Monday, 17 November 2008

Sketch Up

On Wednesday last week I attended the first part of a course run by Southampton's Solent Centre called 'A Vision for the Built Environment as a Teaching Resource'. As a geography graduate I was excited about the possibilities this could bring to my teaching in the future, and found the session to be hugely thought provoking and relevant. It highlighted the many ways in which the built environment can be used as a resource for every subject within the curriculum, and the cross curricular potential it creates.

The course was predominantly run by architects, who introduced us to a range of ICT resources that we could use within the classroom, that would help the children access and relate to the built environment around them. They discussed the values of Google Earth, for example being able to view a building or an environment without even having to leave the classroom! In the same vein they discussed virtual tours of museums etc which I hadn't previously considered as a valuable tool in the classroom. Although it should be pointed out that a virtual tour cannot better a real life experience, it should definitely be considered when actually visiting may be too expensive, or not a viable option. We were also told about a new programme being developed by Google, in which they are filming every street in the country so that in theory you can 'visit' somewhere and walk around the area to view it - the potential for use in the classroom is huge!

Finally we were introduced to a software package called Google Sketch Up, which is a 3D modelling programme that they themselves use as architects. However they emphasised the ease of use, and claimed that when they have worked with children using it, the children have generally picked up the basics and are able to use it within about 20 minutes! The architects claimed that children were able to produce impressive designs within a very short period of time, and were much more able to visualise their designs when they had been created in 3D form in front of them. This package is something I feel I would like to learn about, and incorporate into my teaching as its potential for engaging children in the world around them is huge.

The first part of this course opened my eyes to the importance of using ICT within the primary classroom, and its huge potential within my own subject area. This session really motivated me, and I now want to develop my ICT knowledge much further to ensure that I provide the children in my class with a wide range of opportunities and experiences.

1 comment:

Somabula Blog said...

Useful post - thank you.

I recall my son playing with this when still at school and when he was thinking of architecture as a carreer.