Free 3D Modelling Software

This is pretty impressive. When you see how quickly and effectively Andrew Smith can work, then you know he knows his software and has put in hours and hours of training. Really high level learning in technology occurs when you have the software and the dedication to learn to use it properly. It then becomes a mix of skills, talent and imagination. 3D modelling is increasingly important as we shift to video as a major means of communication and entertainment. There is an ever increasing uptake of video skills and to create something original then the 3D modelling skills are essential since animation can play a significant role in any video project. This 3D modelling project is using 3D Studio Max by Autodesk. Autodesk works with educational institutions and offers a free version as well as the paid versions. The Apple version is Maya and you can see that in practice in the Minion Rigging tutorials. Autodesk has a significant user base which shares tutorials and tips. Autodesk itself offers really good support. You can’t just do 3D modelling. It requires application and mastering and then the explicit learning and subsequent creativity will follow. My students like to use the 123D Sculpt app on their iPads. It doesn’t have the complexity of the computer versions but it is handy in my classroom and has a wow factor for students. It is a good way to introduce them to 3D modelling but they’d have to follow up learning it in depth elsewhere. That is not what I am teaching. If you are going to use 3D software you need to be able to trial it properly. A month will not be enough. Autodesk offers free school versions which allow students to work on it properly and for you to know whether it is worth further outlay. There is plenty of other free 3D modelling software out there and sometimes it is a matter of finding the software which suits you. There are 7 seven to choose from here and 25 choices here.

Amuse yourself as you work

no writing errors were found

Error-free at last!

Working with technology can be intense so I have three little games I play with myself just to keep myself amused as I work. I wonder if others do? Most seem to slide off into games or other sites but I can work and keep my focus because I use the work as a means of distracting myself. It is surprisingly hard to get a message on a WordPress blog that the writing in your post is error free ! It’s a challenge to get this little message and it took quite some time before I even knew it existed. Some of it has to do with spelling conventions, some of it with names and acronyms, some of it with typos. When I get a message like this I feel I have won! Beat the coding for the site. Another little game I like to play is breaking Google. Not deliberately. That’s cheating. I love it when I put in a search and Google can find nothing. Absolutely nothing. With all the information on the planet Google cannot find one scrap of information to push my way. At that stage I have to lift my game and try to find another avenue of research or a connected piece of information which will lead me to what I want. My third little game is to be utterly amused by how some spellcheckers will find alternatives for my word and come up with the most preposterous suggestions. I wonder what we do do to challenge software and coders just to see what we can come up with. Coders can play the same game back by putting Easter Eggs in databases. You can get them in DVDs and games too.

Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch CTH-470

bamboo tabletYear 8s and Year 9s are drawn by pen tablets. They just are. For them it is highly desirable to use one and probably explains why they have really come back into fashion in a big way. They are popular in their own right with designers, digital artists, animators but students like them because they are a combination of pen, tablet and gesturing.  They are a specific device with specific purposes and so you cannot get diverted or side tracked. Students born in 2000 and beyond  have a new set of skills and skills combination. I have blogged about the pen tablets before. I was trying out one of the newer ones today and within 10 minutes there were students who wanted to know what it could do, what advantages it had, how much they cost, where they could get one and could it do this and could it do that. As a class we have looked at animation this term so we looked at the animation app and the students could see how you did it far better than I but I could see the possibilities and how we could use it for learning. They liked the thought they could write with this tablet in a very effective way and it is clear you could use this pen tablet to improve writing skills. Classic example of how to share technology experiences to drive the possibilities of the classroom! It really is sensitive to touch. I can use it to write with my normal handwriting but I need a bit more practice to get it up to normal speed. I don’t like the way the stylus is stored. It seems cosy and efficient but I couldn’t get it out. Too hard. Took me too long and hurt my hands. The other tablet I blogged about had a loose stylus. Having attached is a good idea but it needs to be done differently. The size of this tablet is better for portability , storage and the fact it just easy fits in a plastic folder bag or display folder. The connection wire detaches too which makes it better for portability and storage. I noticed this  tablet had wifi capability. You have to get the kit but it is not overly expensive. In a corporate network setting you would want to know if that kit worked or not. Large networks rightly have to be very security conscious. It would be handy in a classroom to have the wifi capability. It is about presenting in different ways and using different tools to bring out different skills. This tablet can work with a stylus or fingers. Students thought that was great. I loaded the Bamboo Paper app onto my iPad and then discovered that my fingers would work in producing quite fine writing with it. My stylus was better. So now I can mix and match devices and I think that is worth aiming for. It is important to have some consistency and familiarity with apps and software and then have a chance to branch out and vary because technology is always changing and we just need to flow with it.

Art is everywhere

Everybody loves this. They instinctively find it cool, expert and great to watch. They are learning. It may only have 87 views on YouTube but this video by Balkar Tamuçay has had close to a million likes on Facebook and well over 800,000 shares. It is teaching and learning of epic proportions because Balkar Tamuçay dared to share. He is well represented on social media in a visual way. He can take ingredients and his mind and blend them together with his skills to produce something which holds everyone in thrall. I love the internet. Without it I would not even know this man exists and I would be denied his talent ,skill and inspiration. I would be stopped from being able to share this with others and have the conversations I have had about how this video is affecting me and others in a profound way. I’d love to see what Balkar Tamuçay could do with the iPad and tablet art and paint apps. I am wondering if a touch screen would make his talent grow , stay the same or diminish. It’s a question of whether you have the right tools and avenues to shine. It’s about our professional standards too. Do we know our students and how they learn? Do we know if they have skills like Balkar Tamuçay? Are we able to inspire them to have skills like him? It’s also about differentiating the curriculum and providing students with the tools and opportunities they need to excel. It’s about using our technology to communicate effectively, selecting our resources and knowing how to create opportunities for effective feedback. Balkar Tamuçay is Turkish so it also revolves around sharing across cultures and looking at how different cultures engage with different mediums and how different people might need a different way of learning and engaging. What stands out strongly for me amongst all the other striking features of this video is that Facebook has been the right environment to create an opportunity for engagement and feedback. It has happened spontaneously and well. As a teacher, I really need to think about what I can do to create that sort of atmosphere for my students.

International Day of Peace

In the southern hemisphere, yesterday was the international day of peace which was established in 1981. The UN uses the blue dove as its symbol for this even. 21st September is the day :

The United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.”

Fortunately, with technology, we can connect to share and broaden our ideas.

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