Archive for the ‘software’ Category

Wayne County High Students’ Architectural Design Workshop for Summer Tech-Ed Camp

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 by Jeff Gray, KET

wchs_sketchup2Wayne County High School students Erica and Monica Withers, both participants in the Kentucky Center Governor’s School for the Arts program, recently used multimedia resources to tutor elementary and middle-school students in a workshop on architectural design and 3D model building for Wayne County Schools’ 21st Century Summer Camp, May 20-24, 2013.

Using the Sketchup software program, students planned and made computer-generated 3D models of buildings they printed to card stock paper and assembled into a town they called, Dodecahedron City. wchs_sketchup3

Formerly a Google product now owned by Trimble and renamed Sketchup Make, the program for both Windows and Mac comes in free and paid “Pro” versions available for download at the Sketchup website. Many schools are using Sketchup for education projects, and the Pro version (extra features include the capability to export .stl files for 3D printers) is also available free to schools who apply online. Students also used a resource called “Young Architect” to design and draw floor plans.

wchs_sketchup5As an added feature of the project, Derek Phillips, a practicing local architect, visited with the students to share his professional perspective. At the end of the week the participating students took a tour through their town of Monticello, Kentucky, to identify different architectural styles.

Monica and Erica documented their excellent and comprehensive architectural project on video and uploaded it to our KET School Video Project website for sharing. What a fine example of students helping students learn about architecture and 3D modeling using free multimedia resources!

KYSTE 2011: Tech-Ed Conference Motivates

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 by Jeff Gray, KET

s (Kentucky Society for Technology in Education) conference, held this February 28 through March 2 at the Galt House in Louisville, has become a fine replacement for the former annual KTLC (Kentucky Teaching and Learning Conference) that ended a few years ago. Sessions and workshops were very interesting and informative, covering many topics including the use of iDevices (iPads, iPods, iPhones, iTouches, and other mobile computing gear — now all the rage), SMART boards and other displays, and many other titles that explored effective use of technology in the classroom. KET Education Consultants presented on the expanded resources of KET EncycloMedia, on making Do It Yourself Electronic Field Trips, and on the interactive, historical online role-playing game series, MISSION US, piloted in Kentucky by KET and WNET/Thirteen, New York. Ms. Laureen Laumeyer, a 5th grade teacher at Hardin County’s Meadow View Elementary School, has been named National MISSION US Educator of the Year.

Having a special interest in school video production, I attended several workshops on the topic and was pleased to find that Kentucky teachers and students are actively using video in their classes and STLP groups to make well-made and useful educational projects across the curriculum that are shared throughout their schools, over local television, and via the Internet and Web. Ms. Elaine Barrett, of LeGrande Elementary, Hart County Schools, is pictured above showing an Apple iPad video teleprompter application to the attendees of her session, “School Broadcasting,” which she co-presented with Brenda Line and three students who demonstrated recording and editing a video interview using FLIP camcorders and the Windows Movie Maker program. More pictures of them are in the slideshow, below.

KET announced at the conference that it has added a free and easy way for schools to share Kentucky student-produced videos online: the KET School Video Project upload service. Teachers can upload student videos to KET using an easy web form. Once we’ve checked and processed them, the web-hosted videos can be shared with students and parents/caregivers or used in school projects. We hope many Kentucky schools will share their excellent student-produced videos. See them at the KET School Video Project.

There was some interest and information shared at KYSTE-2011 about the growing number and quality of online media processing tools. Though not yet as feature-rich or as useful for job-education software as pc-based programs (so far), tools like the graphic set at, and the online video editor at, are coming on strong in the development of “cloud-computing” online resources and Web 2.0 tools. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the JayCut online editing program includes a greenscreen-chromakey effect, and that the Aviary graphic editor, “Falcon,” includes the ability to create and modify layers. Those are two big steps forward in online media processing. It will be interesting how things develop by the next KYSTE conference in Louisville, March 6-8, 2012.

Google for Educators’ SketchUp 8: “3D Modeling for Everyone”

Friday, January 28th, 2011 by Jeff Gray, KET

With a free Google account comes many free online resources and tools that educators are finding useful and fun for use in teaching.
One of the most interesting is a free program called SketchUp, now in version 8.

A free download, SketchUp is a 3D model building program that includes tools for sending built content to Google Earth and to the Google 3D Warehouse, a repository of free models created in SketchUp that can be downloaded and used in SketchUp projects. What are educators doing with SketchUp?

Here are some case studies submitted by SketchUp users that show examples of SketchUp models being made by students of all ages for various projects including a model of an apartment, some Scout construction projects, a model of a scooter jumping platform, a model of an historic waterwheel, and a model of a passive solar cabin.  Here are more case studies of Google SketchUp being used by higher education students and professionals for applications from architecture to gaming.


Others are using the program as a resource in their computer drawing courses and more. A Hartfort, Vermont, high school teacher has his students use the program to make models of local historic sites and buildings for a history project. Once made, the models are then placed on the Google Earth map of Hartford. For school districts not blocking YouTube, here’s a video of the teacher and his students describing their educational uses of Google SketchUp and Google Earth. And here’s a screengrab from Google Earth of the SketchUp models of their high school buildings that they made and placed on the map of their town:

There are plenty of online tutorials for learning how to use the program. For those interested in more features including the ability to export models in file types that are editable by other 3D modeling programs and graphics programs like PhotoShop, there’s Google Sketchup Pro.  Google SketchUp is free for all; Google Sketchup Pro costs $495.00 but is available for at reduced cost or free to some educational institutions.  Details are at the SketchUp site. Try the SketchUp Blog for more information on interesting and useful applications of the programs.

Google SketchUp and Google Earth are powerful, free tools for educators to use to teach many things. There’s a learning curve for sure, but it’s not as steep as one might think. Educators report very young elementary students learning the program quickly. They must be sharp because I’m making my way through a copy of Google SketchUp for Dummies and it’s not a quick read, for me anyway. Still, the program does seem accessible for most of us over a bit of time and effort, and the rewards appear to be very worthwhile. Most importantly, students seem to love it.

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