If you look at 3D in education across country, almost all implementations involve isolated, individual schools. These pioneer 3D-using sites are often magnet, STEM-focused, private, charter, or otherwise impassioned schools that simply caught the vision and saw the potential for 3D visualization in learning.
In some U.S. school districts, mobile 3D carts have been purchased for every school, but almost all of these ‘district’ efforts have grown quiet, languishing due to lack of vision, training, and leadership. In my opinion, you cannot simply “buy 3D” and throw it loosely into classrooms; rather, effective and log-lasting 3D programs must be seeded, grown, nurtured, and cultivated. Above all, they must be led.
The St. Francis school district 3D project may well be the only successful district-level implementation of 3D learning in the U.S. Certainly, this group of forward-thinking educators offers key strategies for successfully pursuing district-wide implementation of 3D in almost any setting. What we can learn from this district will help all of us better support, sustain, and leverage future 3D initiatives in schools.
The St. Francis project began in a single school, in a single fourth grade classroom. But this last year, it was extended to all of the other schools in this innovative district. How did they do it? In our next blog posts, we unpack some of the keys to success for scaling educational 3D.