3D education – reality vs “are you kidding?”


at the classroom level, educators deal with the reality of small budgets. the average teacher in the US spends over $400 a year out of their own pocket for classroom related supplies

so when i see education journals going on and on about 3D learning and fancy 3D projectors and 3D glasses, i get frustrated because that’s not the reality for most teachers (or students)

today i saw a post about the 3DAVRover which is a server on wheels that is so expensiive that they don’t even list a price online but they do have links on using grant money to purchase one

how expensive is something that it assumes you have grant money?

the 3DAVRover comes with more than an overpriced server on casters – it includes a 3D projector, software, speakers, some content, and 25 sets of 3D glasses

granted, 3D is very cool but it is also very expensive – too expensive to reach many students and completely out of the reach of home schooled kids

you know my opinion and solution – Sim-on-a-Stick!


this better drive me around for what it costs!

it’s not true 3D as in the 3DAVRover, but it is an immersive environment (a term tossed around with 3DAVRover) and it’s also something that can be put directly in the hands of students, both in the classroom (as Kate Booth and Lisa Jacka outline in their published paper) and at home

3D educational materials purport to increase student retention by 35% and i bet that learning by students using, and creating in, OpenSim is higher than that! all you need to do is look at Coffs Harbour Public School blog and see the videos of students using OpenSim to judge for yourself if they learning =)

does every student have access to a PC suitable for running SoaS? no, but certainly a great many more can access SoaS than something needing a grant to fund!

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written by Ener Hax

January 16th, 2013 at 1:30 pm

posted in OpenSim,science education

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13 comments to '3D education – reality vs “are you kidding?”'

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  1. I did a quick search for various bits to make your own version of the 3DAVRover. My pricing came to: $1,258.

    Computer: Pentium G645, 4GB Ram,500GB HDD, DVD Burner drive, 500w power supply: $429
    Projector: Acer X1270P 3D Ready DLP Data Projector: $560
    Trolley: Basic garage style cabinet from local hardware store: $269

    Mind you, this was just a very quick search and at retail prices so you could definitely get a lower price with a bit more effort (but you will need to buy more glasses).

    Sure, this is out of the price range of your typical teacher buying it out of their own money. But a school might be able to afford one of these if they had a fundraiser.

    What this does show is that you wouldn’t need grant money (necessarily) to get a system like this up and running yourself. With a bit of know-how, a fundraiser and an evening with Google you could certainly get something like this for a classroom.


    16 Jan 13 at 4:20 pm

  2. good job on the research but i bet you that the package costs you at least $15,000 through that group

    plus they have the 25 3D glasses

    stuff made for specific educational use is like textbooks – crazy expensive because they know an institution is paying for it

    the key here would be for schools to have a person like you who is knowledgeable to pull something like this together but it’s easier for them to just pay a company like this to bundle it all up with the promise of easy use!

    unfortunately, in the US anyway, there are loads of schools that bought “hi-tech” stuff that now sits unused in a closet because no one knew how to update it or change out parts

    on the other hand, you have educators like Kate Booth and Lisa Jacka (and people like you Paul who are resourceful) that work with what they have at hand and share great learning with their students

    i count myself lucky in having had a fantastic graduate program chair who thought that even the poorest school districts should be able to do quality experiments and that you did not need the latest and most expensive stuff

    Sim-on-a-Stick, and subQuark’s Enclave Harbour, try to do the same

    but people like you Paul (and Lisa and Kate) are the exception and not the norm. you all are people that have passion that extends beyond the end of the work day =)

    i count myself very lucky to be in your company and am very proud of the virtual world community =)

    Ener Hax

    16 Jan 13 at 4:57 pm

  3. it maybe would be more practical and cheaper to use a viewer that produces an anisotropic view to get 3D using the red and blue glasses like the kirsten viewer does, at least until 3D using the passive or shutter glasses has a significant drop in price. I had also come across an article several months ago that gave a link for a video driver that would convert normal video output to one that could be used with real 3D glasses like those used in theaters for a 3D effect.


    16 Jan 13 at 6:51 pm

  4. Any projector can potentially produce anisotropic (two colour) 3d so long as the viewer supports it.

    There is a very old (and I mean very old) second life viewer that should work with opensim (but it is so old this might not work) here:

    I am sure there are other browsers (I think the Kirsten’s viewer has it but I haven’t tried it so I don’t know for sure) that are stereo 3D capable.

    As for the price of the mobile 3D viewer cart, part of the cost that a commercial version has is that the manufacturer usually provides ongoing support like maintenance, trouble shooting, upgrades, etc. I say “should” because not all places do (or if they do only offer minimal support).

    In IT, the major cost is not in the initial setup of a system, but in the maintenance of the system. So if someone is computer literate and has a good knowledge of OpenSim, then you would not need maintenance of the system and making it yourself becomes a viability, otherwise, the services provided by the higher cost will be needed to properly use the system.


    19 Jan 13 at 12:45 am

  5. I just tested if Kirsten’s Viewer works with 3D, and it does.

    I loaded up my kitely sandbox worls and put Kirsten’s Viewer into anaglyph 3D and this is the result:


    19 Jan 13 at 1:24 am

  6. i bet you are correct Paul on the pricing for that cart 0 that it includes a certain level of support for a certain time. it does need to be seen as a good and easy solution and that means support

    very cool image Paul, do you have 3D glasses? are you able to look at your VWs in 3D?

    Ener Hax

    19 Jan 13 at 9:12 am

  7. Howdy, Ener Hax. This comment is being submitted by first life avatar for Azwaldo Villota (SL, OSGrid, Jokaydia, VIBE).

    As I read your blog, I often wonder if you would be interested in contributing to a project titled “The Virtual Cell.” This is an open source project, meant to deliver a full-sim, interactive, standards-based, virtual world experience for middle level classrooms.

    Even if only to visit the project site and pitch 2ΒΆ now and then, I am confident you would add to the mix. This is an instructional design collaboration, and we need all hands on deck.

    More can be found here, and you have my addy.

    Please, holler anytime.


    7 Aug 13 at 4:24 pm

  8. hi azwaldo – when i look at your Doc, it looks like you are only doing this in Second Life?

    i taught Life Science in Texas and that is for 7th graders, so they would not be able to access SL or your nifty project

    Kate Booth did a SoaS assignment with her kids where they each built an animal cell in OpenSim

    i guess i’m confused with what you are doing – you call it OpenSource and mention that it will be available as an OAR BUT you are only doing this in SL, thus you can’t have it as an OAR since you can’t export OARs from SL

    i’m probably misunderstanding your vision =\

    i’m def onboard with sharing OARs (like at and def on board with student access (like Sim-on-a-Stick)

    clear the air for me because as an OpenSim project with possible OAR sharing, i’d love to do a blog post on it! =)


    Ener Hax

    8 Aug 13 at 8:24 am

  9. oh, i see – this is an SL grant thingie. so no OAR then =(

    Ener Hax

    8 Aug 13 at 8:26 am

  10. Since its inception years ago, The Virtual Cell aims to produce an interactive, standards-based, virtual world experience for middle level learners using OpenSimulator.

    What I am able to imagine and what I can actually build myself are two different things. For this project to reach its potential will require contributions from some number of folks.

    The LEA land grant provides an opportunity to reach out to many Top Shelf content creators in world, invite participation. All participants will be asked to join the design team only if willing to share files once finished. I will then “ferry” those files into OS (where an OpenSim “re-fit” may be necessary, and further refinement of design may take place). Interested in any strategies for how to anticipate and ease that process.

    Current project is the facilitation of a collaborative design, and the exhibition of that build in SL. Deployment comes afterwards. Hope this helps clarify the goal(s).

    Former middle school science teacher here. Making this up as I go along.

    [Is there a way to “subscribe” to receive notice of follow-up comments? Subscribed to blog via RSS, I only happened to open this post again, am not receiving notification. You also have my email addy. Cheers.]


    9 Aug 13 at 4:55 pm

  11. Excerpt from LEA proposal submitted for The Virtual Cell:

    “All design elements will be made available as open source content.”


    10 Aug 13 at 5:08 pm

  12. “What I am able to imagine and what I can actually build myself are two different things.”

    AMEN!!! =p

    hmm, subscribing, i’m not sure, i thought that it was automatic as long as a legit email is used on comments?

    is it okay if i do a blog post on your project? now that you explained it, i think others in OpenSim would be interested in sharing (it’s a HUGE matter of promoting the heck out of yourself – it takes a lot of online banging to get people’s attention)

    Ener Hax

    12 Aug 13 at 9:01 am

  13. re: subscribing – – web form i am using to submit this comment shows current email addy for me (cookie in place, form populated correctly); still, i did not receive notification for any subsequent comments.

    re: “blog post on your project” – – wowzer
    re: “is it okay…?” – – that depends on what you write (*grin* – – yes, would be interesting to see another’s take on this, how you see it)

    initially, i think i reached out to you to invite you to participate in design collaboration; not necessarily twisting prims and such, but maybe just to have a look in coming weeks at docs, G+ posts, or blog (such as yesterday’s post: )

    …maybe pitch in 2ΒΆ when it seems opportune.

    now, i am more interested in exploring the “make-it-easier-to-transfer-content” stuff.


    12 Aug 13 at 10:25 am

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