Sacred Heart school using 3-D material to stimulate students

Staff Report

Even though 3-D images have grown popular in Japan’s film and game industries, they remain a rarity in classrooms.

But the International School of the Sacred Heart in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, has embraced the concept of using three-dimensional teaching materials and started using such images in its science classes in April. “We’re the first international school in Australasia to have teaching materials using 3-D software,” said Mary Hisaoka, the school’s admissions and development coordinator.

The total cost of buying the 3-D software from U.K.-based Amazing Interactives, as well as 3-D glasses to view the images, was covered by donations from parents, said Hisaoka.

James Griffiths, the head of the school’s science department who introduced the software, says he believes it has a good educational effect on the students, as it “grabs their interest right from the start, and gives them a stronger understanding of what they’re learning.”

The 3-D images are used only for about 10 minutes per class, because “if used too often, it would lose its appeal,” he said.

One afternoon in May, 3-D images were used in a ninth-grade biology class to review the human respiratory system to prepare students for the final exam. When quizzed about the images, the enthusiastic students rushed to answer questions.

Biology teacher Michael Robey said he thinks 3-D images are good for motivating the students. “For some structures such as the heart, it’s more powerful for them to see an image in 3-D rather than just a flat diagram,” he said.

Hanin Siam, 14, who attended the class, said: “It’s really amazing and high-tech. It’s also fascinating to look at.”

The class was easier to understand because it was very visual, said Larissa Iwazaki, 15. “It’s better 3-D than in the movies!” she said. “The images were so colorful and they were moving, too. You don’t get distracted by other stuff that goes on around you,” said Wakana Uchiyama, 15.