The pros and cons of holographic teachers

What do Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and teachers have in common? They’ve all been ‘hologrammed’! 

A digital revolution has long been predicted to sweep through classrooms, changing the way students study, revise and interact with their learning material. Teachers themselves have become a potential prospect for innovation, with the development of holographic technology seeking to replace real-life instruction with virtual entities. Microsoft HoloLens technology – a computer built into a headset so you can see, hear and interact with holograms – has been trialled in university settings to gauge if this form of digital learning is effective. Students are taught by a holographic professor and have the capability to directly engage with their course content during classes, minimising the volume of note-taking and increasing participation levels. Such technology has gradually found its way into secondary school classes, with teachers adopting a mixed approach that combines physical instruction with digital learning aids. 

As holograms become a recognisable feature of our lives (and potentially your children’s classrooms), let’s explore the positive and negative aspects of this ground breaking technology. 

Pros 

Facilitates learning engagement

Learning through a hologram is a stimulating and innovative way to take in new information. The novelty factor of holographic technology can spark interest among students, driving them to engage with both the device and content. With this increased interaction comes a greater chance of content gain and retention, and the opportunity to enhance spatial thinking and reasoning skills. Teaching through holograms can be a collaborative space for students to engage their ideas with those of their peers. 

Explains concepts that are difficult to understand in 2D

There’s some subject matter that is better taught through the aid of 3D visualisation. In the medical and health sciences areas, this rings particularly true – holograms allow students to improve their spatial awareness of the human body and learn about the intricacies of anatomy that can’t be accurately taught through a textbook or computer screen. This technology could also aid other study fields focused around design like art, architecture or engineering, where students would be able to view their structures and models in 3D form. 

Cons 

Vulnerable to misuse by distraction

While holograms have great scope for enhancing learner engagement, they also have the potential to do the exact opposite. Anything shiny and new like a hologram headset is bound to evoke curiosity from students, who are keen to explore what holographic technology is capable of. Students may get distracted by this novelty and give little thought to what they’re actually supposed to be learning, instead becoming stuck in their own virtual reality. 

Not a substitute for genuine human interaction

Perhaps the strongest anti-hologram argument out there, many have admitted that technology is no replacement for old-school teaching instruction. Organic interaction, where you question and challenge in real life, goes a long way in enhancing the teaching and learning process. Holographic learning does not catch the cues that indicate comprehension and engagement levels, while the misunderstanding of content is often best resolved through face-to-face explanation. 

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