Stereoscopic VR


We do not live on a flat plane like a piece of paper, and the abstractions we create on that plane are not accessible to every young mind. Rather, we live in a volume defined by x, y, and z coordinates plus the fourth dimension of time. So, it is in a representation of that space that we should be conducting at least some of our teaching and learning.
"Children, of course, come into the world as very powerful, highly competent learners, and the learning they do in the first few years of life is actually awesome. A child exploring the immediate world does that pretty thoroughly in an experiential, self-directed way." Seymour Papert
A child totally absorbed in constructive play

"So that shift [from independent learning to somebody deciding what you learn] is an unfortunate reflection of the technological level that society has been at up to now. And I see the major role of technology in the learning of young children as making that shift less abrupt, because it is a very traumatic shift." Seymour Papert

This young student may be experiencing Papert's "traumatic shift"

"With new technologies the kid is able to explore much more knowledge by direct exploration, whether it's information or exploration by getting into his sources, or finding other people to talk about it. So there will be much more opportunity to learn before running into this barrier of the limitations of the immediate." Seymour Papert

An interlude of direct - though mediated - exploration

I am absolutely not suggesting that all we need is Virtual Reality (VR) to solve the world's learning problems. I'm simply predicting that modern learning environments should and soon will have a few VR sets lying around for students to pick up and use when they want. In the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environments you might see some students bringing their own as prices come down; add to that a few school-owned units and no student need wait for long to have use of one. Even better you might find students making their own stereoscopic viewers and demonstrating a different form of expression as they submit 3D exhibits to satisfy assignments.
"By presenting materials in various ways, you convey what it means to understand something well." Howard Gardner


What's going to enable this affordable and/or home made VR is remarkably simple and timeless. It's the application of stereoscopy to mobile media. In the video below Greg Kumparak explains.


They say the tree of knowledge tends to bear fruit simultaneously, and while Google Cardboard is certainly innovative, it is not alone. Here are some links to get you started:
If you need a zero budget solution, the glasses below were made from a pair of red-green 3D glasses (dished out a MovieMax) and the lenses came from a couple of $2 Shop bug inspectors. What's even more amazing, they kind of work!

Think DIY and low or no budget


Just while you're getting started, it's OK to consume some media:
But remember this is not what it is about. This is about Student Generated Content (SGC). So just as soon as you and they feel ready, encourage your students to start carving their own:


In any group of students there's a chance that there'll be coders, artists, musicians, and producers. So this kind of multi-modal expression lends itself very well to social constructionist methodology, and connectivist ideas as they source talent. Both tutors and students will have to be prepared to take risks, especially where some higher authority only sees value in a finished piece of work.


  • Take two photographs of a physical object
  • Prepare a stereoscopic image
  • Display the image in a 3D viewer.


  • Model a 3D object in Three JS
  • Apply materials and lighting
  • Display the model in a 3D viewer. 


  • Model a 3D world in Three JS
  • Apply materials and lighting
  • Code interactive elements
  • Build a 3D viewer that can also accept inputs.
I'm not suggesting that these activities are ends in themselves, but that they could be one of several modes of expression in a wider reaching project.


It's a hard ask. Among the reasons modern learning environments are slow to catch on might be: cultural mores, momentum, expectation, plain old fear of change. Among the reasons modern learning practices are slow to catch on might be that it's both more complicated and harder work to teach in a modern way.

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