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Mark Nicholas teaches Biology and Honors Biology. Photo by Sahara Peters.
TEACHER FEATURE:
Mark Nicholas

A series of new faculty members this year at Foothill High School.

Mark Nicholas is Foothill High School's new Biology and Honors Biology teacher in room F-13. He enjoys biking, weightlifting, and building computers. Nicholas has always been interested in new technology, especially computers.

“Well, my first computer I built in 1993. I know, sounds old, right? Ha Ha! So I built my first computer in ’93 and I’ve been building my own ever since, just because,” said Nicholas.

Unlike the students here as FHS, Nicholas was able to witness the birth of the Internet.

“I was involved with the Internet very early, I was one of the first to use it. It was used for science a lot. Science was an early adopter of the Internet. There were no commercial sites back then so when AOL came out it was the big thing. You could actually text and use chat rooms and all these people were addicted to chat rooms. We’ve never heard of a chat room before, now people could talk,” explained Nicholas.

Nicholas explained how the Internet revolutionized our culture. It changed the way people communicated, acted, and lived our daily lives. He expects the same with virtual reality.

“Most people they don’t really know [virtual reality] is coming because they’re uninformed and they’re not scientifically literate, as we know in our country,” said Nicholas. "This is part of the reason that I decided to become a teacher, because scientific literacy is very low in our adult population.”

Nicholas has already build his own computer specified for virtual reality technology and is waiting for a good opportunity to obtain the software.

"One of the reasons why I’m interested in virtual reality is because it’s going to impact the future, our culture, in so many ways and especially in education,” said Nicholas. “I’m going to be experimenting with that a little bit and introducing that and thinking about ways that could be applied to education, now and in the future, hopefully leading into this school district one day and others in California.”

Virtual reality is easier to get a hold of than someone might think. Simple headsets that are compatible with smartphones are already available for under $10. Certain YouTube videos are compatible with this technology as well.

“Virtual reality is already here, as you know. It’s been invented and now it’s just being commercialized,” explained Nicholas. "It’s the same thing all technologies go through: it’s theorized, invented, and then its prototyped, and then its commercialized, and finally it’s widely dispensed among people. So just like the internet, its starting small, expensive, but soon it will be ubiquitous. It will be everywhere and we will be living, working, being social, pretty much our entire lives will be in virtual reality. So it’s going to change things significantly in so many ways.”

Virtual reality could even become a solution to the shortage of teachers, especially math and science teachers.

“I don’t know exactly how it’s going to turn out, but a science teacher could teach many, many classrooms with virtual reality. Virtual technology would allow fewer teachers to impact more students; either that or it will go to an entirely Internet based, virtual Internet based, education,” said Nicholas. "I don’t know if that’s going to be through people like me, science teachers, or with robotics, A.I., artificial intelligence, and it will be more software driven; so we have to see. Probably both. There will probably be competing technologies. I think, personally, I’d rather be taught by an actual person but I don’t know. Ha Ha!”

Will classes be taught online by robots? Will you be able to “be” in your friend’s room without actually being there? Nicholas would definitely be one of the first to know. Feel free to stop by F-13 to welcome him or continue this interesting discussion.

kat.mcdermott@fhspress.com

New Faculty
2016-2017

Karen Brizendine

Josh Chamberlain

Exur DeMayo

Mark Nicholas

Mark Pfeifer

Shywanda Royal

Julie Winkel

Robyn Brown

 

 

FOOTHILL HIGH SCHOOL    fhspress.com    SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA



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