April 13, 2015

Unparalleled 3D Learning (1)

After posting Nevada State College Flies High , I decided to pay a site visit to the venerable college. That’s because it’s always good to test one’s assumptions against hard reality. Wanting to see 3D in action, hoping to determine if these undergraduate classrooms were indeed using stereo 3D in unparalleled ways, I ventured forth. The site visit was well worth my time.

Nevada State College, which is located just outside of Las Vegas, began a high visibility 3D project this fall by purchasing and implementing a stereo 3D learning approach in all of their undergraduate science and nursing classes. This represents a significant step, because most stereo 3D projects at the college level take place in a single classroom of an interested professor—and not broadly across a curriculum.

Professor Vikash Patel
As I stealthily crept into the back of the classroom, the day’s lesson already underway, I took note of the physical lay of the land. The classroom was a typical college setting, with tabletops, whiteboards, a screen, projector, and significant digital lectern space. On the wall, above the whiteboard, a large 3D display monitor was mounted. The high-energy instructor, professor Vikash Patel, was busy cajoling, informing, and questioning a room full of mixed-gender nursing students. All in all, the scene remained quite unremarkable, at least from my higher-ed perspective.
Stereo 3D and 2D side-by-side at Nevada State College
What I witnessed next, however, was indeed quite remarkable and informative on many levels. Come back next week for the details and my concluding post on some very exemplary 3D teaching and learning.

April 6, 2015

Fireworks at ISTE 2015

The groundwork is just now being laid for the June-July ISTE 2015 educational technology conference, with the fireworks taking place in Philadelphia this year. Last year, this conference was enjoyed by more than 16,800 attendees. Last year’s conference evidenced a solid 3D in education presence (twenty one presentations plus fourteen 3D-related vendors), and this year’s program suggests the same positive trending. 
Inside sources reveal that the ISTE 2015 conference will offer twenty-three 3D related sessions: five in the arena of designing in 3D, including game design; five focusing on stereo 3D; four on visualization using rendered 3D; and nine sessions on 3D printing (3D printing gets the numbers edge this year, for the first time.) A sampling of the featured session titles includes:
  • Learn 3D Modeling in One Hour
  • Promising Technologies, Creativity & Teaching: Ten Solutions to Take Away
  • 3D Network Showcase: Designing, Visualizing, and Making in 3D
  • Virtual Reality in the Classroom: Simulations using the Oculus Rift
  • C-R-A-Z-Y New 3D Resources
  • Creating 3D virtual living spaces to promote sustainable development
  • Depth-defying Learning: Exploring the Top Ten 3D Developments
  • Teach 3D Game Design in One Week
  • 3D Print Your Classroom

 ISTE’s recently formed special interest group or personal learning network (PLN)—the 3D Network—will also continue its educational advocacy for all things 3D. Now pushing 2,500 members, this group is expected to raise the decibel level of 3D in education by again hosting their popular membership open house, offering an annual meet-and-greet demonstration event, and sponsoring a first-time panel presentation at the conference. The 3D Network is again expected to grow in numbers dramatically. (They are already one of the fastest growing PLNs in ISTE.)

No doubt, many 3D-related exhibitors will also make their presence known on the ISTE 2015 expo floor this year—newcomers and the familiar folks alike. Companies wishing to have a presence at the 3D Network meet-and-greet demonstration event—in person or with literature—should contact this blogger sooner rather than later.

March 30, 2015

People are Strange

When you're strange, 
Faces come out of the rain; 
When you're strange, 
No one remembers your name;
When you're strange, 
When you're strange, 
When you're strange.
The Doors, “People are Strange”

People are strange. There’s a peculiar disconnect I sometimes find coming from both educational 3D detractors and 3D supporters—and it’s mystifying. Here ‘s one example:

Are 3D sales folks and even 3D educators merely tire kickers? Is that part of the problem? At a 3D conference held at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge, an MIT keynote speaker asked how many folks in the audience owned a 3D TV or device themselves.  I quickly raised my hand.  But less than ten percent of the audience, mostly represented by 3D manufacturers and 3D-using educators, joined me. That represents a huge disconnect. Folks want to make money off this technology—or deploy it in their educational setting—but still don’t appear committed, at a personal level, themselves.

People are strange.

March 23, 2015

3D P Resources

Many folks are interested in the physical production aspects of 3D these days, namely 3D printing. If you are interested in learning more about 3D printing specifically for the classroom setting, here are my recommendations for the best books on the market, a good place to get started:

March 16, 2015

Analog 3D Magic

Teachers always have days when the network is down or the lab is closed due to upgrades or testing. That’s when you need to pull something analog out of your digital magician’s hat to survive. (Yes, every great teacher is also a miracle-working magician!)

Here’s a 3D idea for a quick, motivating, and hands-on replacement activity for those moments when your network or computers go south. Drawing in 3D seems to be an activity that works somewhat like anamorphic 3D, so it’s interesting on several levels.

March 9, 2015

Smartur3D Raises the Ante

To date we have counted 33 major software producers of stereo 3D educational content, worldwide. Now there are 34. A new arrival to the 3D software scene, Smartur3D is raising the ante with their unique value proposition.

Smartur3D produces interactive 3D models in K-12 STEM subjects. Smartur3D offers 150 models in biology,with other subjects (chemistry, physics, and geography) coming. These interactive 3D models can be used in flexible formats: in high-definition rendered 3D, stereo 3D, or even as an augmented reality overlay. Looking at the navigation menu, I immediately recognized that this content was built on the Unity game engine, offering some familiar commands and features (e.g., explode, disassemble, ‘glassy’ transparent mode, hiding elements, and reset). But that’s where the Smartur3D advantage (educational value proposition) comes into play. More advanced capabilities are offered, richer than what we have seen with the typical ‘exploratory’ nature of most 3D interactives. For example, students can label elements as opposed to the computer doing it; elements can be highlighted; a drawing tool enables annotation of elements; and a customization toolbar allows for personalized navigational choices.

There are other very powerful differentiators, as well, features that set Smartur3D apart from the crowd. Some of these features include on-the-fly image capture and recording of interactive events for lecture creation or reshowing in a later class. (The teacher can build an animation, annotate it, record what she is doing and saying, title it—and then save it for later replay.)

Smartur3D also permits overlaying augmented reality images on live video. (Only one other company has merged the stereo 3D and the augmented reality worlds effectively —zSpace.)  Smartur3D lets the educator take a 3D object from a 3D model and place it as an augmented reality overlay. It’s quite attention getting. (Think of it as embedding an augmented reality object over a live video scene of your own classroom of students, while they are watching.)

Another advantage offered by Smartur3D is simplicity and flexibility in installation. These are not small matters, as over-complexity and technical constraints become deal breakers for many schools. Smartur3D can be installed via a CD or network, put on high-end or low-end laptops or computers, and even displayed on projectors, 3D displays, or interactive white boards.

Since cost makes or breaks technology use for schools, Smartur 3D is also innovating in licensing. “We wanted a price point that even [emerging markets] could afford,” explained Neeraj Jewalkar  of Smartur3D. The price of the entire Smartur3D corpus for an entire school (not just one teacher), regardless of the size of school is $99 per year, per school.  “The whole idea is to create something that is affordable,” adds Jewalkar. “And despite the fact that it is already affordable, we are going to give away the first year of Smartur3D for free for a whole year for anyone who signs up.”

March 2, 2015

Is 3D Slowing Down?

Finally, in our last post in this series, let’s use Google Books Ngram Viewer to take a look at what’s been happening to 3D within a digital content publishing environment:

Although it looks like the steep expansion curve has halted, there is more to it. If you drill down individually on Russian, Spanish, French, and German language usage of the term “3D” in digital content, you can clearly see that the growth and interest is still booming. It’s chiefly the English-speaking world that is experiencing a declining trajectory for 3D as a cultural meme.  But we knew that already, in the U.S. And we know that growth in Asia, the Middle East, and South America remains festive.

Of course, there’s a lot more than can be done with Ngram Viewer to understand current memes, culturematics, and trends in your own ventures. For leaning about 3D, or any other potential topic, take a look at Ngram Viewer.

February 23, 2015

3D or 3-D or 3d?

In this post, we dive into Google Books Ngram Viewer to learn a little more about the 3D phenomeon. Ngram viewer does a clever job of tracking words, phrases, or letter combinations in books digitized by Google and giving us some unique insights on language and trends. These digital corpora are updated yearly, and currently Ngram Viewer houses more than five million books (through 2012).

Let’s begin by using Ngram Viewer to compare the frequency of use for the terms 3D and 3-D—appearing in books (fiction and non-fiction) over time. This will provide interesting insight about contemporary cultural memes (see interactive charts below):

3D versus 3-D

As one can see, based on a snapshot of fiction and non-fiction books, “3D” is rapidly replacing “3-D” as a norm. 

Similarly, “3D is also replacing the lower case “3d” in our modern lexicon, as shown below:

3D versus 3d

February 16, 2015

3D as Advantage

In our third post in this series about 3D in Turkey, and the story of Okulda3D, we delve into a critical point. 

In an age of unprecedented competition for student enrollment and dollars, schools everywhere need a comparative advantage. An edge. Enter Okulda3D. Part of the reason for their success in reaching schools is that they offered a sense of the upscale, something out-of-the-ordinary. To potential students and their parents, there is no doubt that their installations are perceived as offering something worthwhile, something attention getting, a form of non-vanilla education.  (See the pictures in our previous post as a clear example.) 

In the U.S., we tend to package new technologies (e.g., 3D) in old containers (traditional classroom settings). Doing so creates an uncomfortable overlay—strange bedfellows, if you will. Not so with Okulda 3D, operating in Istanbul. Okulda’s founder, Kerem Özdagistanli, has sold 3D education solutions to more than 250+ institutions in Turkey, with no end of that upwards spiral in sight. Why is Okulda so effective at promoting 3D well, so prolifically? It’s because they are promoting advantage. An advantage in learning. Aesthetic advantage. And 3D, of course, is its own advantage in education.

February 9, 2015

Doing 3D Well

 “To become the most successful integrator of educational 3D in the world takes moxie,” I wrote last week. I was describing Okulda 3D, operating in Istanbul. Okulda’s founder, Kerem Özdagistanli, has sold 3D education solutions to more than 250+ institutions in Turkey, with no end of that upwards spiral in sight. This begs two questions: “What does Okulda do that is so unique?” and “How does that differ from the work of others?”
In Search of the Secret Sauce
First, Okulda specializes. They concentrate on the 3D education. They have the know-how to make installations successful. “We do work with partners [like smartboard, furniture, projector, and computer companies], but we don’t sell anything else,” explains Mr. Özdagistanli. “We are experts, and we focus on our main business, the 3D education area.” He adds: [In Turkish culture] “it is common for many salespeople to claim that they can ‘do’ 3D: ‘We can do that also,’ is the refrain.” But they simply can’t do 3D as well, as successfully, or as stylishly, as Okulda.
It About Flair

The more I look at Okulda, the more I realize that they don’t sell vanilla 3D solutions. They sell 3D with flair. Call it what you want. Style. Verve. Dash. Panache. It’s 3D with a small touch of genius. First, it works. Second, these installations look good. Very good. It’s 3D with a certain flair. See some of their 250+ installation examples below, to understand what I am saying:

February 2, 2015

World’s Best Educational 3D Integrator (1)

There are a lot of good things happening with 3D across the world, yet I find that most of the great stories about 3D in classrooms somehow seem to fly under the radar. Yes, good things are in fact happening, but often no one knows about them. Rarely do successes get the broad recognition they deserve.  It's for that reason that I am continuing our 3D School Success Stories series once again

To become the most successful integrator of educational 3D in the world takes moxie. It also requires a great understanding of the educational customer, along with a firm handle on the technology itself.  Meet Kerem Özdagistanli, General Manager of OKULDA 3D in Turkey.
I have been studying this man’s effort for some years now, observing from afar. He is the real deal. An executive in a large firm, a number of years ago Mr. Özdagistanli grew restless. He needed to reach out, do more, and become more. He spent a year or so studying, preparing, and planning and then broke out on his own to create Okulda 3D, a serious 3D integration service for the education market in Istanbul. And there is no one better.
Kerem Özdagistanli. General Manager of Okulda3D
To date, Mr. Özdagistanli has sold 3D education solutions to more than 250 institutions in Turkey, with no end of that sales spiral in sight. (In Turkey, most of Okulda’s customer are “colleges.” They appear to be similar to large, multi-site K12 schools in the U.S. See this link to see the immense size of some of these customer institutions.) “Now, some schools are so satisfied working with us, that they decided all new colleges which are being built must have 3D Labs,” states Mr. Özdagistanli. Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words, so check out this customer website.
Most of the installations sold by Okulda are focused on science instruction. Their many customers currently utilize Xpand active glasses, DesignMate content, and proven hardware components, including BenQ. “As an integrator,” says Özdagistanli, “my most common problem is the high cost of hardware.” But with hundreds of already successful customer projects underway, he has earned the trust of the educators in Turkey. He adds: “When customers suggest us to other customers—that’s the best advertisement possible—so we are growing very fast.”
Mr. Özdagistanli believes that Turkey is now well positioned to be fertile soil for exploring the broader role of 3D in education, for producing hardware and content case studies, and for engaging in future 3D learning research.
I believe that Kerem Özdagistanli is the most successful integrator of educational 3D in the world. Now you know just a few of the reasons why I say this. In my coming posts , we will explore what Okulda does that is unique and how that differs from the work of other integrators. In a final post, we will unpack what the rest of the world can learn from Mr. Özdagistanli powerful strategies for promoting 3D in education. 

January 26, 2015

Future-Talk 3D Worldview

Добрый день      Bom dia   مرحبا   こんにち Bienvenidos

The Future-Talk 3D blog serves a diverse international audience interested in educational 3D. Our readers might be interested in seeing which countries were our top blog visitors during 2014. Based on web impressions for the 2014 calendar year, here is how the data shape up:

It is worthwhile to note that Russia has really picked up the pace this year; that, over the years, there is a relentless back-and-forth wrestling match between the other countries on this list; and that China moved into the top ten viewing countries for the first time, replacing Australia.

Are there any surprises here? Or are these just “the usual suspects?” What do you think? Please comment.

Of course, this chart only represents the top ten. Many hundreds of other visitors have frequented this blog, coming from countries all over the world. Future-Talk 3D blog has been visited by nearly every country in North, South, and Central America. The same is true for Europe; the entire Middle East is also broadly represented. Most of Asia has visited us, as well as more than 16 countries from Africa.  

I want to thank you for your deep and committed interest in 3D in education. Please write me, let me know what you are doing in your country. I would love to feature some interviews in 2015.

January 19, 2015

FT3D Word Cloud

Here’s a graphic word cloud of all the key words or themes in our Future-Talk 3D blog during the year 2014.  The more the word is found, the larger it appears in this word cloud. It's good to see what's most important--you can tell from its size! The word cloud is interactive, so explore a bit!

It’s quite interesting to visualize, in this way, the recurring themes and concepts that have emerged as memes from Future-Talk 3D this last year. It’s like putting your fingers on the pulse of what’s happening with educational 3D—and taking a read.

January 12, 2015

Editor's Choice

At the start of every new year, I thoughtfully highlight a single post or series from the previous year -- a post that didn't quite make it into our 2014 top ten, but offers an important educationally focused 3D message, nevertheless.

It's a post that carries the kind of message that I would hope readers would want to take time to carefully re-read and mull over. The post I recommend for Editor’s Choice this year is the two-part series Nevada State Flies High and Nevada State 2. Enjoy!

January 5, 2015

Best of Future-Talk 3D 2014

It’s been another thriving year for the Future-Talk 3D blog, so it is fitting to reflect on the most popular topical posts of 2014.  The top eight posts are presented below, in order of most web impressions received last year:

Actually, it’s quite thought provoking to speculate as to why these particular topics were “top of mind” in 2014 for the diverse international audience that regularly follows this blog. Certainly, these topics might be worthy of re-reading. Please let us know your hypothesis or thinking by posting a short comment.

December 29, 2014

Learning About 3D

In classrooms, educators use 3D for teaching difficult subjects. We call this visualization. In technology education or ICT classrooms, students employ 3D to create authentic products using the tools of the trade, e.g., 3D cameras, 3D video cameras, 3D scanners, and 3D design software. We call this student content creation. Increasingly, students are not only learning with 3D or creating 3D content—they are learning about 3D technology itself. 

The previous three posts in this series focus on the use Google Trends as a tools for learning about 3D in classrooms. (In a future post, I will also show how educators or business leaders can use another tool, Google Books nGram Viewer, to learn more about 3D.) 

These are simple examples, but Google Trends is a powerful tool for learning about 3D and for exploring 3D potential in the marketplace. Two additional resources will support your efforts to apply Google Trends in your own setting:

  1. See this support guide for using Google Trends and constructing/conducting effective Google Trend searches.
  2. See this article for ideas on how to use Google Trends to support your educational or business goals.

December 22, 2014

What's Hot in 3D?

In this week's post, let’s continue exploring Google Trends to learn more about 3D. This week's question is really interesting: “What are the topics that seem to be rising to the top in all of these 3D searches, as Google tracks them?”

Based on searches for each spelling (3-D or 3D), we can see some obvious and less than obvious trends:



December 15, 2014

Where is 3D?

In this post, let’s continue exploring Google Trends to learn about which countries appear to have more grassroots interest in 3D. Based on searches for each spelling (3-D or 3D), we can see some obvious and less than obvious trends:


Map Over Time:

What might this all mean? There aren’t many surprises here, but perhaps two require an explanation:

1) Turkey does indeed seem to be a hot spot these days for 3D popularity (see my new series on 3D in Turkey, starting in January
2) Romania. Well, Romania. I know Romania has an emerging 3D technology industry,, but my blog has experienced a lot of suspicious referrer spam from Romania. That makes sense when you think about it-- I recently attended an FBI briefing on cybercrime, and Romania was on the top of their black hat list, identified as the country with the most cybercrime activity.

3. Guess what? Using the modern “3D” search term instead of the rapidly disappearing anachronistic “3-D” spelling, the U.S. doesn’t even make the top ten list.

December 8, 2014

Is it 3D or 3-D?

One of the most useful tools for learning about 3D is Google Trends. Google Trends is a Google-based search utility that shows how frequently a search phrase is entered from various parts of the world.  Quoting from Wikipedia, “the horizontal axis of the main graph represents time (starting from 2004), and the vertical is how often a term is searched for relative to the total number of searches, globally.” Using Google Trends, a plethora of fruitful questions become possible exploration avenues:
  • Is 3D a more preferable spelling? Or is 3-D best? 
  • How often has either term been used in searches? 
  • What countries seem to offer the most interest in searching for information about 3D? 
  • What are the topics that seem to be rising to the top? 
  • How is 3D trending?
Let’s begin by exploring Google Trends to learn about the term '3D' itself. Comparing the terms 3D and 3-D—used as search terms over time—provides some interesting insight (see interactive charts below):
x x

What does this all mean? As you can see, the use of the spelling “3-D is on a downward spiral, while the use of the spelling “3D” has continued to find itself commonplace. Why is that? Probably because many editorial style guidelines have now standardized on “3D” as a simpler approach to referring to 3D, while losing nothing in the meaning. In the long run, simplicity always wins out over complexity in our lexicon.

Another possible interpretation of these data is that the “death of 3D” that we often hear about is clearly exaggerated. Interest in “all things 3D” is here to stay, although it still experiences its expected cyclical highs and lows.

December 1, 2014

In Schools: 3D Printing (3)

Signing Up for the “Printing in 3D” Marching Band
For those of you who are “all in” or just want to learn a bit more, here are a few more resources you can explore:

  • Read chapter seven of Gary Stager’s new book, Invent to Learn. Chapter seven is a valuable primer for the educational use of printing in 3D, one replete with ideas, obstacles, and solutions for moving printing in 3D forward within educational settings.
  • Also, scour the @3DPrinter site for news, ideas, and trends in this field.
  • Are you a visual learner? Check out this extremely informative infographic on 3D printing.

My sense of things is that this technology is not disbanding, like a tired, aging, small-town marching band. No, printing in 3D is going to grow, fill its ranks with energetic new recruits, begin quickstepping, and get bigger—drumming straight to the national competition of relevance—and beyond.