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3DBear Review: The Augmented Reality Classroom Pro

Teaching in augmented reality (AR) for the past several years has been a bit of a challenge, in my opinion, as is often the case with new technologies. For example, I had to assess “over the shoulder” by looking at what students were doing. Now, using 3DBear, I’m able to offer students a classroom where they can create and share. Also, I'm able to easily assess and share their work in AR.

This blog post is sponsored by 3DBear. All opinions are my own.

What is Augmented Reality?

If you’re not sure what augmented reality is, then think of Snapchat filters. Most of us have seen these photographic tools in Snapchat (and now, Facebook) that let users take pictures of themselves and put funny graphic masks on their faces. Instead of physically wearing “mouse ears,” they can add them digitally.

Simply explained, augmented reality lets students add digital elements to their physical world using their phone’s camera lens while looking through the screen.

How are teachers using AR to teach?

Recently, I hosted a webinar (embedded above) with some Augmented Reality Teaching enthusiasts who had a lot to say about AR, how to teach with it, and where they think it’s going in the future.

How does AR work in 3DBear?

First, 3DBear is a free download for smartphones and tablets. You can use it and learn. However, the true power is the teacher classroom portal.

Here’s one example of how 3DBear can be used for a real world conversation. 3DBear’s classroom set includes digital items like bookcases, desks, tables, and more, which students can use to propose how they want the room to look.

“I've seen kids get so immersed in their 3DBear projects that they had no idea how much they were learning.”

Mitch Weisenberg, Edchat interactive, New York
3DBear is much more than a dancing bear. Students can create and invent using Augmented Reality and share in your 3DBear Classroom. Learn more by clicking on the link below.

To get started, a student will just scan the room using his or her digital device (like an iPad, iPhone, or Droid) before starting.

After the initial scan, the student can then grab digital items and put them on the room.

How Students Get Started with 3DBear Augmented Reality Design

  1. Download the App

    Go to https://3dbear.io/free-trial/ or your app store to download the 3DBear Augmented Reality app.

  2. Enter the Classroom Code

    After you (the teacher) has set up your classroom, you can add students with a name and a code. Give them this name and code and they will sign in to 3DBear and automatically be linked to your classroom.

  3. Scan the room

    3DBear will prompt the student to scan the room. I've found it works better if you have some flat surfaces around, but it will work anywhere

  4. Start designing

    Inside 3DBear are a variety of libraries that you can use. From dinosaurs to flowers and furniture, when you click on a library, give it a moment to download and you can start putting things in your environment using augmented reality. There's a simple button for sharing with you as the teacher.

You could have a classroom design challenge, for example, where students suggest repositioning the furniture. Then, they can take photographs, or film an example of what they want to do. Inside 3DBear, students can also share their design to the classroom so that you, the teacher, can open up their proposal and walk through it.

What do I mean by “walking through it?”

Well, the teacher can open up the teacher’s dashboard, sign into the classroom, and open up the creation of their fellow students. Then, I like to Airplay my device to the board so everyone can see. Then, looking through my camera lens on the board, they’ll see the AR redesign of the room.

So, for example, as you can see in the simple holiday theme below, students “decorated our room” in AR as they were learning the features and tools of 3DBear.

Students created holiday scenes that they filmed and shared via video using 3DBear.

What Else Can You Do With 3Bear?

In addition to room decor, students can create a room full of dinosaurs. 3DBear includes other 3D libraries that let students add, arrange, and create digital items in your classroom. But you’re not limited by these libraries. 3DBear also has the ability to pull in 3D items from Thingiverse or any tool that can create an STL file.

Got a smartphone or tablet? Try out 3DBear right now.

So, for example, if a student goes into Sketchup (formerly Google Sketchup) and you’ve added Sketchup’s STL extension, they can create or import items and then export them. Or you can use Tinkercad or any other 3D modeling software. Then, students can save their 3D models as an STL file to Dropbox or OneDrive for importing. Simply put, anything students have designed in 3D that they can export as an STL, they can pull into 3DBear to examine more closely.

How classrooms in Finland are using 3DBear for 3D design in AR.

Also remember that if you have a 3D printer, students can look at their objects in 3DBear before you commit to printing them.

Teaching with AR

Sign up for a free teacher trial. Try out the classroom features and curriculum content for free for one month.

Teachers can also use AR to build environments for sharing with students. Imagine creating a dinosaur museum and having students open the museum to go exploring. 3DBear has a teacher blog full of lesson plans, as well as a new 3DBear Innovator program.

AR has only begun, but I’m glad to have an easy-to-use tool that helps me connect with my students inside virtual worlds full of new teaching and learning possibilities.

Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links. Regardless, I only recommend products that I would recommend anyway. There is no additional cost to you, however, if you do not wish to support this blog in such a way or want to support your local bookstore, I recommend that you do so. 

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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