3D in the classroom

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

The technology is also moving into our classrooms. The manufacturing of 3D projectors has increased significantly, making the technology more available to K-12 educators.

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. THE Journal recently interviewed teachers there for an article titled “Taking Learning to a New Dimension” about the effect of 3D on students.

“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,” said Boulder science teacher Kristin Donley. “As (the students) 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. Are you an educator who has used 3D in the classroom? Share your thoughts below.