[Bf-education] Blender conference and curriculum

J Le Rossignol jlerossignol at gmail.com
Sat Nov 9 07:11:29 CET 2013

Hi All,

Sorry I haven't replied sooner, but I've been recovering from surgery over
the last 3 weeks. It's been a hard year personally, and I've only tested
half my curriculum before handing it over to a teacher of science, with
little IT background.   So, I haven't had the chance to refine it at all.
Anyhow, on with the useful stuff.

What I've written is aimed at the Victorian Curriculum (VELS) for the High
School student, and I was told around March that there wound not be many
changes in the shift to the Australian curriculum, otherwise known as
AusVELS. However, I double checked
http://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum.htmland the Technology Learning
Area, which includes IT, is not due to be
published until late this year. (See
http://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum_1/learning_areas/technologies.html). So,
I'm guessing that what I've done will need to be reworded to fit with what
ever is released.

I tried at the end of last year to map out the conceptual knowledge needed
for blender, which is similar to the Khan Academy's Maths Knowledge map,
but more primitive. It covers;
Basic skills (File management, the current UI, Import/Export/Appending,
Asset Management),
Modelling (Basics, Vehicles & Other hard surfaces, Precision Modelling, For
3D Printing, Organic Modelling),
Materials& Textures (Material, Textures, UV/Bump/Normal/Displacement
Animation (Simple stuff, Dope Sheets, Machines, Bones & Posing),
Environments (World Settings, Lighting, Cameras, Backdrops, Particle
Systems, Architecture),
Renders (Basic Images, The Sequences, Compositing, Scenes, Camera Tracking).
Short Film/Animation Project (Planning, Production)

For each of the above subject I wanted a directly applicable task to
complete, and I wanted all the tasks to mesh together to walk the students
through the whole Short Film/Animation Project. So that by the time they
had got to the final project, they already had the skills to succeed. To
enable this the core idea is to move through a simplified production cycle,
and add detail to each step. Tested so far are the following tasks: A shape
stacker, a brick wall, Pong, A Star Wars style credit roll, A Cartoon Car,
The Solar System, An Aircraft Fly over, a Walking Man, and two
mini-projects. However, this is aimed at year 10 students, but it can be
easily adapted to a younger year level, but dumping half the tasks and
focusing on the fun.

So this map I've created was wired into a basic curriculum plan for 5 x 45
minute lessons each week and running for 16 weeks. I'm accounting for
regular disruptions, and the need for instant gratification.. But I'd take
a different tack for the primary school, by linking to other curriculum
areas. Which I'll some ideas as to how to use Blender for each curriculum

Blender naturally sits in the areas of Mathematics, Numeracy and
Information & Communication Technology (ICT) capability. So things like
geometry of the shapes that can be used(look at the Add Mesh: Extra Objects
for some cool gems stones), Cartesian plane (in 3D), basic number skill (by
using the moving 3 units along the x direction... etc), basic file
management, what different file types are used for.
For the area of Science, just look at the physics of the particle system.
To include Critical and creative thinking use brainstorming and sketching,
for Personal and social capability use team work for the projects and that
will fix you laptop problem, for Ethical understanding have discussions
about copyrights & creative commons. Other areas like English, History,
Geography, etc are harder to do, but you could enhance regular projects
with a bit of cool animations.

I hope this helps & cheers,
Jamie Le Rossignol
W: impossibleemporium.com

PS here's some samples

On 2 November 2013 02:19, Douglas Sutherland <dsutherland10 at bigpond.com>wrote:

> Hey Everyone,
> Thanks for all the links, and Jamie I would be very grateful for some ways
> I can link it to the curriculum I have a couple of emails now from teachers
> keen to integrate into the Australian Curriculum(John from Coffs Harbour
> who has been at the coalface since before the 2.50 interface changes…
> Respect John :) ). School days are short and having enough time for
> anything other than the basics is hard. I have an advantage being a year 7
> teacher in Queensland in that I have the same group of kids everyday all
> day for a year. Not having to work to a high school schedule means if we
> finish up the term’s work early we can donate whole days to projects. The
> bad side is I have 16 laptops, 13 mice and 26 students of whom only 50%
> will never remember to bring their USBs to school. But I do think clear
> links to the curriculum are essential to have any hope that admin will
> support Blender in the school and providing them with the paperwork for
> each jurisdiction's curriculum will just make it that much easier to
> integrate Blender. Most curricula are pretty much the same in the formative
> years, everyone has to do fractions :)
> Brian, you have my dream job, what are your formal qualifications?...If
> that’s not to forward, I have looked into doing some post grad study but I
> don’t know if I can do the time again with a full teaching load.
> For me if I thought about how best I could work with kids in blender and
> get more teachers involved I would have to say we make it so easy any
> teacher would be mad not to. As an example concept I'd like to point out
> Khan Academy   https://www.khanacademy.org/exercisedashboard    this page
> shows a learning map that takes anyone from basic number concepts to
> L'Hôpital's rule, I have no idea what that is, but if you follow the steps
> all the way though, you will get there. The site has video tutorials and
> exercises that kids can access at school and at home all free. It allows
> kids/teachers a way to map their progress towards particular goals and
> shows how individual skills are required to complete more complex tasks.
> Could each node in a learning map be a project or sub project on the way to
> a greater goal? And while each of the greater goals may be different to
> suit student or teacher taste they share nodes teaching the same skills if
> those skills are required.
> I think this is similar to the site design envisioned in the presentation
> by Nick at the conference but for really young kids (11-13 years old)
>  instant gratification is pretty important it’s a sad reality in today’s
> society. Peter Romero said in an email
> “A curriculum and lesson plans could develop starting with basic already
> made projects at the elementary age, adding more features at the middle
> school, and then moving to more detail and self work at the high school
> age.”
> And I think this may be a very good way to go, we have math text books
> that provide the problems they already have all the graphs, diagrams etc.
> drawn up, the kids just plot the extra steps or fill in the gaps in the
> number sequence. With a project aready set up and ready to go, kids could
> complete the tasks like for instance  “apply an array and add materials to
> the project” hit F12 and the scene already has lighting and environment and
> anything else that might make it look awesome and they can go home and show
> off to their parents (which for them is the best bit…very few of my kids
> parents can believe it possible).
> It is hard to imagine that a primary school teacher like myself could
> contribute here. I know that everyone on this discussion list have a
> stronger Blender skills and knowledge than me. For me Blender is primarily
> a therapeutic device, it’s fun and relieves stress. But in my professional
> capacity I know how to start with basics and build knowledge on any topic.
> I teach math, science, SOSE, English, history, geography, P.E. drama, art
> and media, dance, computer skills and coach 2 AFL teams. (We won both games
> today :) ) .
> Teachers combine content knowledge with curriculum and pedagogy which is
> based on developmental psychology and do it in sociological context. And at
> the level of education I work, the answer to  the question "How do kids
> learn?" is essential to success and should guide the decisions made when
> kids start down the road of any new concept. (As I listen to the conference
> discussion again the discussion session finishes with reference to pedagogy
> and building the knowledge)
> Finally, I think the gentleman from Costa Rica in the audience needs to
> come to Australia and speak in universities and schools, that was the best
> part of the conference for my money, I hope to hear from him in this forum.
> And I’d like to know how the people working on blender contribute to a
> shared document like a concept mapping project for a framework to start
> with…I use OneNote…Google docs might be a little more available I'm not
> sure if it has concept mapping but that would be a good way for lots of
> people to contribute to an overall project ( I really have no end of ideas
> on how this could go forward but I am enthusiastic :) ). I am going to
> respond to all the emails I got as a result of this post…Thanks to
> everyone, made my day having someone talk to me about Blender. Also going
> to share some work (those are real costumes not just cloth simulations :) )
> http://vimeo.com/75186942
> Kind Regards,
> Doug Sutherland
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