Ok so yes the title is a bit of an awful pun. I can’t resist a bit of wordplay and literally minutes after I first downloaded the beta version of Hologo World, that title jumped into my head (complete with Aladdin vocals). I guess it comes with the territory when you have two young daughters.
Disney song references aside, I've wanted to share something about the excellent new Hologo World platform for a couple of weeks now (since the aforementioned beta testing and before their official launch at BETT MEA). Developed by a great team of people from the Maldives, Hologo World is a great example of educational AR done right. I’ve spoken before about augmented reality tools for the classroom needing to be more than just a model (or set of them) and Hologo frame their AR experiences in a way that elevates the platform above pretty much everything else in the field right now in terms of educational AR content.
Here's a clip of a few little trials I ran with the beta version of the app a few weeks ago:
Key features of Hologo include:
Banks of categorised content
Hologo World offers content in a range of subject areas including Biology, Physics, Geography and Maths. The catalogue of content on offer is already substantial and is set to expand further.
A great addition is that of augmented reality portals, similar to those seen in Figment, alongside the more traditional 3D model content. These can be used for geography lessons or even as stimuli for creative writing. Here's a great example of this that the team actually filmed outside the ADNEC building in Abu Dhabi during BETT -
The models in Hologo are excellent, with animation and interactive elements bringing them to life in augmented reality. They also come complete with audio narration which enhances the content further and essentially turns each model into a lesson. Few educational AR apps boast this level of interactivity.
This really is what makes Hologo World stand out from the pack. Teachers can record their own narration onto a model and through the app, these can be shared to students so that they can view the AR experience with personalised framing by the teacher. The possibilities that this opens up are huge - from flipped learning in AR to asynchronous teaching in a classroom. You can even share you lesson with the public Hologo community and potentially impact learning elsewhere around the world!
So what’s the catch? Well whilst the app can be downloaded for free and the teacher can access the models (complete with labels, narration and interactivity) there are limitation to the free plan. Hologo currently offer three plans:
For many teachers the $200 per year price tag will likely prove too expensive. Opting for the free plan means that they would only have the ability to add 2 students and record voice over on a single experience. It should be noted that you can subscribe to the free plans in multiple subject areas. Students can also sign up for free (with an email address) and get access to the core set of models. Ultimately I think many teachers will stick with the free plan and deliver the oral element live in the classroom.
I spoke with Hologo CEO Eedham Rasheed about this and he offered some insight -
"What we have released in April 2018 is 10% of the complete vision we have for Hologo. We will be releasing new functions every quarter and will be unveiling the complete version at BETT UK 2020, this version will be called Hologo Unleashed. We really look forward to working with as many educators globally within the coming year to ensure Hologo becomes an extremely useful tool for the education industry."
I asked about the premium content mentioned in the paid plans -
"We are going to eventually feature 20 free experiences and minimum 80 premium experiences by end of 2018. These experiences will be added weekly and for teachers who subscribe to the paid plan, all will be unlocked. For students and teachers who have not subscribed to the plan can in-app purchase the experiences individually."
So it definitely looks like there will be options for educators in terms of how and what content they access from Hologo which is great. Ultimately it's the most promising educational AR that I've seen since the much-heralded ARkit launch by Apple and definitely a step in the right direction for immersive technology in schools.
For more information, check out the official Hologo website via https://hologo.world