VIRTUAL TEACHERS: UK university to trial ‘hologram’ lecturers

London – VIJAY SHAH via LEO KELION and BBC News

A university in the United Kingdom will become the first in the world to introduce ‘holographic’ teaching staff for its students, according to a report by national broadcaster BBC News. 

Imperial College London is bringing in 3D projection technology that will emit ‘holograms’ of lecturers who are unable to attend their lectures in person. While the teacher will not be physically present, the futuristic technology will carry across their voice and body movements. Similar technology was used for a Tupac Shakur music concert at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in 2010, and has also been adopted by airports and train stations.

 

The new technology, which was launched officially this past Thursday, will be at first used solely for students learning at Imperial’s Business School, but the university expects the technology to become more commonplace, perhaps eventually superseding video conferencing and Skype. The technology also means lecturers can broadcast to several halls, holding the same lecture simultaneously, which will cut down on teaching hours.

“The alternative is to use video-conferencing software but we believe these holograms have a much greater sense of presence,” Dr David Lefevre, director of Imperial’s Edtech Lab, told the BBC.

“The lecturers have a high-definition monitor in front of them which is calibrated so they can point at people and look them in the eye. They can really interact.”

Unlike previous such projections, more than one person can be included in Imperial’s ‘holograms’. Projected users also do not have to be even in the same country as the lecture hall for the technology to ‘beam’ their image in front of scholars.

The Imperial technology was developed with the Canadian firm, Arht Media. Lecturers using the technology must stand in a special ‘capture studio’ in front of a black background. The university will be able to make use of two such studios in Los Angeles, USA and Toronto in Canada, alongside a portable projection kit for visiting guest speakers.

SOURCES:

HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind

Nicolas Babin, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Nicochan33

Simon Hewitt, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/shewitt_vp

“‘Hologram’ lecturers to teach students at Imperial College London” – Leo Kelion, BBC News/BBC (1 November 2018) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/technology-46060381

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:8oCongresoInnovacion05.JPG” – Thelmadatter, Wikimedia Commons (12 December 2013) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:8oCongresoInnovacion05.JPG

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VICARAGE PRIMARY: Newham school says goodbye to beloved headteacher

Pupils, teachers and support staff at a Newham primary school came together recently to bid farewell and lots of future success to their headteacher as she leaves for new opportunities, the council magazine the Newham Mag reported recently. 

Yvonne Ward, who has been in the teaching profession for 35 years and was headteacher at Vicarage Primary School in East Ham for a decade, was treated to a ‘fond farewell’ by her school. Her leaving ceremony was attended by none other than the Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, alongside local councillor Quintin Peppiatt. They and Vicarage Primary School children and teachers congratulated Ward as she spent her last day as headteacher before retiring.

woodleywonderworks/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

Vicarage Primary, which serves one of the most diverse populations in London, was recently declared as ‘outstanding’ by inspectors from the government schools inspection authority Ofsted under Ward’s watch. Under her leadership, the popular headteacher helped improve the once-flagging school to achieve Green Eco flag status for greener schools. Her other noteworthy achievements include Vicarage attaining Centre of Excellence status for inclusion of pupils from challenged backgrounds, and the school winning national awards for its teaching and provision in the subjects of physical education (PE), art, singing and basic skills. Vicarage also won gold in the Sainsbury’s School Games in the 2013/14 academic year, received a ‘higher standards level’ from the Sustainable Travel Board, and has links with Read Write Inc., the Arts Council of England and is quality accredited.

Ward also supervised a massive refurbishment programme at the school and was host to a number of community events held on school premises that involved hundreds of people.

The borough’s mayor attended a farewell garden party held in Yvonne Ward’s honour. He said at the party: “Yvonne’s and the school’s motto is Be The Best You Can Be. She definitely proved that in her years at Vicarage School and across her distinguished career. We wish her continued success and thank her for all she has achieved”.

Vicarage Primary School, located in Vicarage Lane, East Ham, is a four-form educational institution operating out of traditional Victorian brick school buildings. The children range from nursery age to Year 6 (3-16 years of age), and the school places a high emphasis on pupil educational, physical and mental development, while building strong partnerships with parents and carers.

SOURCES:
“Farewell to popular head teacher” – The Newham Mag [Issue 323], Newham Council (28 August 2015)
“ABOUT US” – Vicarage Primary School http://www.vicarage.newham.sch.uk/about.html
“VPS School Prospectus 2012-2013” – Vicarage Primary School http://www.vicarage.newham.sch.uk/documents/VPS_School_Prospectus_2012-2013.pdf
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:School-education-learning-1750587-h.jpg” – woodleywonderworks, Flickr via Wikimedia Commons (1 May 2008) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:School-education-learning-1750587-h.jpg