GLOVERSVILLE – While 3-D technology has been captivating thousands at the box office for a number of years, the technology has also made its way into the classrooms at Gloversville Middle School.
The district has been borrowing the 3-D AV Rover for the last three weeks and using it in a variety of health and science classes to boost the students’ educational experience and bring excitement to the standard lesson plans, Science Department Chair Richard Douglas said.
Despite the high-tech projector, special glasses and stand costing around $50,000, the district has been able to use the educational tool free of charge thanks to a program through the Northeastern Regional Information Center, officials said.
“It’s interactive, it’s fun and it uses technology that excites the students,” Douglas said about the projector’s benefits. “When I first started teaching at Estee, the educational technology we had to excite the students was an old projector where the students would volunteer to move the slide after the beep. What we have now is the kind of thing students expect and are used to seeing to keep their focus.”
According to the AV Rover website, the use of 3-D technology in the classroom has been proven to increase test scores by 33 percent, and also increases student retention.
The Rover is preloaded with a number of unique 3-D videos, simulations, experiments, learning activities, quizzes, texts and images to help students understand key concepts in math and science, including biology, physics and chemistry.
The district became aware of the 3-D technology and the opportunity to use it for free at a Model Schools Conference in Albany, said district Model Schools Coordinator Matt Richardson. He said the Model Schools Conference is an opportunity for districts from across the Capital Region to come together to talk about various technologies they are using.
Since that point, Richardson said the district has been using the new technology for the last two years.
“Next year I would like to get it twice during the fall and spring, or even once a quarter so it can be more aligned with the curriculum being taught at that time,” Douglas said.
However, he said, since the technology has become available and more districts have become aware of it, the equipment is becoming less available due to the high demand. Since the demand is so high, he said, when the district has been using it the last two years it hasn’t been directly connected to the subject being taught at that particular time.
“We get it when we get it right now,” Douglas said. “Which is fine, and the 3-D technology is still useful, but if we could incorporate more of our instructional lesson plans into the projector programs, that would really be beneficial. Right now, it’s primarily used for interest and motivation.”
On Wednesday, a number of sixth-grade students were visibly amused and could be seen attempting to touch the 3-D objects coming toward them. Some were even expressing excitement at taking part in the various quizzes the technology provides.
The students learned a little bit about a variety of topics, including the solar system, plant life, how the heart works and rock development.
“I think it was pretty awesome,” said sixth-grader Brendan Knoll. “The heart was pretty interesting, and it’s cool to see how the human body works.”
“It was great,” said his peer, Ben Smouse. “I really liked the steel explosion and how everything popped out at me.”
Superintendent Michael Vanyo witnessed the 3-D educational technology at a recent Board of Education meeting and said he’s interested in expanding its use to other buildings within the district.
“The key part of this is we can talk about what the human heart might look like, but allowing [teachers] to show that in a 3-D version gives [the students] an experience they could really only get if it was in their hands,” Vanyo said. “The use of technology for virtual learning just gives them more opportunities. It really means something to them.”
NERIC representative Hilary Dee wasn’t able to be reached for comment on what other regional districts have already used this service or may be next on the list.
More information on the 3-D AV Rover and the use of 3-D technology in education can be found by visiting www.AVRover.com.