’s 3D Educator of the Month: Kristin Donley

Kristin DonleyI would like to honor and introduce an incredible educator and 3D pioneer to the InDepthEducation audience. Kristin Donley is a highly effective science and STEM instructor at Monarch High School in the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD). Due to her passion, innovative teaching methods and commitment to her students, Kristin was recognized as the 2012 Colorado Teacher of the Year and 2011 Colorado Top Technology Teacher of the Year. She has recently expanded her work to include serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado – Denver and as Boulder Valley School District Science Research Seminar Coordinator.

Since Kristin is an experienced stereoscopic 3D educator and leadership team member for ISTE’s SIG3D, I asked her to tell us a little more about her work and thoughts about the role of 3D in Education. Here’s what she said!

Q: How long have you been working with 3D technologies and in what capacity?
Kristin: I have been using 3D video content and interactives in the classroom for the past 3 and 1/2 years, as well as collecting data (pre-post tests, video taping, focus groups, and this year fMRI data) to ask the question of how 3D educational pedagogies affect learning, retention and motivation.

Q: What made you decide to integrate 3D teaching and learning into your classroom?
Kristin: Len Scrogran, a great mentor and educational technology specialist, got me involved in the 3D in BVSD pilot, and my love and enthusiasm grew from there.

Q: In what ways have you found 3D technologies innovative, unique and/or helpful in education?
Kristin: My data shows that there is improved retention especially of abstract complex content (e.g., the process of DNA replication and all the players and steps involved). Essay writing has increased by 10% and student focus/motivation is improved. We hope to see how 3D affects neural pathways in our phase 3 of our research.

Q: What are your thoughts on student use (K-12 or college) of 3D technologies?
Kristin: Besides helping students better understand abstract concepts, 3D has engaged our students and the use of it has encouraged them to pursue projects in making 3D animations themselves. We recently received a grant to buy 3D software and two mac stations to let students delve into the world of 3D animation creation. My involvement in the 3D pilot these past years has also made me think about learning in a whole new way. I am creating better assessments that utilize filming and manipulatives to assess whether students understand the abstract concepts rather than standardized tests. From these new approaches, I am better able to ascertain whether my students understand the concepts and I am better able to identify the misconceptions and come up with re-teaching plans.

Q: How can readers find out more about your work?
Kristin: You can find out more by visiting my teacher website at

You can also learn more about the use of 3D at Monarch High School from Kristin Donley and her team by watching this video!

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