American Samoan learning institution ASCC has switched on a new digital platform, running on Hawaiki’s trans-Pacific submarine cable, that will stream 3D holograms of academics delivering classes remotely and allow them to interact with students in real-time.
The collaboration, which includes technology and education partners such as Hawaiki Submarine Cable (Hawaiki), American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (ASTCA), American Samoa Community College (ASCC), University of Hawaii (UH) and ARHT Media, will enable holograms of UH lecturers based in Honolulu to be beamed live into ASCC classrooms in Pago Pago in American Samoa.
“HoloCampus is a culmination of the vision and hard work of many people inspired by the challenge of harnessing technology to provide American Samoa’s young people with access to the best opportunities for advancing their education, and creating a better future for them and their communities.” said Governor Lolo M. Moliga.
“The partnership between Hawaiki and American Samoa has delivered on its promises to bridge the digital divide in our Territory. Having ready access to high speed internet is already helping high school and college students with their learning, but the ability to have academics from around the world literally beamed into ASCC classrooms offers an exciting glimpse into what education and learning will look like in the future.”
ASCC president, Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi Pato noted that HoloCampus will also spur new opportunities for American Samoa to more effectively share knowledge and insights from the US territory with University of Hawaii students and academics, and potentially more academic institutions in the region and throughout the world as the technology is deployed more widely.
“This technology has the potential to completely reshape how we in American Samoa – especially our young students – interact with and share perspectives and experiences with other students, teachers and schools throughout the region and the world,” Makaiwi Pato added.
The college and University of Hawaii are working together to create specific course programs running on HoloCampus, which could lead to students in American Samoa being able to earn credits and grades towards UH degrees, with UH academics and students benefiting from greater access to the college and its teachers, learning and resources.
Hawaiki Submarine Cable, which has its headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand, owns and operates the carrier-neutral sub cable system linking Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and the US west coast.
The launch of HoloCampus comes just 13 months after the Hawaiki cable went live in American Samoa, with the firm noting “a dramatic increase in connectivity on the US territory.”
“Deployment of the Hawaiki Cable in July 2018 has provided the businesses, communities and people of American Samoa with previously undreamt-of connectivity, speeds and reliability,” said Lewis Wolman, CEO of ASTCA. “Today’s launch of HoloCampus is a great example of the sorts of applications we’re now capable of delivering, to drive improvements in everything from education, to healthcare, government services, business, and academic research collaboration.”