August 26, 2013

Students in Charge

There are good things happening with educational 3D across the country, yet most of the great stories about 3D in classrooms somehow seem to fly under the radar. No one knows about them. That’s because educators rarely toot their own horn; it’s also because the education industry is highly isolated and successful programs are often geographically pigeonholed. Rarely do successes get the broad recognition they deserve.  Here is another 3D School Success Story

In a Fort Collins middle school late last spring, eighteen students gave 3D presentations, making the case to the school faculty that 3D should be used more in teaching throughout the school. Dennis Cafiero, the president of Presente3D—a 3D plug in for PowerPoint—attended the student presentations, and a day later, I joined him to sit down with the students in a roundtable discussion. The lead teachers—and magnificent teachers they were indeed—facilitated the robust discussion. During the roundtable, students asked a flurry of questions about 3D, tapping into both the industry insights of Cafiero and my own perspectives.
Preston Middle School, Fort Collins, CO
First, let’s take a brief look at the school. Preston Middle School is a neighborhood STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) school serving roughly nine hundred and twenty students from 6th to 8th grade.  Cutting edge technology implementation drives learning throughout the building.   Most classrooms have interactive SMART Boards.  Many hundreds of netbooks are available for student use.  A video conferencing system allows students to interact with experts around world.  Two years ago, Preston received a grant for a 3D passive system.  A group of staff members researched, interviewed 3D experts and built a 3D room. 

After students began developing, using and enjoying 3D PowerPoint presentations in class, they decided to propose expanding its use to the entire school. The entire experience was remarkable and rejuvenating. I left with even higher confidence in our future generations and the talented, hard-working teachers that form relationships with them. I wanted to share this remarkable experience with you. The funniest story was how one student turned his presentation into 4D--by throwing a live snake into the audience during his 3D presentation on snakes!

3D student presentations at Preston Middle School

Cafiero answering student questions at Preston

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