When you hear “holographic technology”, perhaps your first thought is a scene out of Star Wars, and not distance education. However, advancements in technology have enabled teachers and students to stray away from traditional chalkboards and opt for interactive white boards or SMART Boards. Already, video technology is fairly common in bringing students together from different areas around the world, guest speakers, and outside instructors. Distance education is bringing everyone closer- next on the horizon is bringing in these parties though holographic technology for an even more lifelike experience.
While this technology is still in developmental phases as far as incorporating it into a distance education program due to high-costs, like many high-tech innovations prices will eventually come down as it becomes available to a broad audience.
Here are six benefits that we can look forward to with holographic technology:
1.) Have experts give in-person presentations. Envision a surgeon giving a demonstration on a procedure to 1,000 medical students - without actually having to be there. This would allow the students to see with clarity what is happening in the surgery and limit costs but having a higher number of attendees without risking germ contamination. This would also be helpful for automotive engineers learning engine dynamics or fashion design students attending a runway show.
2.) Connecting remote classrooms. Imagine English speaking students meeting with Spanish speaking students to collaborate and learn from each other. This experience though distance education online would make the immersive Foreign Language experience available to many students who otherwise would not be able to participate due to study-abroad costs and limitations.
3.) Simultaneous multi-classroom lectures. While many classrooms use video technology already to tune into one teacher, this would allow one instructor to be an active presence in many classrooms at once. Imagine one professor lecturing multiple lecture halls of 300 students “in-person” simultaneously.
4.) Personal holographic projectors. Once this technology becomes even more affordable, students will be able to participate in a lecture via a professor projected into their living room. The next step to this would be to have the professor engage with these students and participate in a question-and-answer session.
5.) “Be there” remote access. Another step that we can envision is being able to take a tour of a monument or remote location by holographic technology. Imagine being able to take a tour of the Coliseum or the Lincoln Memorial without having to travel to Rome or Washington DC. Further, imagine being able to study aquatic life on a whole new level.
6.) Go “back in time”. Many dream of being able to attend the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This can now be experienced more readily and outside of the “Hall of Presidents” at Disneyland.