June 20, 2011

Findings from Phase 2 (Part 3)

Our final Phase 2 BVS3D findings were school-specific. These findings emerged from classroom-based action research efforts that also helped target and focus the more rigorous Phase 3 evaluation being planned.

High school classrooms
Two interesting findings emerged from our high school action research efforts, which were characterized by much more aggressive data collection efforts:
  • Using a 3D lesson (the only variable changed in the instruction) in AP biology classes, our lead teacher saw a small achievement bump of 11% in the essay component of an AP Biology unit test on cell parts and active/passive transport (as compared with historical performance levels).
  • A 76% favorable survey rating by students, indicating their preference for 3D learning over traditional learning experiences. 

 Middle school classrooms
Again, our pilot middle school received its equipment later in the project cycle. As a result, at this stage we only received anecdotal comments that the students were really “excited about it” and “understood [classroom] concepts better.” This middle school fully participated in Phase 3 of the case study, so concrete results will be forthcoming in late June or July.

Elementary school classrooms
At the elementary school level, the use of stereoscopic 3D in three 4th grade classrooms was extremely limited due to the lack of educational content for lower grade levels. Still, using some very appropriate 3D math simulations, two interesting findings emerged:
  • 3D lessons in math can be easily and successfully conducted simultaneously with desk-based, hands-on activities and manipulatives. (For example, students replicated visual lessons with acetate sheets at their desks, as teachers manipulated the 3D imagery on the screen. Also, 3D in-hand replicas of 3D screen imagery were manipulated simultaneously at student desks.) It was felt that 3D instruction was even more effective with these activities, than without them.
  • Preliminary evidence revealed that 3D lessons may indeed have a positive impact on reducing stubborn achievement gap problems: historically struggling students experienced two-and-a-half times the gains on informal post-test measures than other students.

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