New research suggests that pupils retain more, behave better, show higher levels of concentration and are quicker to absorb new concepts when 3D images are used in lessons, writes Gareth Finighan at the Daily Mail.
Professor Anne Bamford of the University of the Arts, London, studied the effectiveness of 3D content on 740 pupils aged 10 and 11 in 15 schools across seven countries including the UK. Each school designated one class to be taught science in the usual way, while another did exactly the same lesson using 3D resources.
The project, which will be unveiled at the BETT education technology show in London, will show how pupils in 3D classes could remember more than the 2D classes after four weeks, improving test scores by an average 17% compared with 8% for 2D lessons, writes Finighan.
Students showed a better ability at elaborating on open-ended tasks and were said to be more likely to use hand gestures and "mime" to "successfully answer the test questions".
Writing in The 3D in Education White Paper, Professor Bamford said:
"The marked improvement in test scores was also supported by qualitative data that showed that 100 per cent of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that 3D animations in the classroom made the children understand things better and 100 per cent of teachers agreed or strongly 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."
One teacher that was involved in the study said:
"In class with 3D you have the "wow" effect. This helps with behavior. The pupils are too interested to be disruptive. They get involved and forget to be naughty."
"The class certainly pays more attention in 3D. They are more focused. That is important in this class – eight out of the 26 pupils in this class have attention problems, so I am thrilled with the impact of 3D. They sit up and are really alert."
Having to learn to use 3D-enabled projectors, laptops and software, it is thought that it would take the teachers more time to get used to 3D than the children, thanks to the current wave of 3D technology in films and video-gaming.
However, critics believe that the technology is just too expensive and impractical for the classroom.
Danny Nicholson of the Association of Science Education said:
"While I think the idea of 3D technology is very interesting- and I'm speaking as a very keen fan of interactive whiteboards and projectors as a technology in the classroom – I worry that 3D is a bit of an expensive gimmick.
"There are a few cases where a true 3D image might help, but a lot of the time good 2D models which can be moved and rotated would be just as effective."