Understanding how and why technology impacts our lives is crucial to being affective digital citizens. Today, we have access to more electronic technology than ever before, and this access allows us to reach further than science fiction writers could ever have dreamed. This electronic technology has provided access to higher education for those not able or not wanting to attend a traditional brick and mortar institution. But where did this technology start, how does it help us today, and where will it take us in the future? To answer these questions we must become "de-tech-tives," a process described by Jason Ohler as, "focusing on the details and impacts of the technology that permeate our lives." (Ohler, p. 107) What permeates our lives more than the technology we use to better ourselves?
Gone are the days of the one-room schoolhouse. Today the classroom has evolved out of the physical confines of a four-walled room, through the digital realm of cyberspace, and into the comfort of our own homes. We have access to more educators, information, and each other than ever before, and yet there is still a disconnect between the physical and online community when it comes to connectivity. In the classroom, we can discuss, ask questions, and interact in a real time setting with those in the same physical space. In regards to online, often those with questions have to wait for a response, will never meet their fellow peers, and in many ways teach themselves the material. So what if we merged these two worlds into one?
The "Holo-Class," a virtual, holographic classroom, that projects the "classroom" into the student’s home, allows each user to interact in real time with their instructor and their fellow classmates. Of course this technology is a pipe dream so we must instead use our "de-tech-tive" skills to understand how this new system could help advance the world of online education.
After we investigate we must begin to analyze the data to debate the pros and cons of this technology. To do this we must find people on both sides of this debate, along with impartial judges to listen to both sides. Once the debate is done, recommendations for this technology can begin. For the "Holo-class", the debate revealed questions about the practical access students would have to technology advanced enough to project a 3-D hologram of a classroom. One answer was, we already have access to this, just not in the same place. Another problem that arose, was the question of cost? Wouldn't it be unreasonable to expect the average student to incur such a cost? The cost of this could be built into the tuition, allowing schools to send the appropriate materials to the students. It can also reduce the number of on campus buildings the school will require which could offset the institutions overhead, allowing the cost of this to be minimal to the student. A downside to this could be a loss of jobs, which would be antithetical of what the "Holo-class" would provide. The idea would be to offer a better involvement in online education to expand the knowledge and reach of those wanting to further their careers.
If the "Holo-class" were to take off, the analysis portion of the "de-tech-tive" process would need to be more involved. As a media psychologist, this technology is exciting, simply because it allows for greater access to the world via new forms of media. The minds of scientists have already bred life into the ideas put forth by science fiction writers such as blue-tooth, touch screen, and voice-activated technology. Why not begin to advance the immersive qualities of 3-D to allow the next wave of these great minds to begin the cycle again?
Ohler, J. (2010.) Digital Community, Digital Citizen. CA: Corwin.
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