Implementation of Structure from Motion (SfM) Technology for Educational Lessons

Valeria Veronica Martinez, University of Texas at El Paso


Education is the most important obligation the humanity race has in order to evolve and thrive in the modern world. There are various applications for educators to teach valuable lessons to students, and not all deliveries will be the same for every lesson and for every student. Lesson being taught, the lesson delivery from educator to student often changes every time the lesson is implemented, depending on the learning ability of the students. Students have the ability to learn in different ways, such as the visual, auditory, kinesthetic, reading and writing learners (Oxford 2003). As educators aware of the four main learning abilities, we can develop lesson plans that contains a combination of all learning types so that we can serve the whole spectrum of learners. This educational combination has the objective for all students to understand, digest, and apply the lesson. In geoscience, many learning experiences are built around field trips to see and experience what was discussed in the classroom. However, students with disabilities are often at a disadvantage with respect to going to the field, and the educator often needs to modify their lessons to fulfill those students’ needs while still achieving the learning objectives of the course (Stefan , et al. 2022). Often time, however, this leads to a lower quality learning experience for those students who need alternatives because educators have heavily depended on images or other alternate forms of presenting the information from the field. In recent years, Structure-from-Motion (SfM) models have emerged as a better choice to use for making alternatives to field trips and similar experiences (A., Zhao and Oprean 2020). SfM models provide a means of creating extremely high fidelity representations of the desired object or place, and therefore provide an opportunity for students to be virtually present where they might not be able to otherwise attend (A., Zhao and Oprean 2020). As technology evolves, it is important that education evolves with it. In recent years, the education system has invested heavily in technology material for classrooms, such as laptops, tablets, etc. The investment objective is to deliver higher quality education with new and improved infrastructure and material for delivery of knowledge and content. This update has developed an opportunity for educators to have new material to enrich their lessons virtually in an innovative way. Many materials are available already online for educators to obtain and use in the classroom (Martinez V.V. and Serpa 2022). Structure-from-Motion (SfM) models have been existing in recent years (Granshaw 2018) and their development keeps improving at the same rate as technology does (Granshaw 2018). SfM has been a beneficial visual tool for educators to help students, especially in geoscience to visualize and understand complex, three-dimensional concepts. SfM has been implemented in the whole education spectrum, from pre-Kindergarten to graduate level university courses (Hendajani, et al. 2019). In this dissertation, I explore applications of SfM technology to the paleontological study of dinosaur footprints as well as to higher education and virtual field trips for persons with disabilities. The dissertation chapters are written as manuscripts, one published (Martinez V.V. and Serpa 2022) and the other to be submitted for publications in the professional literature. Chapter 2 is presents an example of how we would expect teachers to being to use the3D geological models in the classroom and Chapter 3 focuses on advanced topics that include the design, data collection, and processing of 3D models that is suitable for beginning non-majors in a university class and higher lever course for majors. Together these contributions show provide a starting point for educators to incorporate 3D models and the technology to build them into the classroom.

Subject Area

Geology|Educational technology|Environmental education|Science education

Recommended Citation

Martinez, Valeria Veronica, "Implementation of Structure from Motion (SfM) Technology for Educational Lessons" (2022). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30000022.