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Archive for the ‘ EdTech ’ Category

Open Source Alternatives – 3D Animation and Game Design

During my talk at iConnect iLearn 2011, I promised a list of open source tools for 3D Animation and Game Design. The tools listed below are not all technically open source (more on that later), but are free to use in a non-commercial environment, such as your classroom.

I once again stuck with tools that I knew worked, and worked well. There are many image manipulation and game design programs, but these are the best in their class, rivaling programs that cost thousands of dollars per seat!

Blenderwww.blender.org (OSX, Linux, Windows)
Gimpwww.gimp.org (OSX, Linux, Windows)
* Unity 3Dwww.unity3d.com (OSX, Windows)
* Unreal Development Kitwww.udk.com (Windows)

If you have any questions about these pieces of software, or have any to add, please feel free to comment here or hit me up on Twitter (@mfa_josh)!

* Neither Unity 3D or the Unreal Development Kit are what we would think of as being open source, though they are both available for free for non-commercial use. If a student releases a project commercially, they simply have to get the proper license to cover the project. Though a project can be built in the environment with no license being obtained, allowing students the ability to work on a game that may never be released, but allowing them to release it in the future in they choose to do so.

Archive for the ‘ EdTech ’ Category

Stop Consuming, Start Creating!

con·sume verb \kən-ˈsüm\: to utilize as a customer

cre·ate verb \krē-ˈāt\: to produce through imaginative skill

Technology is weaving it’s way into our educational environments little by little. As a whole, I see this as a positive thing. Today’s society is connected to technology in a way that no one could have imagined. It only makes sense to bring these technologies into the classroom, engaging students in (what is hopefully) a meaningful conversation. But, what are our students doing with these new technologies?

Are they simply consuming? Are they only reading blogs, tweets and status updates, watching videos and playing games? Or, are we connecting them in a way that we tap into the creative potential in each of them? Are we making sure they are creating as much as they consume?

I’m calling this “the new 1:1 ratio.” No longer can we be satisfied that our students each have a laptop or iPad all their own (we can’t allow these new technologies to turn into simple “digital textbooks”). Our students need to utilize these tools to create! Building their own blogs, interacting on Twitter and updating a class Facebook page are a start…

Now let’s take that a step further… What if we let them create a new video for every one they watch (i.e. creating video responses to those posted by students at other schools), or produce new levels to video games they love?

Will we challenge our students to create the video games of the future, write and record the next great symphony, produce the next hit film?

The potential to learn while in the process of creating is endless. Not only will we teach them to think creatively, but we will teach them to dig deeper and engage in the larger conversation.

In my opinion, this the only way to approach education for this new generation of students. We can help shape the future by equipping our students with the skills to innovate in this new digital culture… It’s time for a creative revolution!

This is the first in a series of posts I’m planning on this topic. Please comment here or on Twitter (@mfa_josh).

Archive for the ‘ EdTech ’ Category

Open Source Alternatives – Audio Production

Ardour

As you well know, high-end technology and limited budgets don’t usually go hand-in-hand. But, for those of us that are advocates for integrating technology into educational environments, we run into tight (non-existent) budgets. Couple that with high expectations from students and we’re stuck trying to figure out how to deliver the software needed for meaningful content creation, without a pile of cash on hand.

As an Avid Certified Instructor, and advocate for Pro Tools software in general, I want to at least be fair and say that their pricing structure is one of the best I’ve seen. For $295 a student can purchase Pro Tools 9, with no software limitations, and has access to free updates for four years!

On the other hand, for schools that want a 1 to 1 ratio for their students, $295 per seat can get expensive fast!

The wonderful thing about this current technological age, is the sheer volume of open source software. This software is free to use and many times offers the same quality experience as the products we pay so much for! I’ve come up with a list of four pieces of software that I have used (and enjoy using). These have not replaced Pro Tools for me, but they do a great job in teaching the concepts and allowing students to have the same software at home without them illegally downloading a cracked version.

Ardourardour.org (OSX, Linux)
Audacityaudacity.sourceforge.net (OSX, Linux, Windows)
Linux Multimedia Studiolmms.sourceforge.net (OSX, Linux, Windows)
MuseScoremusescore.org (OSX, Linux, Windows)

What other open source music software are you using?

Where else are you using open source software?

Learn to Create, to Entertain, to Inspire - MindFire Academy