In November 2018, Imperial College Business School launched what it claimed to be the ‘world’s first holographic event at a university’, using an emerging technology that projects life-sized 3D holographic entities onto stages from remote locations. This form of teaching via telepresence takes bringing remote speakers into class via web conferencing tools to the next level, has the potential for a significant disruption of the lecture format, and also raises profound questions around the pedagogy of giving lectures in this way.
Exon (2010) refers to telepresence technologies as attempting to overcome some of the limitations presented by video conferencing, such as enabling participants to feel that they are in the same location, a perceived absence of the facilitating technology, and the telepresent guest appearing true-to-life sized. Although the Imperial telepresent speakers were not examples of classical analogue holograms, they nevertheless demonstrated a pioneering educational example of how holography is coming to be understood by a newer generation.
Will this example of holography remove the final barriers between the co-located and the distant, or will it lead to new barriers between teacher and learner? What are the unique affordances and particular challenges of educational experiences such as these? Would the holographic academic become just another educational technology gimmick, or could it become the next learning frontier? If adopted more widely, how can the introduction of the holographic academic into higher education be enacted in equitable ways, ensuring that this tool is used to give a platform to a greater plurality of voices than those that might typically represent the academy?
This workshop will borrow from speculative design (Dunne & Raby, 2013), a critical design approach to support imagining possible futures. Participants will be encouraged to think ahead and develop a set of approaches for supporting those that are preparing to enter into this brave new world. In doing so, they will gain insights into the potentials and challenges of this tool as an emerging educational technology for bringing new dimensions to blended and distance learning.
While arguably it touches on a number of the conference themes – bringing creativity to the curriculum, or providing a critical frame of reference for an emerging technology – it probably sits best in the wildcard category. Workshop participants will be invited to reflect on the themes and challenges posed at the end of the session, which will then be published in a reflective piece after the conference on City, University of London’s Learning at City blog. They will therefore have contributed towards a foundational resource to support the emergence of a pedagogic approach towards holographic delivery, which can then be utilised within institutions that choose to adopt this tool.
The workshop will comprise of the following sections:
1) Small group participant discussions on the benefits and challenges of bringing remote guests into live teaching sessions.
2) A contextual presentation, centred around the use of holographic technologies for synchronous teaching events.
3) Using a speculative design approach, participants in small groups then consider the challenges and benefits for introducing such a technology into a higher education institution, and produce a set of artefacts that could support such an introduction.
4) The results of the small group activities will be shared with the whole workshop group and opened up for wider discussion. This is to be followed by individual reflection on the main aspects of the workshop.
Dunne, A.; Raby, F. (2013). Speculative Everything. London: MIT.
Exon, S. N. (2010). The Next Generation of Online Dispute Resolution: The Significance of Holography to Enhance and Transform Dispute Resolution. Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution. Vol 12, Fall 2010, No. 1.
Imperial College Business School (2018). IB Women in Tech. YouTube. https://youtu.be/DuLqQROTfcE
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