3D Design Special Needs STEM

Redesign That: SketchUp in Schools

SketchUp Pro
Written by Miguel Guhlin

The ability to redesign and improve existing materials is empowered through the use of the free SketchUp Pro 3D modeling software.

“We’re going to redesign our Spot’s dog house this holiday break!”
“What do you have so far?” I asked. My colleague held out a legal pad, crude drawings marring the perfect yellow pages. If you’re going to be re-arranging a dog house or your living room to fit a Christmas tree, take a look at SketchUp Make and SketchUp Pro, available for free to K-12 public schools.

Get SketchUp

With a Google account, you can do the interior design work using the newly-released My.SketchUp.com. And if you want the full power of SketchUp Pro (a $695 value), fill out a short form through TCEA. Private schools can obtain SketchUp Pro EDU licenses for as low as $15 per seat per year.

Use SketchUp on Chromebooks, Windows, and Mac

Available for Mac and Windows computers, SketchUp Pro now comes as a web version usable on Chromebooks. What’s more, SketchUp Mobile Viewer ($13.99) allows SketchUp models to be viewed on the iPad.

As my colleague put it, “Google SketchUp is 3D modeling software that lets you create anything you can imagine. It’s powerful enough to build complex projects, yet is easy to learn and use.” Their work appears in SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse, which houses millions of models. Simple enough to use that grade 3 through adult learners rely on SketchUp for a variety of tasks. SketchUp can be integrated into different classes.

Make Creative TEKS Connections

Classes such as, art, science, history, geography, and math are just some of the perfect venues for learning with this free software. Some ideas of how you might want to use it in your classroom are available at TCEA’s SketchUp Resources. Curriculum projects can align to the Technology Applications:TEKS in Grade 6, such as defined below:

Creativity and Innovation: The student uses creative thinking and innovative processes to construct knowledge, generate new ideas, and create products. The student is expected to…
(C) explore complex systems or issues using models, simulations, and new technologies to make predictions, modify input, and review results

You can find teacher guides that provide specific models.

Explore More Features

For children with autism, Project Spectrum shares powerful examples of student creativity made possible. SketchUp Pro can also be used for 3D modeling and printing. Students can create designs in SketchUp, then save them as OBJ files. These can then be opened in your 3D printer’s software (e.g. Makerbot) and printed. Talk about authentic learning!

SketchUp Pro also supports design templates for 3D printing, making it a simple matter to create to scale. You can also export designs in 3D Warehouse to STL file format for 3D printing. Doing so helps clean up your design before beginning to print. Another neat feature involves interacting with holograms. Visualize design data and collaborate with others using SketchUp Pro with Microsoft Hololens.

Conclusion

SketchUp makes creating models for sharing, and printing. Prepare your children for the future and introduce them to it today!

Special thanks to Taylor and Brian Wright for sharing their use of SketchUp to create real structures via their blog.

 

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About the author

Miguel Guhlin

Director of Professional Development at TCEA
A former director of technology, Miguel brings a unique perspective to TCEA’s professional development team. He specializes in Microsoft’s educational products and has extensive instructional technology experience. A prolific writer, Miguel blogs at Around the Corner and for TCEA’s TechNotes Blog. Miguel earned both his Master’s degree in Bicultural/Bilingual Studies with an ESL Concentration and his B.A. at University of Texas, San Antonio.

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