At Shelton School, in Dallas, Texas the nation's largest private school serving learning-different students, the goal is to provide the best individualized education path for every student. The school provides learning-different children a full, effective curriculum through individualized, structured multisensory programs. Major learning differences include dyslexia, attention defi cit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and speech and language disorders.

The school completed a one-week pilot test sponsored by Texas Instruments to explore the possibilities that a 3D curriculum can provide in middle-school math. They utilzed an NEC NP216 3D DLP projector. According to Lauren Sanders, a math teacher for students in fifth and sixth grades, the trial was a tremendous success. "Our school caters to students with learning differences and we've made a significant investment in various learning technologies," she said. "We've used interactive whiteboards for years, for instance. We wanted to see if 3D projection could make us even more effective, so we delivered three lessons on volume, symmetry, and solid shapes over the course of one week. It went very well. "The kids were thrilled to participate and loved the Xpand glasses - they thought they were very cool. Our school has many students with ADHD, but I found that my class was much more focused when we introduced the 3D lessons. Usually, I get lots of questions through which they confirm their understanding of the material and the processes. But this time, I received far fewer questions - they were more patient and eager to explore the content."

"The rotational symmetry portion was very good in 3D since that's hard to re-create on a two-dimensional fl at surface. Volume was also good because they could see complex shapes broken into cubes. Then we'd compute the volume of each cube and then add up the results to get the total volume. That was really helpful."

Typically, Sanders and other teachers at Shelton teach a topic over the course of a week. The second week is devoted to mastery and in the third week, students are tested on the material. "This was a much quicker pace, compared to our usual rate," said Sanders. "But even at that rapid pace, we saw excellent results." Steve Robertson, statistician for the Shelton School research team, analyzed test scores for the pilot program, noting improvements in test scores of students in the 3D classroom. He compared the improvement in pre- and post-lesson test scores, finding that students in 3D classrooms generally saw score improvements over students who were taught in Shelton's standard curriculum and with standard instructional methods. "For all three subject areas - volume, symmetry, and solid shapes - the test group achieved consistently better scores than the control group," he said. "The effect of the 3D curriculum on instruction was meaningful compared to our standard instruction with interactive whiteboards. I can only speculate that the score delta would be even greater in classrooms that use standard whiteboards or chalkboards today. Now, there are certainly some constraints in our study - particularly with our small sample sizes - but it certainly encourages us to want to explore greater use of 3D at Shelton."

Once the pilot was complete, Sanders realized that the "control group," which hadn't received 3D instruction, deserved a chance to see the lessons delivered in 3D. "I asked them, 'Looking at this, are the concepts clearer?' and it was a real 'A-ha!' moment for the kids. One of them said to me, 'Oh - so that's what you were trying to do on the whiteboard.' With 3D, it just all clicked, which was neat to see. "3D can be an important component of teaching - but there still needs to be a good complement of styles and tools. I can't envision teaching a 50-minute class solely in 3D. It has to be intermixed with manipulatives, the whiteboard, discussions, and examples. That also keeps the novelty of 3D, which is important."

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our NEC NP216 projector page.