May 30, 2011

BVS3D Case Study

The BVS3D case study in 3D teaching and learning began with a call for participation to all Boulder Valley schools. Schools submitted competitive applications; leaders from the district curriculum division selected the final participants based on specific criteria. Four schools were chosen, representing three different grade levels, involving eight total classrooms. The case study was officially launched in March 2010 and evolved into three distinct phases of research:

Phase 1: The discovery phase (March – June 2010)
Phase 2: The maturing phase (August 2010 – February 2011)
Phase 3: The formal research phase (March – May 2011)

In this posting, we will briefly highlight the gleanings from our "kick start" discovery phase, which was very brief. This phase had limited exposure for teachers and students to 3D learning resources for several reasons. The 'discovery' time was used to:
  • set up, learn, and troubleshoot the hardware, software, and glasses used for 3-D instruction; 
  • review, evaluate, and match available 3-D software resources to our district curriculum essentials;
  • explore, test, and begin to integrate stereoscopic 3D content in the classroom.
In the initial discovery phase of the BVS3D case study, the following findings, informal in nature, were clearly and consistently evident:

high school classrooms

  • high student interest
  • the ability for students to focus on the learning target, and not be distracted, was noted
  • sustained focus (over long periods of time) on classroom content was regularly evident
elementary school classrooms
  • high student interest
  • livelier student-initiated discussions about the learning content were strongly evidenced, as compared with traditional or typical classroom levels of discussion and curiosity
  • solid retention (49%) two weeks after a lesson, as compared with  past experience (usually in the 20-30% range, depending on the child). This informally constructed pre-/post-test experiment consisted of five questions, half of which required higher-order thinking.]
day treatment center classrooms
  • high student interest
  • positive effects on student behavior were consistently observed
middle school classrooms
  • there were no findings at the middle level; this site did not receive their equipment until the following fall
Although these phase 1 results were informally collected and fairly ‘soft’ in nature, they are still quite informative and useful. They represent the first order of mental metrics that play out in the minds of teachers as they evaluate new technologies for potential use in classroom instruction. If teachers don't see these simple evidences, it is doubtful that they will continue to use the technology at all.

In the next posting, we will take a close look at our BVS3D phase 2 results.

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