In recent 3D pilot projects in Sweden, teachers have been pushing the 3D envelope with sheer intensity. I wanted to drill down and unpack how teachers were actually teaching with 3D in these new trials, and what we could learn from them. The results of my investigation were enlightening.
The Vällingbyskolan 3D Trials
According to F. Boström, the school principal leading the case study, teachers involved in the Vällingbyskolan 3D trials thoughtfully used 3D visualization in classrooms to:
- quickly catch student interest
- show biological phenomena from differing angles and perspectives than normally viewed
- design new and original lessons, outside of the constraints and predictability of typical lesson delivery
- reduce reliance on text for instruction
More importantly, these creative Vällingbyskolan educators also pushed existing boundaries by employing stereo 3D to:
- evoke new questions from students in the areas of natural science, social science, and bioethics
- put their own words to the images shown instead of depending on recorded text and narration
- nimbly flip back and forth—between stereo 3D visualizations, film clips, writing on the board, and class discussions—while allowing students to figure out by themselves how biological systems work and express that in their own words
As you explain 3D to educators, what language are you using? Wow factor, engagement, and excitement are common marketing slogans (all taken from commercial websites), but none of these terms communicate the real advantages of using 3D in the classroom. I prefer the functional descriptions provided by Fredrik Boström.