June 6, 2011

Findings from Phase 2 (Part 1)

During Phase 2 of the BVS3D project, much of our time was spent developing the initial research questions and selecting content for the final research study. Concurrently, our teachers were busy testing a growing collection of stereoscopic 3D content in their lessons, hoping to learn as much as they could about teaching with 3D.

Our Phase 2 findings came from the intentional classroom-based action research efforts of our talented teaching staff. At this stage, our efforts were informal and lacked rigorous controls, but the results were still quite informative. Our Phase 2 findings helped further aim and focus the more rigorous Phase 3 evaluation that was yet to come.

In the second phase of the BVS3D case study, the following general findings were clearly and consistently evident across all schools:

Higher levels of student engagement and interest
‘Engagement’ is a fuzzy concept, so a more precise operational definition of student engagement slowly began to emerge from Phase 2 of our case study. In our environment, across all grade levels, ‘engagement’ involved increased attention to subject matter (focus), longer sustained focus on difficult materials (attention span), and improved student behavior, as defined by less behavior incidents per lesson (classroom discipline).

Favorable reactions by students
For example, a high school survey revealed a 76% favorable rating by students, indicating their preference for 3D learning over traditional learning experiences. Elementary, middle school, and special education feedback was similarly positive.

Greater student clarity in understanding abstract concepts
In this case, it is best to let the students speak for themselves:
-   “It provided a better visualization than the textbook.”
-   “It helped to see a 3D view of things; it was easier for me to picture it and understand the structure.”
-   "The 3D really helps me learn and visualize complex structures and processes.  I love seeing what is actually going on to the cellular level.”
-   "These 3D videos do help me learn it easier, especially because I'm a visual learner.  Seeing what is going on is much more helpful than just talking about it.  Especially because it's in 3D—it’s literally in front of you."

    In our next two postings, we will break down our Phase 2 
    findings specifically for each school or program.

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