How holograms are transforming education in the UK

Imagine learning physics from Albert Einstein or fashion design from Coco Chanel. This is not a fantasy, but a reality for some students in the UK, who are experiencing a new way of education through holograms. Holograms are 3D images that are projected into a space, creating the illusion of a real person or object. They are powered by artificial intelligence and can interact with students in real time.

One of the pioneers of using holograms in education is Loughborough University, which has been trialling the technology since 2023. The university has partnered with Proto, a Los Angeles-based company that provides holographic units for various purposes. The technology allows the university to beam in guest lecturers from around the world, such as sports scientists from MIT, and to teach students how to create immersive shows and navigate tricky business situations.

How holograms are transforming education in the UK
How holograms are transforming education in the UK

Professor Vikki Locke, the director of undergraduate studies at Loughborough business school, who is leading the implementation, said that students “absolutely love” the technology and have been begging for selfies with it. She said that holograms are more engaging and real than video calls, which make students feel like they are watching TV. She added that the technology is slated to be formally introduced into the curriculum in 2025, after a year of experimentation.

The benefits of holograms for education

Holograms offer several advantages for education, such as:

  • Enhancing the quality and diversity of teaching: Holograms can bring in experts and celebrities from different fields and locations, who might not be able to travel or visit the campus otherwise. This can enrich the learning experience and expose students to different perspectives and cultures.
  • Reducing the environmental impact of travel: Holograms can reduce the need for physical travel, which can save time, money and carbon emissions. This can also help students and teachers who have mobility or health issues, or who live in remote areas.
  • Increasing the interactivity and personalization of learning: Holograms can respond to students’ questions and feedback, and adapt to their learning styles and preferences. They can also create a sense of presence and connection, which can foster engagement and motivation.

The challenges and limitations of holograms for education

Holograms are not without challenges and limitations, such as:

  • The cost and complexity of the technology: Holograms require sophisticated equipment and software, which can be expensive and difficult to set up and maintain. They also depend on reliable internet connection and power supply, which can be affected by technical glitches or disruptions.
  • The ethical and social implications of the technology: Holograms raise questions about the authenticity and credibility of the information and the sources, and the potential for manipulation and deception. They also pose challenges for the privacy and security of the data and the users, and the intellectual property rights of the content and the creators.
  • The pedagogical and psychological implications of the technology: Holograms can affect the way students and teachers interact and learn, and the role and identity of the teacher. They can also have psychological effects on the users, such as creating unrealistic expectations, emotional attachment or detachment, or confusion and disorientation.

The future of holograms for education

Holograms are still an emerging technology, and their full potential and impact for education are yet to be explored and evaluated. However, they offer a glimpse of the future of education, where physical and virtual realities can merge and create new possibilities and opportunities for learning. As David Nussbaum, the founder of Proto, said: “AI is part of our life whether people like it or not.”

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