City College Plymouth in the UK has been using wysiwyg as part of their curriculum since 2012. We spoke to Nolan Pearce, Subject Leader, Live events Production and asked him how wysiwyg has been received and some of the benefits having wyg in the classroom. This is his glowing response.
“I believe we first installed WYSIWYG onto our systems in 2012. At that time we were successful in a capital bid and we were able to purchase some automated fixtures, rigging equipment and a dedicated IT suite. WYSIWYG has become an integral tool as part of our production planning processes and those students who have a certain disposition towards design and CAD work are able to very quickly use the software to its full potential. I actually learn a lot from our students who have more time than I do to discover some of the more in depth content that WYSIWYG provides. The updates definitely keep us on our toes. I have to admit, I wasn’t a fan when the software was first installed and I relied on other staff to deliver this specialist subject to our students. However, I found myself in a position that made it necessary for me to learn and teach the software and WYSIWYG has now become one of my favorite aspects of the Live Events Production programmes at City College Plymouth. I can now say that we would not be able to deliver such a quality programme of study without this software. We have previous students now designing shows for artists such as Bring Me the Horizon and Swedish House Mafia because they were able to learn using the Cast software.
Students benefit massively from using WYSIWYG because they are able to explore production ideas in a safe and cost effective setting before putting their designs into the real world, and they learn the importance of planning ahead and managing resources effectively. Every student on our various study programmes benefits from learning how to use WYSIWYG and they are able to implement it in their workflow as part of the production process. It has become the creative and technical planning tool used by designers, electricians, stage managers, production managers as well as those working in sound and video (it would be great if there was a dedicated sound based WYSIWYG application).
We have been using WYSIWYG for remote teaching during our two week shutdown now that students are able to access this great software for free. WYSIWYG provides a great way to keep students engaged and still be industry focused even if we can’t be onsite rigging in our theatre. I’m always amazed by the way students use this software to extend their learning beyond the classroom and recent times has shown me just how innovative students can become when they are given access to the right tools.
We were invited to attend a Wilkinson concert at the beginning of the year by one of our previous students Sam Tozer who now designs lighting for several high profile artists. During the get-in we were able to talk to Sam’s programmer who explained how he uses WYSIWYG to pre-program the show before it arrives in the arena. He also explained how he was able to export the patch from WYSIWYG into the console saving him an enormous amount of time. The students were fascinated and instantly able to connect their learning into a professional context which really helped to raise their motivation when we returned to the classroom.
I would really encourage other institutions thinking of using this software to take the leap and commit to embedding it within their curriculum. The time invested into learning the software will be paid back in full. Students can apply their design ideas to real world contexts and teaching staff are able to engage them through active learning and critical thinking. WYSIWYG provides the means to narrow the gap between traditional models of vocational education and employability, enabling learners to become skilled and employable young people, not just ready for their industry but prepared to change, adapt and improve on it. Our students progress to higher education in well-respected establishments or move straight into the professional world because they have developed the confidence to fulfill industry expectations.
Nolan Pearce, Subject Leader, Live Events Production”