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Building a mobile classroom

Fearghal O'Nuallain describes the process of developing a Land Rover Discovery into a mobile classroom..

Test driving the Modified Land Rover Discovery at the Solihull factory.

I arrived at an anonymous industrial estate in Coventry. Outside it looked like any other factory, inside was Land Rover’s Special Vehicles Operations unit where you go to get your bespoke car built just how you like it. Normally the preserve of Arab Sheikhs and Footballers on a sunny morning last April it was home to a humble Geography Teacher.


Over three hours we talked through our plans for the expedition to Jordan:

Can it be kitted out with a Satellite communication system? Sure. Can we have an extra battery so that we can keep all our devices charged all the time. Sure, we’ll give you one that will run them all, charging constantly for a week. We’ll need extra power sockets. Done. And a roof rack for all of our kit. No problem. And extra lights so we can shoot at night. Yep. And additional fuel storage. Yep, we’ll add a fire protection device like they put into race cars just in case too. And a water tank for when we cross the desert. We’ll integrate a tap into the body work. And camera mounts. Sure. And a wifi router. That already comes as standard. And sand tyres so we don’t get stuck. Done. And a side awning for when we stop for shade. No problem.

And so on for 3 hours.


At least a hundred emails later, and too many conference calls, it was time to collect. I went to St Peter’s School in Solihull. I wanted to see what the kids we’d be connecting with would think of it all. I wanted to get introduced to the car right in the environment that it was supposed to connect to the wide world. At 8.30am it drove into the school yard, inching along slowly, the playground stones crunching under its thick deep threaded tyres. It was decked out in the pastel blues and greens of of The Water Dairies Logo. On the roof was a rack for our kit, jerry cans of spare fuel, a spare wheel and a hand winch to get us out of trouble. A beast of a car that was capable of going anywhere to allow us to teach from extreme environments. We asked for a mobile classroom. Something that we could take anywhere, something that would allow us to beam the world directly into classrooms back home. It needed to be rugged and packed with tech. Land Rover had delivered everything that we asked for.

Make sure to tune in for our week daily broadcasts @3.30pm GMT to learn about the journey and the Geography and Science of the terrain we’ll be passing through. Don’t worry if you miss the start of the broadcast as they’ll be available for viewing for 24hrs afterwards. We’ve also got some limited places for one to one class sessions so be sure to email to book one for your class. And if you’d like to hear all about the adventure and do some expedition planning and digital mapping workshops sign your school up for the RoadShow in 2018 (places are filling up fast so book now to avoid missing out).

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