E-Learning at The National Piping Centre


The National Piping Centre (NPC), in partnership with Glasgow-based digital media consortium Yellow Brick House, is revealing an ambitious e-learning project which will deliver high quality bagpipe tuition digitally using webinar technology and live streaming services.

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This will allow the highly skilled and sought after NPC tutors to deliver interactive virtual piping tuition to groups and individuals anywhere in the world. As part of this new, integrated E-Learning package, resources from the NPC’s vast library of archive, print, and audio will be available to all users. This new E-Learning site will encourage dialogue between pipers across the world which will increase engagement in piping and the work of the NPC.

The NPC has been giving lessons on the internet in recent years using the online Skype technology, but this has limited the amount of online lessons due to the one-to-one nature of Skype. As well as continuing with the one-to-one Skype lessons, the centre has now developed the technological capacity to reach a whole new audience through video conferencing. The new Adobe Connect technology allows many students to be in an online classroom with the ability to communicate directly with the teacher, and the other students in the class, allowing a dialogue not only between tutor and student, but also between students of the same level who are learning together. As well as the live, interactive classes, all lessons will be available on-demand, allowing students with busy and unpredictable schedules to view lessons at a time that’s suitable for them, as well offering the ability to refer back to previous classes.

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Roddy MacLeod, principal at The National Piping Centre, said: “We are constrained by our building here in Glasgow and this is a way of getting to more students. The plan is an e-learning process that allows us to take our lessons anywhere in the world. The lessons are live and (although) we’ve been using Skype in the past to do one-to-one sessions, this will let us teach to wider groups.”

As well as the live lessons which will be screened across the internet this new platform will allow easier access to live streamed events which the NPC launched at Piping Live! Festival 2012. This successful step in digital streaming was continued at the Glenfiddich Piping Championship in October 2012 where over 1900 people viewed the event worldwide.

Funding for this new project was awarded to the NPC by the Scottish Digital Research and Development Fund for Arts and Culture, run by the creative charity Nesta, Creative Scotland and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Jackie McKenzie, head of Innovation Programmes Scotland for Nesta, said: “Arts and cultural organisations are at a pivotal moment in their development. Financial pressures are creating enormous challenges, but equally, digital technologies are opening up exciting possibilities for new markets to deepen and broaden audiences.”

The website will be officially launched on Wednesday 17th April where there will be a live stream of the Piping Live! 2013 Launch event. Log on to elearning.thepipingcentre.co.uk from 7pm (BST) on Wednesday to see the live stream and find out a bit more about The National Piping Centre’s brand new E-Learning website.”