Great collection of 3D shape Nets to Print and Make

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Creating 3D shapes from a 2D net is a really important process for students to understand.  It opens the door to discussing various aspects of geometry and looking at the properties of 3D shapes such as faces, vertices and edges.

This collection of 3D shape nets can be used in classes of all age groups to teach geometry and shape. 

Google Graphical Calculator Now 3D & Animated

Google has recently added an enhanced version of their graphing calculator.  Maths functions can now be animated to create interactive 3D plots that can be rotated or scaled by editing the variables in the equation. This functionality requires a WebGL-enabled browser such as Firefox or Chrome.  Access it here.

Create 3D Artwork with QBlock

I really don't know where this fits into the grand scheme of things but it is very cool nonetheless and shows us just what can be achieved from the browser when you want to get creative. Qblockallows you to Create 3D Pixel art on a canvas.  It is kind of like a cross between Lego and Microsoft Paint.  It takes minutes to create something and you can then view and rotate your object as a 3D masterpiece.  You can export your image as a Jpeg or PNG or save it for prosperity in the Qblock gallery.  Very weird, Very Cool.  Check it outhere.Your students will love it for 15 minutes at least.

The Educational potential of 3DTV

This week’s CES in Las Vegas had thousands of tools, toys and tech all aimed at entertaining and / or informing us.  Whilst many of these technologies look amazing the reality is many of these will not make it to retail for many years to come.

However  one clear winner from a number of companies was 3D Television.  It works.  It’s cost effective and it will be on our shelves this year.  For those that want to know how 3DTV works click here, but the bigger question is what could it do for us as teachers?

Here are some options

  • Use 3D to captivate you students with a frog dissection
  • Walk through famous Architectural Structures and Environments as if you are there
  • Show the amazing detail of the human body in 3D
  • Explore Virtual topography to bring Geography to life
  • Fly through the universe in 3D to inspire the next generation of Astronauts.

Let us remember that for this to work we still need every student to have a set of 3D glasses.  These are very cost effective at a couple of dollars each but could prove to be tedious and disruptive in a classroom. 

This technology can be purchased today and it works just the same on a data projector as it does a flat Panel.

The potential for 3D Visual education is both exciting and has great deal of scope but it is clearly an area that needs to be tested and validated as a worthwhile learning tool and not just a gimmick.

I think the future of interactive 3D education is available to us now from a range of technologies which need to be integrated.  Some of these were on show at this year’s CES such as Microsoft’s Project Natal which allows the user to control an environment entirely from gestures making the user part of the interface.  Combine with 3DTV and link it a multitude off apps, games and media on the World Wide Web and we have an amazing learning experience.

Obviously time will tell if these products are just a passing fad or really a worthwhile part of the average home entertainment setup.  One thing is for sure is that the lounge room and maybe the classroom may have to evolve somewhat to include these new technologies.

What potential do you see for 3DTV in your classroom?