November 28, 2011

Johnny Depp Can't See 3D

You may not know it, but Johnny Depp is unable to see 3D movies.  Read more about that here. But that hasn’t stopped him from producing Hugo, the best breakthrough 3D movie I have seen since Avatar. Directed by the renowned Martin Scorsese, I can only suggest you run (not walk) to a theater and see this movie. 

Many of my friends and relatives recently have stopped going to 3D movies, citing visual dullness, drab conversions, and minimal negative parallax, but this powerful film demonstrates the type of creativity that will certainly bring the doubters back.  This film, based on the Caldecott award winning book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, employs 3D for distinct artistic and visual advantage, a remarkable feat. It features extraordinary 3D portal views, multiple layers of positive parallax, and positive parallax that is almost as good as negative parallax. And one more thing. The movie successfully revives, after an uncomfortable drought, the beauty and importance of negative parallax.  

In the film, one of the lead characters reminisces that movies are “like seeing dreams in the middle of the day.” The artistic use of 3D in this film makes that statement an even truer observation. Incidentally, this movie was so enthralling that the audience sat quietly and listened to the closing score well through the credits. The audience, young and old, was too stunned and enchanted to unseat themselves. (There is some research evidence that 3D visual effects are greatly enhanced by a rich audio experience.)

This movie shows what is possible for the future of 3D, and for the future of 3D in education. I will write about that in a future post. For now, take time to be delighted. See the movie.

November 21, 2011

Give Me Three!

I am not suggesting that the American Optometric Association has settled on an official mascot for their 3D educational platform, but some of their latest PR products are certainly child-friendly. Picture a cute frog:

And that’s not all. I love their new stickers, which carry the themes “Give Me Three!” or “I See 3.” Note the three froggie fingers. And the cool glasses. You get it!  Kids will love these, and that same time it will promote awareness for the importance of both 3D and healthy vision.

If you want to get ahold of some of these stickers or posters and such, they can be ordered through the AOA online store.  Non-members need to register – the URL above goes directly to the registration page. Another option is to go to and hit the online store tab at the top, right side of the page. After registering, you will be quickly ushered to the ordering page, which looks like this:
Ordering Froggies
I ordered mine! A must-have collector’s item! In our next post, we’ll explain why this message is so important and much more than artful marketing…

November 14, 2011

A 3D Salute

Kristin Donley,
2012 Colorado Teacher of the Year
and 3D Educator

Described by students as "better than an encyclopedia and the Internet," Monarch High School biology teacher Kristin Donley was recently named the 2012 Colorado Teacher of the Year.

Why is this important in the world of 3D? You see, Kristin, was one of the nation’s first 3D educators. She was a lead teacher in the BVS3D case study, a lead teacher informing the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) See Well, Learn Well report, and has provided captivating presentations at ISTE and technology conferences over the last two years.  She is a talented and influential force in shaping what the 3D classroom is and ought to be. This honor is doubly important. It confirms that teaching with 3D is not a fringe activity—it is a technological tool used by our nation’s best, brightest, and most creative teaching professionals. Kristin represents the long line of creative teachers who have been drawn to the promise of 3D in teaching and learning, not to mere hyperbole or technology fads.  Megan McDermott, a Colorado Department of Education spokeswoman, agrees: "The award is quite prestigious—the recipient becomes the Colorado nominee for National Teacher of the Year."

Monarch students honor Donley
in an all-school assembly.
Kristin Donley received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder and has been teaching for 17 years, with 10 of those years at Monarch High School, in picturesque Louisville, Colorado. She is surrounded by many equally talented peers, but we take this time to honor her singular talent and dedication. Congrats!

November 7, 2011

3D Jedi Conclusion (3)

Concluding our series on North Carolina’s 3D Jedi, (see post 1 and post 2), it is fair to say that Epps has not made it this far without solid commitment from his community. Epps notes: “The BRAC Regional Task Force, which is a base realignment and closure group (an organization closing bases across the country, consolidating troops, and relocating them to new areas) led the initial effort by funding our previous program, placing 3D labs in eleven high schools.” And now, BRAC is ramping up their investment. “BRAC aims to further shape the educational landscape of the 21st Century” by expanding and adding more content and equipment, totaling thirty-one systems in eleven counties.

As a result of Epps’ G.R.E.A.T. 3D Academy, some local business leaders have also changed their perspective about education: instead of thinking that schools should be producing a traditional workforce, they now believe that high schools are capable of producing a highly skilled workforce. Again, Ben Dibble reflects that his work in producing stereo 3D as a student “helped me become very independent and, at the same time, it taught me to work with a group. It taught me not to wait for opportunities to open up, but instead make my own.“ Given the current STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education challenges we face, Jeff Epps appears to be well along the road toward producing a highly marketable workforce, while investing in his state’s own and most promising resource—its potential-rich youth.

Epps' project is not without significant challenges, however. “We’re looking for more business leaders as partners,” he indicates. “We need assistance from the engineering community to help expose students to the engineering experience—we need internship opportunities for our student once they become comfortable using 3D design software.” He is not only seeking physically close internships, but also remote internships. “I need people that can video conference with our students, look at their content, and challenge our interns to improve their work.” He is also looking for laptops to put in the hands of students. “When those kids get laptops in their hands, they take them home; while they’re at home, they’re doing more. We find that they actually do extra work without complaining.”  Epps is also hoping to find more modern 3D content development software. (If your organization is interested in partnering with Epps, field testing products, or recruiting his growing army of students, please consider contacting Director Epps at

It is becoming clear that not all 3D content development will emerge solely from creative production houses. Student-created content will soon become a disruptive element in the content development market. For that reason, I’ve always advised 3D content development companies to develop a simple authoring tool for student use. Then, I suggest they begin to strategically tap into this growing developer community well before it begins to tap into their revenues