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 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

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.

Immersive experiences in healthcare – open event


This April come and explore the 4D immersive space at Lime Hub in Liverpool. The recently renovated centre is a health and well-being hub for up to 150 people with learning and physical disabilities.

The immersive environment is used for therapy sessions for people with additional needs as well as the wider community including those living with dementia. The flexibility of the space ensures each immersive experience can be tailor made for each individual to provide a truly person centred approach.

Our open afternoon is a chance to see the immersive space, the wider hub and also meet the 4D creative team to hear how we create immersive experiences for all ages and abilities.

Date: 23rd April 2015
Times: 1.30pm – 3pm or 3.30pm – 5pm (two open drop in slots to choose from)
Location: The Lime, Upper Baker Street, Liverpool, L6 1NB

Learn more about Lime Hub at this Guardian link and then register to attend below.

Dementia Champions in your school.


At 4D we are always looking for new ways to support and understand the wider communities that we work with. Although our main focus has been within education for many years, in the last 18 months we’ve been working closely with Mersey Care NHS Trust creating immersive spaces for people living with dementia. The spaces are being used to encourage communication, inspire memories and create a sense of well being through person centred immersive experiences.

So, with that in mind 4D Group are developing ways of bringing the two worlds of education and healthcare together as part of an intergenerational project.

‘Educating children and young people about dementia is an essential aspect of creating dementia-friendly communities. Children and young people will increasingly come into contact with dementia through friends, family, neighbours or the media as the population ages and many may take on caring responsibilities at some stage in their lives.’ The Alzheimer’s Society

After the whole 4D team were trained to be Dementia Friends at the end of 2014, our training coordinator Inés and content developer Lauren went one step further to become Dementia Champions. The aim being for both to be able to spread the word even further to our schools and help develop dementia friendly communities.

If you’d like us to come to your school to run an immersive dementia friends event, please get in touch. The events are free and will give your pupils information on people living with dementia as approved by The Alzheimer’s Society. Just get in touch here and we can make a plan.

Explore some images of our immersive spaces and then read on for Lauren’s account of her day’s training to become a Dementia Champion:


The day was split into two sections – the first, a general introduction to Dementia Friends with a Dementia Friends Information Session given by Becky, the course leader. The second part of the day was focussed on presentation skills, planning and what it means to be a Dementia Champion.

When we arrived we were within a group of about 30 people, people from all different walks of life and different reasons for attending the session. It was really interesting to hear why people wanted to become Dementia Champions. The group ranged from a neuroscientist who has studied dementia for years to an African support worker who wanted to dispel myths within the African community that dementia doesn’t even exist and also included nurses working closely with people living with dementia, as well as individuals who have been affected by dementia on a personal level.

The day started with looking at typical Dementia Friends Session – this is what we were being trained to present and what we could bring to your school. The whole aim of the session is to understand the five key messages:

  • Dementia is not a natural part of ageing
  • It is caused by diseases of the brain
  • It’s not just about memory loss
  • It’s possible to live well with dementia
  • There is more the person than the dementia

Throughout the sessions, which last only about an hour, you participate, are asked questions and most of all, you have fun!   Overall though, you come out with a much better understanding of people who are living with dementia and people who are caring for those people.

The next session looked at the Dementia Friends Workshop in more detail and allowed us to ask questions. We were pleased to find that The Alzheimer’s Society have created resources especially for young people and a variety of different exercises to help make the concepts easier to grasp.  Becky also confirmed that the sessions have worked really well in schools with pupils really gaining knowledge, understanding and readily becoming Dementia Friends.

The second half of the day looked at presentation skills and how to arrange your own sessions. It’s all well and good knowing the workshop but if you can’t inspire and engage people, the information is not going to be shared.  Lots of practice and feedback later, I’m very pleased to confirm we passed and are now officially Dementia Champions ready and able to deliver this wonderful information to the public, businesses, your school staff or your pupils!

If you’re interested in finding out more about Dementia Friends or our Intergenerational project for schools or if you’d like to have a Dementia Friends Information Session in your school delivered by Inés or Lauren please get in touch.

Dementia Festival of Ideas 2015


Last week our team visited Belfast to share our immersive approaches to dementia care at the Dementia Festival Of Ideas. We took part in an Ideas Lab which aimed to highlight and join together forward thinking companies who are generating new approaches for people living with dementia.

It was great to see the expanse of work being carried out with people living with dementia by artists and creative practitioners from across the world, and to understand how practices adapted to whether those people were within a care or community setting. We particularly loved the idea of creating semi-public gallery spaces within care homes to help develop dementia friendly communities, a project by Florence-based Architect Virginia Serrani. What was most inspiring was people’s commitment to developing creative experiences that were made with people living with dementia, rather than presented to them, a testament to the ways in which creative practice can empower people to regain ownership of their life.

At 4D we have been working with MerseyCare NHS trust to create person centred immersive spaces to improve communication and inspire memories.  To find out more, explore this presentation below which we shared with the panel of experts at the Festival Of Ideas.  If you’d like to visit an immersive space, please just get in touch with the 4D team who will be happy to help.

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 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.


BETT Futures – 30 innovative, creative companies to discover

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2015 will start with a bang as 4D attend our first BETT exhibition. We were delighted to be nominated for a BETT award and we were also selected to join the BETT Futures programme.

This specially commissioned part of the show has been designed to celebrate the best new education technology companies and all involved have been running for under five years. As none of these companies have exhibited at BETT before,you are guaranteed to find some new and exciting ideas.

There will also be a series of exciting speakers sharing their thoughts on the future of education technology and how to get the most from new and engaging ideas. Explore the programme here.

Click below to learn more about 4D creative and our interactive, immersive learning spaces. For more information on the BETT Futures zone and to watch 1 minute videos from each company, follow this link.


Showcasing portable immersive experiences in dementia care

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Each year Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust invites staff members to pitch new ideas in a Dragons Den style event and this year 4D were invited to showcase our immersive approaches to dementia care.

4D were invited by occupational therapist Hayley Wilkinson to join her pitch to the Dragons made up of the Trust’s Chair Alan Maden, Chief Executive Bev Humphrey, Directory of Operations and Nursing Gill Green, Director of Development and Performance Neil Thwaite and Deputy Director of Service and Business Development, Mary Lee.

Hayley is looking to use the 4D tech hub in her work with people living with dementia to inspire conversation and create calming, relaxing environments.  Her aim is to use our mobile tech hub around the ward she works on and the flexibility of the kit means it can be used in a huge number of ways with a variety of people.

The Dragons Den pitch gave us five minutes to present on how immersive experiences could impact positively across the Trust. Hayley explained passionately how it would hugely benefit her work and team 4D used the kit to turn the Dragons Den into an immersive space during the pitch. The presentation was received well with the Dragons asking Hayley and the 4D team lots of questions ranging from day to day use to training to costings.

For 4D, it’s fantastic that more and more practitioners are seeing the huge potential in creating immersive experiences for people living with dementia. We’ve already seen great results through our trial project with Mersey Care NHS trust and we’re confident that more spaces will be in use soon, hopefully including our mobile kit at Greater Manchester West Mental Health Trust.

Watch this short video to see the impact of our portable immersive kit:

If you’d like to find out more about our work with people living with dementia, get in touch with the 4D creative team.