On Tuesday 28th September, the Roots students met up with USA Lyme Old Lyme School’s fantastic ‘Ami’ kids, and went along to visit the Autodesk Gallery at One Market in San Francisco’s financial district to learn about the amazing software produced by this great global company.
The Gallery’s fabulous Jennifer Ha and Grace Hom showed the students a range of exhibits which showcased designs and applications produced by Autodesk customers. Highlights included ‘Maya’ software technology used in a number of films (Avatar, Up, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) and a life size Lego duck billed dinosaur which the children were thrilled to add their own extra pieces to. They left their mark in San Francisco…I feel a song coming on!
All students also had the opportunity to present their CEFPI 2010 presentations to Autodesk marketing and education staff – appropriate since The Gallery itself is Platinum certified in the USA’s Green Building Council’s LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) rating system. An inspirational venue for the students.
Roots have designed their Eco Classroom, and will project manage the construction of it in just a few short months. A mammoth achievement for anyone, let alone a group of kids! But what about the thousands who can’t design and construct their own real life building?
Thanks to the fantastic support of Autodesk in providing software (our grateful thanks to Jena Shore in the Education Team), Class Of Your Own and Accrington Academy are leading a pilot programme which has KS3 (11-14) students from nine schools across England’s North West and one school on London using Autodesk’s Revit Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Ecotect environmental performance analysis software. Our new friend and supporter Jennifer Caffrey begin_of_the_skype_highlighting, a middle school teacher at Lyme Old Lyme School, Connecticut, USA, has already written and actively utilises her US Middle School curriculum to support new users of Revit. Her work entitled ‘GLAD – Green Literacy in Architectural Design’ is published on the Autodesk Education website. Supported by a wealth of willing UK professional mentors, UK students will use the GLAD curriculum as a Level 1 programme:
- Introduction of Sustainable Ideas, vocabulary and concepts.
- Introduction to Architectural Concepts and Design Principles.
- Introduction to Revit and how to navigate and use it.
We believe that EVERY child brings his or her own skills and ideas to a design project and that every child is more than capable of using ‘grown up’ software without the inhibitions and fears often demonstrated by adults. Once students have grasped the basics, the students will move to the Level 2 programme, applying their knowledge and creating their own ‘How to’ training videos for kids based on the Roots Eco Classroom design in Accrington.
Construction starts on the Accrington Roots Eco Classroom towards the end of the Autumn 2010 term and a live webcam on site will enable students to follow the progress of a live build and ultimately compare and contrast the structural and environmental efficiency of their own virtual creations. To have the ability to ‘tweak’ a real design and determine measureable outcomes is a fantastic learning opportunity not only for students and teachers, but for college/university students/tutors and design, construction and facilities management professionals new to Building Information Modelling.
The programme empowers learners to get involved and most importantly take ownership of the development of their own school environments and to engage with sector experts and professionals with a real possibility of seeing their work emerge as a real time construction project. A number of classroom based activities, workshops and collaborative tools representing the ‘real life’ progress of a construction project, will be available on our new (under development) COYO-live web platform.
Our Web platform uses a wide range of social media collaborative tools, and children will create their own training videos.
Assuming a successful six month pilot, we envisage the programme will roll out on a national scale with a capability to reach every school and every learner in the country. Learning opportunities are sufficiently universal and generic to be applicable to learners worldwide and the involvement/investment of globally significant supporters such as Autodesk would suggest this is a real possibility for the future.
Have no fear. Watch this space and learn something new from some amazing kids…..