June 29, 2015

Beyond the Wow

Top of mind for most leaders, when considering large technology expenditures, is the notion of return on investment (ROI).  For educators, return on investment appears too murky and difficult to measure, at least at first blush. Educational institutions rarely invest in capital, sell widgets, and then earn a profit.

Enter the close cousin of ROI: cost avoidance. In this line of thinking, costs can either be reduced or avoided. There are both hard costs and soft costs that can be reduced. Cost avoidance can make a technology investment well worth the money spent, often carving out savings from existing limited resources or expenditures.

Cost avoidance can appeal to educators. You are starting to speak their language.  Yes, you can use 3D to promote “engagement,” “wow factor,” or technical wizardry as your primary value message—but nothing quite sells as well as cost avoidance. In next week’s post, we will learn how cost avoidance works in educational 3D. Stay tuned.

June 22, 2015

ISTE in Depth

The ISTE 3D network has a very detailed list of the 3D-related sessions being offered at the upcoming ISTE 2015 conference in Philadelphia. Take a look: SESSIONS.

We hope to see all of you there!

June 15, 2015

3D's plus one (2)

Well, the survey results from last week’s post are in and the winner for the symbiote-most-likely-to succeed as 3D’s plus-one is… gesture control.  Does gesture control in fact hold promise as 3D’s plus-one, at least in the educational market? Apparently, it does. At last year's ISTE 2014 educational conference a demonstration booth offered by Leap Motion drew outsized crowds, along with the prerequisite oohs and ahhs, while demonstrating gesture control with known 3D modeling and visualization software. See the example below:

Hold on, now! Not so fast! I don’t agree with the tech heads and gadget geeks on this one. The Leap Motion Booth was indeed a sexy proposition as 3D’s potential plus-one, but my instinct says this was merely a gadget crush. In the education market, delivery outscores feature set:
Imagine being able to deliver stereo 3D via the Internet, enabling 3D companies to dispense with the complexity, copy protection, installation, and reinstallation schemes that so agitate customers. Putting 3D in the cloud will simplify the storage, delivery, and frequent refresh of 3D learning objects and simulations

Is internet delivery of 3D a chimera? I know of several companies working on this, and I can’t get sufficient information from them. It looks like we won’t know 3D’s plus-one until it really shows up.

June 8, 2015

3D’s plus-one

The growth trajectory of 3D may not accelerate to the degree desired without help from other, complementary technologies. 3D’s plus-one, if you will.  Only by joining 3D together in symbiosis with other enabling technologies will it be hoisted into commercial and educational prominence.

The German mycologist Heinrich Anton de Bary explained symbiosis as “the living together of unlike organisms.” In the field of life sciences, symbiosis is defined as a close and prolonged association between different organisms of different species that in some way benefit each other. In a sociological or psychiatric context, it refers more to a relationship of mutual benefit or dependence. And in modern business culture, we often refer to a memeplex, a combination of ideas that is more likely to survive and thrive together than apart.

In order to truly achieve its potential, I believe 3D will not stand on its own. The future rests with 3D’s plus-one.

In a recent survey of business leaders, I challenged folks to vote on several nominations for the most receptive combinations as a 3D symbiont in the education space. I provided these five voting options:

3D + Gesture Recognition. “The eyes and hands have it.” Envision combining stereo 3D with the ability to control objects, navigation, or actions via natural hand gestures.
3D + the Cloud. “The cloud has left the building.” Imagine being able to deliver stereo 3D via the Internet, enabling 3D companies to dispense with the complexity, copy protection, installation, and reinstallation schemes that so agitate customers. Putting 3D in the cloud will simplify the storage, delivery, and frequent refresh of 3D learning objects and simulations.
3D + Volumetrics. “Dispensing with the fourth wall.” Imagine 3D combined with volumetrics, dissolving the barrier of the fourth wall and presenting  a new type of “circle 3D” or near-holography.  (See the MiCoy Corporation for one group that has patented solutions in this area.)

3D + 4K. “Okay—it sounds like a math equation—I get it.” Nonetheless, will the combination of stereo 3D and the stark realism of a 4K resolution display produce the crowds and clamor we all hope for?
3D + Other. “3D done your way.” Perhaps there is another technology that makes sense as a symbiont with stereo 3D. What would you suggest?

Which combination won the day? Come back next week for the results. 

June 1, 2015

Fireworks at ISTE 2015

The groundwork is just now being laid for the June ISTE 2015 educational technology conference, with the fireworks taking place in Philadelphia this year. Last year, this conference was enjoyed by more than 16,800 attendees. (It is known as the largest ed-tech soiree in the U.S.) Last year’s conference evidenced a solid 3D in education presence (twenty one presentations plus fourteen 3D-related vendors), and this year’s program suggests the same positive trending. 

Inside sources reveal that the ISTE 2015 conference will offer twenty-three 3D related sessions: five in the arena of designing in 3D, including game design; five focusing on stereo 3D; four on visualization using rendered 3D; and nine sessions on 3D printing (3D printing gets the numbers edge this year, for the first time.) A sampling of the featured session titles includes:
  • Learn 3D Modeling in One Hour
  • Promising Technologies, Creativity & Teaching: Ten Solutions to Take Away
  • 3D Network Showcase: Designing, Visualizing, and Making in 3D
  • Virtual Reality in the Classroom: Simulations using the Oculus Rift
  • C-R-A-Z-Y New 3D Resources
  • Creating 3D virtual living spaces to promote sustainable development
  • Depth-defying Learning: Exploring the Top Ten 3D Developments
  • Teach 3D Game Design in One Week
  • 3D Print Your Classroom

ISTE’s recently formed special interest group or personal learning network (PLN)—the 3D Network—will also continue its educational advocacy for all things 3D. This group is expected to raise the decibel level of 3D in education by again hosting their popular membership open house, offering an annual meet-and-greet demonstration event, and sponsoring a first-time panel presentation at the conference. 

No doubt, many 3D-related exhibitors will also make their presence known on the ISTE 2015 expo floor this year—newcomers and the familiar folks alike. Companies wishing to have a presence at the 3D Network meet-and-greet demonstration event—in person or with literature—should contact this author sooner rather than later.