We recently had the chance to interview the inventor of the Educational Holodeck, Dr. David Thornburg, at his facility in Recife, Brazil where the world’s first installation is in progress. David splits his time between the U.S. and Brazil and is active in educational projects in both countries. His current project is a large undertaking that just may change the face of education for many children.
This is not a scene from a science fiction movie, it is an event happening with Middle School students taking a simulated trip to Mars in search of evidence for extraterrestrial life. These students are in their school but instead of being seated in rows in a traditional classroom, they are in a special room, the Educational Holodeck. This room’s function is determined by special computer software to create a fully interactive and immersive environment in which children apply their knowledge and skills to the solution of problems that break traditional disciplinary boundaries. The design of shields requires them to learn about the behavior of charged particles, the design and operation of electromagnets they will build themselves, along with other topics that cut across typical math and science classes. They do not ask why they need to know this stuff—their life, and the success of their mission depends on it! Engagement is complete.