3D Science and Social Studies in Grades 5-6: Virtualization Expanding Instruction

3D Science and Social Studies in Grades 5-6: Virtualization Expanding Instruction

Emily Bodenlos (Morehead State University, USA) and Lesia Lennex (Morehead State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2815-1.ch006


Technologies available for the classroom range from interactive whiteboards to 3D instruction. Given the state of 3D for classrooms in its use of specialized goggles (Spencer & Lennex, 2011), projectors (TI instruments), and scarcity of published research (Elliot & Mikulas, 2011), its value as a teaching tool is being weighed by educators. In this study, apps for mobile computing (laptops) and Internet tools (iPads) were researched. Both the literature review and the classroom research have shown that students retained content knowledge and possibly improved overall achievement.
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Literature Review

While textbooks have been the main learning tools in education for decades, new educational technology has been brought into schools more recently. Technology that incorporates 3D images has become increasing popular in schools, either for use along with textbooks, or instead of them. Some schools are using iPads in their classrooms in the place of textbooks. In the article “Many US Schools Adding iPads, Trimming Textbooks,” Burlington High School is introduced. This article explains that “…more than 600 districts have launched ‘one-to-one’ programs, in which at least one classroom of students is getting iPads for each student to use throughout the school day” (Reitz, 2011, para. 3). These schools have therefore limited the number of paper textbooks they use by simply downloading the texts onto the iPad itself. There are 3D textbooks for the iPad from Kno, Inkling, and other companies that allow students to view images that would be flat pictures in a regular textbook as 3D, interactive content (Truta, 2011, para. 2). Interactive quizzes, images, games, and other learning materials available in 3D textbooks help students grasp concepts more fully, especially in difficult courses such as science. Students can use the 3D textbooks to view chemistry figures in a close up, interactive fashion that makes learning fun and easy. In addition to this, some virtual textbooks include quizzes after each chapter or section that allow students to check their knowledge retention as they read. This assists students in realizing which parts of the reading that they should review, and helps them to be better prepared for exams. Other companies, such as Inkling, have begun developing interactive, 3D textbooks that are available for purchase by chapter, making specific content easy to access (Inkling, 2009). In higher education, students often only use a few chapters from a textbook for their class, but are forced to purchase an entire textbook. The use of virtual textbooks allows college students to purchase a chapter specific to what they are working on in class, rather than purchase a book that they will not use in its entirety. The incorporation of 3D into these textbooks allows students to view the content in a dimension that helps them to understand and retain information better. In addition to learning benefits, virtual textbooks are practical for college students’ busy lives. Due to the fact that e-textbook companies such as Kno and Inkling have their content available for download straight onto the iPad, students are able to access textbooks quicker and easier than ever before. The fact that these textbooks incorporate interactive, 3D content makes them even more popular with students. In addition to this, iPads are lighter than textbooks, so students do not have to carry as much. This asset allows students who must trek across campus carry less, and makes backpacks lighter for students in any grade level.

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