After a week dogged by the Todd Barclay controversy, you could forgive the Prime Minister for wanting to escape to an alternate reality free from secret tapes.

And he did just that yesterday at Auckland's Newmarket Primary School by ascending into a politics-free virtual solar system.

Bill English and Education Minister Nikki Kaye were testing Microsoft's new Hololens glasses, which overlay 3D content on top of the real world.

The glasses are part of a range of new digital technologies that could be implemented in schools under a $40 million investment plan unveiled yesterday. Kaye said the investment aimed to enhance the digital fluency of young people to produce the "digital creators" of the future.


"If you think about Rocket Lab, film and the America's Cup, all of these incredible achievements in our country have involved pioneers utilising technology."

Datacom's software engineer Husain Al-Badry offered English and Kaye a tutorial in two mixed reality environments.

English was amazed by the potential of the glasses, Al-Badry said.

"He seemed really interested in the possibility of using the technology in medical operations."

Mixed reality had the potential to change education by allowing students and teachers to enter a shared contextual environment, Al-Badry said.

"We often take images from textbooks and project them onto a screen, but mixed reality allows students to enter an actual environment and interact with the things around them," he said.

Datacom is collaborating with Pearson Education and The Mind Lab by Unitec to trial Hololens technology in New Zealand high schools.

Dane Ambler