The lights are down and the lunar eclipse video is playing, but there is talking. The students in Holli Hillman’s fourth-grade class shushed the adults for talking. They wanted to hear the 3D video, said Cedar Creek Community School student Preston Channer.
The kids love the stereoscopic 3D system, which the class has been testing since January, Hillman said.
The special projector and 3D glasses create an image that extends from the screen, she said.
“It’s exciting. It’s cool to look at stuff that appears to be in front of you,” Channer said.
With 883 videos covering various K-12 topics, the videos are a great way to enhance the curriculum, Hillman said.
In the fall, Hillman’s class studied the life cycle of water and its three different phases.
Each student keeps a journal of class projects and after the students viewed the 3D water life cycle video in January, Hillman compared the two entries.
The virtual field trip took the students through the water life cycle and gave them a deeper understanding on the concept, she said.
The images they drew after the video were much more detailed and colorful and their understanding on the process was deeper, Hillman said.
Her students “drew images that were much more actual and their terminology was more rich,” she said.
The 3D video provides the students with an experience that textbooks, sketches or pictures cannot provide, Hillman said.
Isabelle Leibel’s favorite video is on the respiratory system.
“It shows you all the different parts of the lungs and what causes asthma. You get to see all the angles, unlike a picture,” she said.
It is really shows the inside the system, Leibel said.
Seeing the videos helps student Hope LaZerte remember the information better.
Posters on the wall don’t move. The 3D video helps her remember the topic and visualize it at a later time, she said.
Hillman’s student have viewed numerous videos, lasting from one to five minutes, on diseases, human organ systems, fish, astronomy and medical topics, like fractures.
Her students’ favorite is the “Principles of Matter,” which they have seen 10 to 15 times since January, Hillman said.
“They could probably narrate it word-for-word,” she said.
While Hillman does not use the 3D video every day, her students would not mind if she did.
“They ask me daily if we get to view 3D,” Hillman said on her blog.
“It’s better because it pops out and it’s exciting to see it,” said student Cameron Erickson.
Hillman was introduced to 3D videos as a learning enhancement at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference last June in San Diego, Calif.
“The visualization and the excitement that I experienced (viewing it at the conference) I knew would be hundred times greater with the kids,” she said.
“I knew it would help my kids understand the concepts so much better.”
Having the image extend from the screen provides deeper comprehension, she said.
After researching the process and reviewing the material available through Designmates India, Hillman was able to convince her school and district administration to allow her to introduce the 3D system as a pilot project.
Among the things Hillman needed were the $600 projector, which allows the image to be see the same from any position in the room, and the 3D glasses, which were $45 each.
With all the supplies, the project cost $2,000, Hillman said.
Designmates is providing the videos free of charge for the duration of the pilot project, which ends in June, she said.
Hillman said she is hoping that by fall the school will have selected 3D videos that will help enhance existing curriculum for other teachers to use.
Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]