August 22, 2011

What's In a Name?

Throughout this blog, there is an ongoing debate thread about what 3D is and what it is not. You can follow that thread by reviewing any of the links below:
3D @ ISTE 2011
Whether talking to parents, teachers, friends, relatives, professors, or casual acquaintances—it has become clear that the term 3D means different things to different people. Some think 3D is evidenced in Google Earth, when you zoom in to view a 3D-rendered scene; some think it is one of the 3D-like video games they play on their Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii; others think it’s nothing more than designing a 3D object using AutoCAD or SolidWorks; and still others see 3D as simply an entertaining app running on their Droid or iPhone.  Even more people feel 3D best describes an immersive virtual world such as Second Life. Sadly, none of these is what we mean by stereoscopic 3D. 

But this lack of shared understanding is now getting in the way. It’s getting in the way of teachers trying to explain it to principals; it’s standing in the way of resellers trying to sell 3D to education decision makers; and it remains a stubborn obstacle obstructing the pathway of 3D content providers trying to explain their visually rich offerings to all of the above-mentioned groups. So, in this and a short series of coming posts, we will attempt to conjure up a common language about what 3D is—with a surprise ending—how educational 3D is different, still.

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