Vera Johnson’s fifth-graders barely noticed as visitors walked into their classroom this week, reports the Dallas Morning News: They were far too focused on the disembodied head that seemed to float in the front of the room. Suddenly a human ear, with all its innards exposed, jumped out at them. “Whoa!” The kids were responding to a relatively new kind of technology just starting to filter into North Texas classrooms: a 3D projection system, coupled with interactive, computer-driven content. In her class at Richardson ISD’s Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet elementary school, Johnson was teaching a lesson about the human senses. Down the hall, Brittany Russo gave her third-grade class a tour of the solar system. The sun, planets, and asteroids spun gently like an animated chandelier. Russo “grabbed” a comet and took the class on a virtual ride though an orbit, all the while engaging her students in a spirited question-and-answer session. Both teachers were part of a pilot program coordinated last school year by DLP, a division of Texas Instruments that produces hardware for this kind of 3D projection. This week, both teachers welcomed the technology back into their classrooms. “My struggling students don’t give up,” Russo said. “It’s almost impossible for them to stop paying attention.”

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Maya Prabhu