Magazine article Technology & Learning

The Force of Holography

Magazine article Technology & Learning

The Force of Holography

Article excerpt

Electronic-age prophet Marshall McLuhan claimed we should be listening to artists if we want to know where we're headed, that it's the job of the artist to use the technology of the day to paint pictures of tomorrow.

In this Viewpoint series, "Mining Movies," I look for hints of what is to come in technology and learning by examining one of the most common and popular forms of modern artistry: futuristic movies. From Star Wars to Minority Report to I Robot, movie artists--or "movicians"--have been spinning fantastic, inspirational, and sometimes frightening tales that can nevertheless serve as excellent sources of information about what lies ahead for us as citizens, workers, and, above all, learners. I turn to them for guidance.

If there is a touchstone for the beginning of modern futurism in the movies, it is probably Star Wars. In the first episode, we find a technology that will no doubt end up in our schools, homes, and businesses as a primary teaching tool: the projected holographic image.

The youthful Luke Skywalker meets with seasoned rebel Obi-Wan Kenobi to retrieve a message sent from the endangered Princess Leia. The message, delivered by the dutiful droid R2-D2, is in the form of a hologram set up atop a table. …

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