Learning in 3D

3D technology has come a long way since the days of those cardboard specs moviegoers wore to cinemas in the 1950s . Today we’ve been witnessing the rise of 3D from a novelty to a staple of movie theaters and home entertainment.

Only recently has this technology moved into our classrooms.   The number of brand manufacturers of 3D projectors has increased significantly, making the technology more available to K-12 classrooms.  Although not yet widely used, there are a few pioneering school districts implementing 3D.  I was curious to find out if 3D in the classroom improves learning gains and what educators have to say about it.

Boulder Valley School District in Colorado has integrated 3D in four of its schools. From an article in THE Journal, Nov/Dec 2011 issue, titled: “Taking Learning to a New Dimension,” thoughts on the effects of 3D in STEM education come from science teacher Kristin Donley, who says , “I teach mostly biology and chemistry, and a lot of that information is hard to visualize, so 3D really helped them see in much more detail what I was trying to teach them.”  She goes on to say, “As they would do an essay question about molecular processes, for example, they were able to recall details much better from a 3D versus a 2D and were able to put those details in an essay.”  

3D seems to go beyond the “wow” factor and encourages a deeper level of thought processes. Donley’s students, for example were able to demonstrate a higher level of understanding, and the use of higher order thinking skills. Anecdotal evidence points to what could be called the “Toddler Effect.”  Have you ever seen a very young child deeply immersed in play?  Students are deeply engaged in a 3D lesson as they want to know more about what they are seeing, which leads to much deeper understanding. 

Sounds like some of the early adopters of 3D are seeing tremendous benefits for their students.  I can’t wait to see more classrooms coming alive in 3D!

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