At the recent Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District (TX) conference, Ron Clark, the animated founder of the Ron Clark Academy presented the opening keynote. The twist? Clark’s presentation had been pre-recorded and was being projected as a hologram—or “HumaGram” as co-developers Promethean and ARHT Media call it.
“HumaGrams” are enhanced holograms that “beam” a presenter to anywhere in the world and to multiple places at the same time—in real time or as a prerecorded video. Real-time presenters are able to see, hear, and interact with their audiences. This technology has been used in the entertainment, healthcare, and retail industries, but the venture into education is new terrain. Applications for this tech abound in education, including:
Professional development: Teachers no longer need to leave school for training. Trainers can present from a central location and “beam” their HumaGrams into schools across the district and beyond.
Conferences: No more worrying about covering Sir Ken’s T&E—just beam in his HumaGram for a compelling interactive presentation.
College and career prep: Schools can partner with high-tech engineers at NASA or Lockheed Martin and invite these experts to beam in to teach high-school students the real-world work skills their companies are seeking.
Offer access to specialty teachers: Like the corporate experts, schools can share expert teachers via hologram without losing the interactive engagement of an on-site teacher.
Take virtual field trips further: Students can chat with holograms of, say, archeologists leading excavations from all over the world.
In all of these examples presenters can pull up stats, Google maps, or videos that will appear to hover next to them as they speak, thanks to the green screen technology used as part of the system (think local TV weather reports). Students can interact not only with the hologram presenters, but with the other remote participating classrooms. Throw in some Google Docs and these classes can collaborate on all kinds of projects.
While this tech is still in the visionary stage, and no education pricing has yet been announced, it will be interesting to see how this tech develops.