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Borders pupils to become pioneers of the global tourism metaverse with The Great Tapestry of Scotland and Inspire Learning

The Great Tapestry of Scotland and the award-winning Inspire Learning team at Scottish Borders Council are set to put young people, local stories and technology at the heart of a pioneering new education project, which could transform the future of national and global tourism through the metaverse.

For the first time in the Scottish Borders the trailblazing collaborative pilot project, which was officially launched today (Tuesday 10 May 2022), will see a senior Inspire Learning teacher seconded directly to a visitor attraction. Working closely with the team at the new five-star Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre (operated by Live Borders) in Galashiels and linking with all nurseries and schools across the Scottish Borders, Michelle Sterricks (a Principal Teacher at Jedburgh Grammar Campus) will lead the design and delivery of exclusive and innovative multi-disciplinary educational resources, lesson plans and activities for children and young people (aged 3 to 18).

With support from Traveltech for Scotland (, ASVA (The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions) and the Scottish Tourism Leadership Programme, the initiative will also give local young people the opportunity to work with leading traveltech company New Frontier, as they take the Tapestry’s visitor experience to another level through the use of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) and a new metaverse playbook.

Scottish Borders Council, through their accreditation will upload the resulting Great Tapestry of Scotland App to 15,000 iPads for pupils and staff as part of their commitment to ensuring technology at the heart of learning. Jedburgh Grammar Campus will be the first to pilot the project before it is rolled out to all other schools in the area.

At the launch of the new partnership, Sandy Maxwell-Forbes Centre Director for The Great Tapestry of Scotland at Live Borders said: “The Great Tapestry of Scotland is where the people’s story of Scotland begins – among its 160 panels are stories of great pioneers from the past and present, whose discoveries and innovations transformed all our lives, in many different ways. Through our new innovative education partnership, and potentially groundbreaking traveltech project, we want to harness that spirit and support young people in realising their full potential to become the pioneers of the future.”

Ewan Jackson, CEO of Live Borders added: “We’re delighted to be working with Inspire Learning and to welcome Michelle Sterricks to our team at The Great Tapestry of Scotland. We are very excited to see what Michelle can develop with her evident passion for inspiring learning through the Tapestry, her expert knowledge of the national education curriculum and partnership working with New Fronter and Traveltech for Scotland.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses and organisations like ours to explore how we can further support education and attainment and give children and young people the best start in life.”

Welcoming the partnership, Lesley Munro, the Director of Education and Lifelong Learning at Scottish Borders Council said: “We are committed to delivering transformational learning experiences that supports young people across the Scottish Borders, so we are absolutely thrilled to be collaborating with The Great Tapestry of Scotland on the cocreation of this pioneering pilot project.

“We hope that this will become the first of many similar partnerships with Borders visitor attractions and inspiring traveltech companies like New Frontier, where we can help to map experiences to the Curriculum for Excellence, raise attainment, inspire future leaders and innovators in tourism and support our local economy for the long-term.

“Borders pupils are ideally placed to lead a trailblazing project of this nature, as they have already been at the forefront of some technological developments. Being part of such a project truly exemplifies our commitment to put technology at the heart of learning, and as an official Apple learning provider, we look forward to rolling the new Tapestry App out across 15,000 iPads for pupils.”

Speaking of her appointment Michelle Sterricks, who is also the Principal Teacher of Social, Business and RME Studies at Jedburgh Grammar Campus, said: “When I first visited The Great Tapestry of Scotland centre in Galashiels, I was incredibly excited to see it was filled with huge multi-disciplinary educational opportunities – from history, English and storytelling to music, science, art, design, sport – the list is endless. It’s a fantastic new asset for us to have in the Borders, as it offers many opportunities for children and schools to come back time and time again to learn something new. I am really looking forward to supporting the development of creative and digital skills by working with young people and other teachers throughout the Borders to share the Tapestry’s many magical stories and champion innovation through technology.”

Explaining the significance of their work with The Great Tapestry of Scotland, Graeme Stevens, Founder of New Frontier, creators of the world’s first fully interactive metaverse project guide and toolkit for tourism said: “It is fantastic to be working with Sandy Maxwell-Forbes at The Great Tapestry of Scotland and the team at Inspire Learning. Through embracing this new technology, they could place Scotland, and more specifically pupils and students in the Scottish Borders, as global pioneers in utilising non-fungible tokens and the metaverse to take the visitor experience and community-led storytelling to another level.”

“Our collaboration will not only help to bring the Tapestry’s rich diversity of local stories to life through a new dimension of interactive learning, but it will also be fundamental to developing a transformational digital playbook and toolkit for all of Scotland’s tourism industry to make the most of this emerging technology.”

The collaboration between The Great Tapestry of Scotland and New Frontier is part of a wider Tech Collective pilot project led by Traveltech for Scotland and ASVA and funded by Tourism and Leadership Recovery Fund through the Scottish Tourism Leadership Programme.

Reinforcing the importance of the project to tourism recovery, Gordon Morrison, CEO of ASVA added: “As technology plays an increasingly important role in visitor experiences and income generation, the learnings from the Traveltech Collective will be hugely valuable for visitor attractions across Scotland, and potentially beyond, to explore the opportunities presented by the metaverse.”

Joshua Ryan-Saha, Director of Traveltech for Scotland added: “The NFTs that New Frontier is creating for The Great Tapestry of Scotland, alongside the digital playbook for visitor attractions that our Traveltech Collective project is informing, will open up exciting opportunities for attractions to engage visitors in new ways that will increase customer loyalty and enhance the value of every visit to attractions, and potentially wider communities. The significance of this is now more important than ever as our sector and our communities seek to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic.”

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