Wednesday, June 23, 2010

3D TV – A New Learning Environment

I was out shopping with my wife Shelley on Monday.  It was our 25th anniversary – wow, time flies.  Anyway, while she disappeared into the Coquitlam Centre mall, I decided to check out 3D TV’s Sony BRAVIA 40in Future Shop.  I am totally impressed with the 1st generation products, especially the amazingly thin LED versions.  Apparently you can hang them on the wall like a picture frame!

So, I was wondering…  how might this technology evolve?  Where might it show up next?  And how can teachers and students use it for the enhancement, or transformation, of learning?  I wrote a post a few weeks back Welcome to your life in 2020 where I speculated about a learning holodeck / virtual reality experience and another Technology, People, and Learning where I wondered about applying Disney Imagineer’s magic to learning design.  Perhaps both posts are a little “out there” but I suggest that 3D TV technology will become mainstream within laptops, netbooks, tablet/pads, and computer monitors.  I am willing to bet this will be the case in the next five years.

Assuming this is true, the types of immersive learning environments that learning design experts (teachers and students) will be capable of creating will be remarkably engaging, compelling, and realistic.  Think online learning on steroids!  Likely these 3D true to life environments will be participatory.  For example, students may don 3D glasses and head phones and through Wii like control enter a Social’s unit on old world Quebec in Canada where they meet historical characters, such as Samuel de Champlain founder of Quebec City.  Students can ask the characters an array of questions and have a dialogue about history.  Perhaps they can visit a Maple tree farm and learn about and try out the historical and modern methods of extracting Maple syrup.  Or, a small group of grade 5 students can enter a 3D world consisting of geometric shapes that they can manipulate, learn about lines of symmetry, discover properties of fractions, etc.  Compared to the text, static picture, video, white board, smart board alternatives, I think students might really connect to their learning through this approach.

Recent history has taught us that through the effects of Moores Law, the power of computing machines continues to double while the costs divide by half.  This effect turns “magic” into products and places them in the hands of the masses.  What seems impossible today, is reality just around the corner.  I think 21st century breakthroughs like 3D immersive interactive worlds built-in to digital learning devices will put all kinds of experiential learning in the reach of all students and teachers.  It’s just a matter of time…