One of my favourite new exciting pieces that has been added to SMART Notebook 10.8 is the Mixed Reality feature. If you haven't had a chance to play around with it yet, I highly recommend you do!
The Mixed Reality tools is an extra add on pack as part of Notebook 10.8 and the Education Software 2011 package for Notebook for Windows. When Notebook 10.8 is installed, all you need to do is check off the SMART Document Camera Mixed Reality and voila...you can start integrating 3D content into your Notebook lessons. When you plug in your SMART Document Camera 330 into your computer (with the USB), it will activate the Mixed Reality software - no product keys needed (hooray!)
You can either manipulate the 3D Objects you bring into Notebook software with rotation handles on the SMART board (there are lots of different handles for the 3D objects, in comparison to the 2D objects we're used to working with!) From this view, you can add labels (that 'travel' with the object as it gets moved around the space) and 'enter the 3D scene' and pause and restart objects that are animated.
or, a student can 'pick up' a 3D object using the SMART Document Camera 330 and the Mixed Reality cube. It's a really cool experience! The really cool part about having one student manipulate the shape with the cube & the document camera, is that a second student can be at the board writing notes, taking area captures, etc...- so it's more of a collaboration this way.
SMART added some 3D content into the gallery with this upgrade, which has some great 3D models. In addition, there are almost 70 additional 3D models on the SMART Exchange, and I'm sure many more to come.
The other options for getting content are going to Google's 3D Warehouse & downloading models that are already created and in the Collada (.dae) file format. Here's a video of how to do that here -
If you come across a model that you like, but it's not a .dae file, then you can use the free Google SketchUp software to bring in .skp files (Sketch Up files) and export them as .dae (Collada) files. It's one extra step, but it means access to models that you wouldn't be able to bring into Notebook otherwise! Here's a video of how to do that here -
And for those who are REALLY brave, you can create your own models from scratch using Google SketchUp. Some teachers are that brave, but I know a lot of students who certainly are...so it's also a fantastic tool to put in the hands of kids.
So far, I've seen the Mixed Reality tool integrated beautifully into Math, Science, Astronomy lessons etc....seeing some of the cool models on the 3D Warehouse almost made me want to become and architect, it just makes it so relevant and real life for me. On the Exchange, there is a great model of the heart done by DesignMate & I would have KILLED for that in high school science, as I really didn't want to touch a real heart, and I'm sure there are a few other students out there today who feel the same way!
The more time I spend working with the Mixed Reality & the 3D models, the more I get excited about the applications in the classroom. Everything in the world these days seems to be about touch & 3D, so it's a truly innovative way to bring content into the hands of kids...which is where we hope it ends up!