American Samoa’s leading learning institution, ASCC switched on a ground-breaking new digital platform that will stream 3D holograms of UH academics to deliver classes and engage with ASCC students in real-time. Running on Hawaiki transpacific submarine cable, which directly connects American Samoa and Hawaii, and using technology from Canadian tech firm ARHT Media, the HoloCampus solution is the first of its kind in the Pacific, and is expected to spur new thinking and approaches to education throughout the Pacific Islands region and the world.

“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.

"HoloCampus enables a remarkable new approach to distance learning,” said UH president Dr David Lassner, adding: “We expect that our work with ASCC will spark new ideas and approaches for academic collaborations across the Pacific and beyond.”

The launch of HoloCampus comes just 13 months after the Hawaiki cable went live in American Samoa, resulting in 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.”

Students and officials at today’s HoloCampus launch received an important lecture on the subject of ‘sustainability and resilience’; a theme which has special significance for the people of American Samoa, and Pacific Islands nations more broadly, especially as they face challenges like growing plastic waste and more dramatic weather systems brought about by climate change.

(Based on press release) (photo credit: J. Kneubel)