Unfortunately, it’s time for another 3D myth busters posting, with the same hopes of correcting “some persistent inaccuracies, lest they lend themselves to the unfortunate role of myth-building.”
On September 7th, I noticed an article published in the venerated Wall Street Journal: “Coming Soon to Schools: Dissecting Frogs in 3D.” And then today, this news broadcast hit my email. I’d like to simply and briefly address three misconceptions:
“There are no health problems…as long as videos are kept to increments of 5-10 minutes.”
“No one wants to make our kids guinea pigs with new technologies”
So in the interest of further myth busting, here’s the truth, unembellished and straight up:
- Most educational 3D videos are already short in length (4 minutes on average—please refer to last week’s post). And classroom teachers don’t show 3D movies; they may use 3D vignettes or in-class simulations. Based on the See Well, Learn Well national health report being released in the first week of October, the only recommendation is to avoid showing 3D content for an entire class period, allowing the eyes to readjust to normal during the last ten minutes in class. There is no scientific evidence requiring such restrictive time limits (5-10 minutes) on viewing stereo 3D either in the classrooms, at the movies, or at home.
- Over my 37 year career in education, most often at the very vanguard of educational technology, I have kids have never seen kids become guinea pigs. Schools, teachers and classrooms take on the roles of pioneers, early adopters, followers, or late adopters. All is undertaken for the direct benefit of student learning.
- Costs are rapidly coming down. When I saw my first stereo 3D classroom in a community college 7 years ago, the cost of the project was $44,000 and funded by a federal grant. Three years ago, the cost fell to $15,000 per classroom in an Illinois school district. Two years ago, the cost approached $10,000 per classroom. At the start of our project in Boulder, I estimated the cost at much less than $7,500 per classroom ($4,500 without any software included). 3D glasses cost $150 a pair two years ago, and this summer I saw 3D active glasses offered in the low 30’s. Within two years, I expect the cost will approach approximately $2,500 a classroom, including software. (And remember one system was shared by 3 classrooms in one of our schools, by the way). Can you see the cost trajectory here? This happens with all cutting edge technologies, as they trace their pathway from innovation to systematic adoption. Costs come down.