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3D for Classroom Learning

3D is not just for movies and entertainment anymore.  It is now used to enhance classroom learning.  Computer generated 3D animation, originally developed for the general entertainment industry, is now applied to education in the classroom to enhance learning.  “Avatar,” the movie, broke all box office records and established a new level of sophistication in 3D imaging. The use of 3D in the classroom has emerged in the past 12 months and offers enormous potential as a tool in teaching and learning. Special projectors create two pictures, one for the “left” eye and one for the “right” eye.  They are then combined with 3D glasses, to create a 3D effect.


Why is 3D important?  Children find it hard to understand what is not visible. Visual learning improves the student’s understanding.  By seeing the whole of something, children are able to understand the parts. Students have a strong preference for seeing and doing, rather than just listening. One student stated it succinctly: “Teachers talk a lot and you just sort of tune out, but when you see things it is there and suddenly it all makes sense.”


Complex concepts become more easily understood when presented visually. 3D animated models are able to represent information in an easy manner, make learning easier and improve comprehension. Animation allows children to see structures and to see how things work. It makes it possible for them to move rapidly from the whole structure to various parts of the structure, including to the microscopic and cellular levels.


Since 3D is more “real” it has a greater effect on learning and retention. These highly vivid experiences make the learning very captivating to the senses. Pupils in the 3D class are more likely to recall detail and retain information longer. Test scores of children who learned in a 3D classroom showed a marked improvement over those learning in traditional classrooms, indicating that children understood things better. Teachers agreed that the pupils discovered new things in 3D learning that they did not know before. The teachers commented that the pupils in the 3D groups had deeper understanding, increased attention span, more motivation and higher engagement.


In order to be able to see in 3D, the individual must not only be able to see individual letters on a testing chart, but they must be able to easily point their eyes together. If they point their eyes in front of or beyond the screen, viewing 3D images can potentially create eyestrain and headaches.  Dizziness is a common symptom of difficulty in using the two eyes together as a team. 


Fortunately, these conditions respond well to treatments afforded by a comprehensive eye exam that goes beyond just prescribing eyeglasses and eye health. It must include testing for tracking skills and the ability to maintain fixation. Additionally, it must include testing for eye teaming and eye focusing.  If someone can’t physically focus, it then is difficult to mentally focus. As an added benefit the treatments will additionally assist the child in most reading and learning tasks.


Dr. S. Moshe Roth, Optometric Physician, practices at Family Eye Care, in Old Bridge.  He is Board Certified in Vision Development and Therapy. He sees patients of all ages, for treatment of eye diseases as well as for vision problems, particularly those that affect learning. Lic# 4635 OM# 27OM0005600.  Dr. Roth is a popular speaker with parents and professional groups and may be reached at 1-732-679-2020.