My P6 class has been cracking on with developing their 3D software skills for BBC Scotland’s Build It Scotland project. The aim is to use 3D CAD software like Tinkercad, SketchUp and Minecraft to build 3D versions of their favourite Scottish landmarks which will then be place on a virtual map of the whole of Scotland. It’s an ambitious and exciting project and has so far presented many real opportunities for enjoyable challenge, problem solving and PLAY using digital technology. Also, the tutorials on the BBC site are fantastic and often better than the ones offered by the software companies.
Tinkercad was my initial software of choice. Mainly because it is online and would allow the children to access it at home and at school. It is also very easy to use and create with out of the box. We are not able to use Minecraft (yet) but we have also installed SketchUp to the school server. However, we have suffered some setbacks due to the 13 year old age restrictions. Tinkercad requires parental approval by email, and has asked for parents’ credit card details and/or scan of document to prove their parental status. As you can imagine this has over complicated the sign up process to the extent that half the class have now moved on to SketchUp instead. This is a shame. Tinkercad is free but it really needs an ‘education’ sign up option to avoid this convoluted process for pupils under 13.
But in the true spirit of technology frontierism we have not given up. The OneNote Class Notebook has proved invaluable in researching and collaborating in discussions on different Scottish landmarks. And we have spent 2 weeks just playing around with the software. Today we built some simple houses. Some of the pupils used SketchUp for the first time, mainly to get round the stumbling blocks we were having with Tinkercad. I hadn’t prepared for this (unlike the hours I’d invested in learning Tinkercad) but what I loved seeing was how quickly they learned the basics and then shared that with each other. Technology is amazing for that. Pupils frequently outstrip my expertise very quickly and I love when that happens!
Here are some examples of their early creations: