October 28, 2013

A New e-Book

Sensavis Visualization AB, the Stockholm-based 3D visualization company, recently released an e-book entitled “The Future of 3D Education: What every educator should know about 3D in the classroom.” This e-book features the latest research and information about 3D use in education. The e-book provides examples of successful implementation of 3D technology in the classroom and asks the key question: “Is it something that could work in your school?” In particular, the e-book explores such critical questions as:
  • How does 3D improve learning?
  • What is needed to make it successful in the classroom?
  • How does it affect the way teachers teach?
  • What benefits does it carry for promoting improved vision health?

This e-book does a very good job adding to 3D’s recent momentum in educational circles. It not only talks about the future of 3D in many educational contexts, it also explains to adults not familiar with stereo 3D that “this is not your childhood 3D.”

I am also impressed with its reference to the neuroscience that supports visual learning in education: “85% of students prefer visual and kinesthetic learning while only 15% prefer hearing about a topic as a way to learn about it.” 
If Future-Talk blog readers would like a copy of “The Future of 3D Education” e-book, just use this link to sign up up to receive a free copy:  http://the3dclassroom.com/ebook-offer/

Sensavis recently announced their flagship educational product, the 3D Classroom, their first foray into K12 education, so this e-book is timely in its release. Previously their work had concentrated 3D visualization in the corporate, university, and medical education fields.

October 21, 2013

The Tablet Context (4)

In our concluding post in this four-part series, I want to focus on where a tool like the NEO3DO fits in the grand scheme of education.

The Educational Context. In schools, mobility tools like tablets and iPads are clearly the most popular kids on the block. Educational conferences assign an inordinate amount of importance and mindshare time to these devices. In fact, all traditional educational computing has largely become ho-hum in the face of these eye-catching new arrivals. It seems everyone in education wants a piece of the mlearning revolution (mlearning = mobility learning). Although they have not yet replaced laptops and desktops in most schools, tablets and iPads are gaining ground in schools, making their way into pilot projects, shared classroom sets, the welcoming arms of innovative teachers and principals, and the desks of 1:1 schools that can afford them. The context is simple: in today’s educational environments, mobility tools matter.

The Content Context. Although there’s nothing wrong with the NEO3DO tool itself, I was discouraged by the content posture it poses. The company loaded some nice demos and loops for me to explore. That was appreciated. Thanks. But what the company doesn’t yet understand (yet soon will) is that schools have little respect for video, aka movies, flicks, cinema, film, entertainment, Hollywood, features. (A positive exception would be the short, focused video vignettes, like the well-known DesignMate resources.)
Within educational circles, the train has long since left the station in that regard. You will never widely sell a tool to schools on the basis of being able to see videos. Educators today want less passive and more active (interactive) experiences with mobility devices. They want students to be able to create, construct, design, or experience learning with mobility devices. Loops, movies and running demos just don’t cut it for demonstration purposes to educators. Anachronistic artifacts from the past century won’t do this device justice. Instead, we need to see 3D simulations and micro-simulations, 3D serious games, tethered and tightly focused 3D visualizations, and avenues for 3D content creation. (I am speaking specifically of stills, animation, shorts, and narrated machinimas.)  Now, the NEO3DO can do all the right things—but they are not yet loaded on it.

The Competitive Context. I am worried about NEO3DO’s competition. How will this tiny company fair against the likes of Apple, Microsoft, and Asus in school sales? Is autostereoscopic 3D enough to give them an edge? I believe this tool must be bundled with stellar content and steered by brilliant marketing strategy in order to carve a presence into the stubbornly resistant educational market.

October 14, 2013

What People Think (3)

What do people think about the glasses-free NEO3DO? It depends. Here is where my grand experiment has taken me thus far:

What Educators Think. Every educator I’ve shown this device to likes it, especially the autostereoscopic 3D part. The tablet gets their minds rolling with ideas and possibilities, heretofore unimaginable. The most excited educator was a large-district STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) coordinator. That makes sense. I also demonstrated the NEO3DO to the entire instructional technology leadership team (6 people) from a large urban school district on the east coast. They too liked what they saw.

What non-educators think. I have also been taking time to show the NEO3DO to non-educators. Lawyers, middle school kids, elementary school kids, college students, homemakers, business people, investors, grandmas. Here in the U.S. and in Puerto Rico. In each case, it was certainly their first experience with autostereoscopic 3D. They all liked the NEO, but had different interests in terms of how to use it: 3D movies. Look at cute boys in 3D concerts. Glasses-free enjoyment. Just having a low-cost android tablet. Enjoying the untethered freedom of portability. Again, looking at cute boys in 3D. Games du jeur. Making 3D, not just consuming 3D. I'm guessing that such diversity of perceived uses is a positive sign indeed.

October 7, 2013

Glasses-free Test Drive (2)

I’ve been working feverishly with the NEO3DO, examining it from an educator’s perspective and showing it to folks everywhere I go.  As a result, I’ve learned quite a lot. Here’s what I know so far: It works. It works very well. In fact, the most telling and consistent phenomenon I have experienced while showing the NEO3DO to educators and non-educators alike is the common reaction I see: a physical reflex reaction from folks who jerk their heads back in astonishment, peer more closely, point, or pose an enchanted second take in utter disbelief. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is taken back at what they see before them. 
Clyde Dsouza, in his seminal book Think in 3D, suggests that “the ability of 3D to influence people has still not been studied.” He reminds us that 3D is “a powerful phenomenon that can even activate our physical reflexes.” That’s what NEO3DO seems to do for people. It makes them flinch in delight. For me, it resulted in a pleasurable head rush of visual Elysium.

Enough slobbbering, however. This is a good implementation for educational purposes. A full-featured, low-cost Android tablet that does it all: ebooks, browsing, hi-def visuals, educational apps, work on-the-go. Good for reading, writing, research, media viewing, simulation, and gamification. Smooth finger controls, by the way. Oh, and did I mention it offers rich autostereoscopic (glasses-free) 3D to boot? From an educational perspective, this tool offers all the basics plus a bright future.