Holograms in classrooms - yay or nay? Source: Shutterstock

The use of holograms in class may not have caught on fire – yet – but should universities be open to giving them a try? 

While its use in higher education is still selective, Imperial College London has already been deploying holograms via its EdTech Lab this past year with positive results. According to Times Higher Education (THE), Imperial College uses holograms to allow remote speakers to appear as life-size three-dimensional entities in one of the university’s lecture theatres.

David Lefevre, Director of the Lab, was quoted saying that the technology has been a big success, with surveys reporting that students not only enjoyed the “sense of presence” provided by the hologram, but also found the experience to be fun and engaging.

He added that educational research has shown that a sense of presence and interaction is incredibly important for students’ learning. Crucially, a hologram can look a student in the eye, which helps make all the difference.

Potential benefits of holograms

Not the stuff of science fiction: there are practical uses of holograms in the classroom. Source: Shutterstock

It’s better for the environment

Students can benefit from learning from guest speakers, be it professionals from the industry to educators from around the globe. However, holograms allow universities to not only cut costs by saving on travel or airfare, but also reduce the environmental impact of travelling, as well as time spent travelling.

Learning comes to life

Holograms can offer students a more engaging way of learning. For instance, 3D holograms could show a 3D animal or even a person miles away as though they were really in the room with students. 

For instance, in The Conversation, Associate Professor in Educational Technology, CQUniversity Australia, Michael Cowling, and Assistant Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Bond University, Christian Moro, said holographic renderings provide an additional layer to normal learning sessions. 

“As these technologies develop, we, as educators, can work with the 3D representations to enhance our teaching. For example, during a lesson on the cardiovascular system, a beating heart could be represented in front of the students, while the educator guides them through the features. Or a human brain could be visualised in 3D space, while regions are highlighted and dissected in real time by the educator,” they wrote.

Grants educators the flexibility to teach from any location

A hologram projected in a classroom could show educators who may not be physically present to continue teaching their students from wherever they are, so long as they have the right tools with them. This mixed-reality learning environment promises a novel way of learning. 

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