October 23, 2014

Classroom Cubed Initiative Overview

C3 Illinois Initiative – Overview

 Original Concept: The Classroom3® Initiative originally was a collaborative, strategic partnership between the Rock Island-Milan School District #41 (RISD) and JTM Concepts, Inc. (JTM), a small business in Rock Island. Three dimensional educational classroom simulations and Resource Manuals for K-12 have been developed with the assistance of a development team made up of highly experienced and respected retired teachers. All simulations developed by the team are aligned with Illinois State Standards, Common Core Standards, and Bloom’s Taxonomy.  The current grant cycle, renamed the Classroom3® Illinois Initiative, is a collaboration between the Rock Island County Regional Office of Education (RIROE) and JTM. Going forward, the purpose is to fine tune the simulations and resource manuals, then roll them out to the Illinois ROEs free of charge.

Licensing Arrangement: Outside the state of Illinois, JTM Concepts retains the ownership and rights to distribute Classroom3® simulations worldwide.  As a part of the Illinois grant agreement, the simulations, appropriate training, and teacher resource manuals will be available, free of charge, to all public schools in Illinois.

Technology Advancements since the Original Inception of Classroom3®:  When Classroom3® was first developed, the only projection device available was a two projector passive projection unit costing around $15,000 per unit.  Classroom teachers became hesitant to use the technology due to numerous hindrances.  Earlier units were housed in bulky enclosures and required special screens that were a challenge to set up and move.  The two projector systems were difficult to configure, easily became misaligned, and required a very dark room for the optimum 3D effect.  Coupled with the high cost of units, the practicality of implementing the technology into classrooms in Illinois was suspect.

Around 2010, all of that changed.  Texas Instruments developed a chip which enables a single LCD projector to project 3D.  These projectors, coupled with new “active” 3D glasses and improved 3D software allow for a clearer, brighter image that is projected farther out in the room.  These units are ‘plug and play,’ do not need a screen, or a darkened room, and are significantly less expensive. The newly developed software does not require licensing which, in the past, was an additional expense to schools.

Beta-Testing:  Consultants from Western Illinois University conducted pre and post beta testing aimed at determining the relative effectiveness of learning certain concepts with the aid of 3D technology.  Testing was performed on 1,070 students in the Rock Island/Milan School District #41 using the simulation focused on volume of complex shapes. The lesson took place in one class period. The outcomes showed an average gain of 32% between the pre and post tests. In addition, the data was disaggregated into various groups: SES (Social Economic Status), IEP (Individual Education Plan), white/non-white, male/female, and math ISAT scores. All subgroups showed gains ranging from 29% to 35%. This data indicates that the Classroom3® 3D simulations were indeed successful in equalizing the achievement gains of all subgroups.

Comments from teachers

“Awesome technology!  My kids including myself would love this!”  “Actually got to use the equipment; Real hands-on ideas; technology itself, being able to see software and imagine the new possibility with our lessons; this was great!” 

From Emily Dawson at Riverview Grade School “I am sorry to hear about all of the districts that are struggling to find funding. I was able to beg and plea…and have been fortunate to get the 3D classroom equipment.  My district purchased the equipment.  I now have a classroom set of 30 glasses, a 3D projector, and a dedicated computer to run the classroom3 software.  It all lives on a cart…so other teachers can borrow it throughout the building.  I acquired the system about January of this year.  Since then I have been incorporating the simulations as I cover the topics within my curriculum.  I have incorporated the solar system simulation into my junior high science classes as well as presenting the solar system to the first grade classes.  The first grade students and teachers compared the experience with attending a planetarium show.  I have touched on the worm, frog, and cell but I hope to dive further into these topics this fall using the 3D technology.  The students love to see the planets jump off the screen and come alive right in front of them.  I feel the classroom cubed sparks the students’ interest and captures their attention.”

Our gratitude to Illinois State Representative Patrick Verschoore and Illinois Senator Mike Jacobs who have supported this project from inception to the present “rollout” (C3 Illinois Initiative).

Frog Anatomy Manual                                                 Solar System Teacher Tips3D

3D System Hardware Requirements                        Simulation List

Instructions on Downloading Software   

Instructions on Downloading NVISDIA Drivers and Settings