HoloLec: Augmented Reality in Teaching


Author(s) Tom Owen, Sean Walton Matt Jones


The Microsoft HoloLens is the first self-contained holographic computer. It projects three dimensional virtual objects and displays onto the world around you, seamlessly blending physical spaces and digital content. SALT and the College of Science have invested in a number of HoloLens devices in order to explore the possibility of using them to enhance our teaching within the University. The aims of this session are to: 1. Give the participants an overview of the technology and hands on experience using it 2. Show three examples of how it can be used to enhance teaching 3. Generate new ideas for novel applications of the technology in teaching In order that all participants are able to use a headset we will need to limit the session to 12 people.


Unlike many virtual reality devices, the HoloLens is untethered to a computer and allows the user to see the real world. It is ideal for shared experiences where all participants see the same virtual objects. Both these features make it ideal to be used as a teaching device. The key objective of the session is to generate ideas for using the technology in teaching throughout the university. By investigating the technology now we hope to be able to hit the ground running when the technology becomes affordable enough to use it large scale. We hope that the session will lead to continued engagement between the participants and the HoloLect project.

The session will be split into the following activities: 1. A brief explanation of the technology and how augmented reality applications are developed. Participants will be introduced to the device through hands on demonstrations. We will showcase the strengths and, perhaps more importantly, limitations of the device. 2. Participants will experience three existing HoloLens applications designed for teaching. a. An augmented reality lecture theatre. With all students wearing a HoloLens every surface can suddenly become a display. Imagine writing notes on a tablet and it appearing on a student’s desk in front of them. b. Visualising three dimensional phenomena in Physics. One of the most difficult aspects of a Physics degree is visualising three dimensional force fields and the mathematical operations performed on them. With a HoloLens you can walk through these fields and explore them. c. Presenting in front of a large audience. Many students struggle with presenting their work in front of many people. Practicing talking in front of one or two people is useful, but does not feel the same as standing in front of many people. With the HoloLens you can generate a crowd as big or small as you like. 3. To end the workshop we will have a 15 minute brainstorming session to generate ideas for how we could use the HoloLens to enhance our teaching. This will first be done in groups of mixed subject background, each with one computer scientist who understands the limitations of the technology. Then these ideas will be shared with everyone.

Key Words

Hololens Technology Augmented-Reality

Key Messages

The College of Science and SALT are investing in cutting-edge technologies that enhance teaching in the coming years. We are looking for involvement across university to shape how these technologies could be used in teaching practice. The next year academic year will see several prototype systems created and evaluated, we want to hear your ideas. FYI >>> https://blogs.windows.com/devices/2017/02/13/spectator-view-new-tool-help-others-see-see-hololens/#mWYTxSuopwY4RVsm.97


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