5 Teams Changing Career Education: Meet the Case Western Reserve University Team

This post is part of a special series, “5 Teams Changing Career Education”, which features Q&A with the EdSim Challenge finalists. These solutions demonstrate the exciting potential for an ecosystem of next-generation simulations to strengthen in-demand career skills. 

Our first post features Q&A with Erin Henninger, Executive Director of Interactive Commons at Case Western Reserve University. Her team developed Holographic Applications to Transform Learning, an AR experience which uses holographic display technology, such as the Microsoft HoloLens, with multiple students to advance medical educational experiences and outcomes.

Describe your first experience with VR or AR. What aspect of it did you find most compelling?

Most of our team would say their first AR experience in HoloLens was life-altering. The idea that we can walk around with holograms in our world completely naturally—in our lifetime—still amazes us. But, the social aspects of AR are what we find most compelling. We love that you can have a shared experience and communication in the device—the fact that you can point to a holographic object and say to the person next to you, “Oh, see how this part intersects here?” You can explore and have a dialogue together, just like you do in the real world. So, not only do we gain this new 3D perspective, but we have a technology that makes us feel more connected to the people around us.

How will your concept help students prepare for future careers?

We think our concept will enhance students’ mastery of skills as well as their confidence in their abilities, in part, by simply helping them to visualize complex concepts in 3D. We can also help students build awareness and aptitude for working on the teams they are likely to be part of in their future careers through the social experience of augmented reality.  We can apply visuals and audio to create realistic scenarios to better prepare students for the conditions they will face in the field, as well as provide meaning and context for the skills they’re learning.

What’s the biggest insight you’ve uncovered through the Challenge so far?

One of the biggest insights we’ve gained is thinking about the scalability of technology. It would be great if we could equip every student in every school with the latest and greatest gadgets and tech tomorrow, but this isn’t realistic or sustainable—there’s always something new coming around the bend. When you think on this big picture level, you have to get more creative and clever with your solutions, but solutions are possible.