingy at you!

11. Debrief your Team

When you get back from BETT prepare a presentation covering the key things you learnt for your team. This is especially effective if you can discuss your colleagues requirements before you attend BETT as you can incorporate things they may find useful into your debrief.

What tips would you suggest to people attending BETT for the first time? Comment below!

National Storytelling Week – January 31 to February 7 2015

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Celebrate national storytelling week with an immersive, interactive, storytelling workshop.

National Storytelling Week was created in the year 2000 to increase public awareness of the art, practice and value of oral storytelling. Since then, it has been held during the first week of February every year.

Book a digital storytelling session in the 4D Pop Up

Our creative practitioners will lead an interactive storytelling session that will feature large scale projection, LED lighting and surround sound to immerse your pupils. This will be an exciting, engaging experience that will impact on your pupils communication and language skills.

The 4D Pop Up immersive space sets up in 15 minutes and can seat a class of primary pupils. It becomes a space within a space and will transport your young people to new places, times and atmospheres. Learn more about the 4D Pop Up here.

The possibilities:

  • Fire of London
  • Titanic
  • Stories around the African waterhole
  • Noah
  • Gawain and The Green Knight
  • Or let us know what you story you want to hear…

Each workshop can be structured to meet your requirements and objectives.

If you’d like to arrange an immersive storytelling in your school, get in touch with the 4D team on 0844 414 2595 or email hello@4dcreative.co.uk.

Prices start from £550 + VAT for a half day and includes a practitioner and everything needed to create an immersive environment.