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How to get a free copy of Autodesk Inventor

11:55 am on the 10th of November, 2013

This is a quick overview of how to get a hold of some free copies of Autodesk Software – they make it available for students and teachers at no cost.

There are a whole range of titles available such as Revit, 3DStudio Max, Inventor, and AutoCAD.

Autodesk make a huge range of software and are supporting schools and students in a variety of ways. If you are a school looking to get hold of software for your suites then they are able to provide you with various packages at no cost. To get started with that you should go to the Autodesk Academic Resource Centre.

If you are a student, or a teacher who wants to use Inventor at home then you can download it through Autodesk’s student portal. I’ll run through the steps here. First, though, check that your computer can meet the minimum system requirements.

First you will need to create an account at the Autodesk Software for Students website. Follow the link to ‘Create new account’ on the right hand side – you will need to enter the URL for your school’s website. For Hawick High school it is hawickhighschool.co.uk – you will also have to enter a valid email address, it doesn’t need to be your school-provided one but it does have to be one you can access as they will send licence codes and other information there. There are detailed steps on how to sign up on Autodesk’s support site.

Once you have created and validated your account you need to choose which software you want. You can pick and match software, downloading any titles you like. I’ll look only at Inventor as this is the one that most people ask me about, and is most commonly used in Scottish schools at the moment. Whichever software you choose you get a free 36 month licence – and you can go and get the most up to date version when it comes out.

To get started click on the relevant blue button (either for Secondary school students, or students at college/university. From there you can choose the title – Inventor Professional is one of the ‘Popular’ titles so is easy to find.

At Hawick we use the Inventor Professional 2013 version, you will need to pick the correct version for your Operating System – to check which version of windows click on your Start button, go to Computer and choose System Properties. Look for System Type and it will say either 32bit or 64bit.

With the software selected you can choose to either ‘Install Now’ or ‘Download Now’ and install later. It is a large download that will take time so I recommend the Download Now option.

Once the download has completed navigate to the download folder and run the Setup application file, choosing Install on this computer. You will be prompted to check and agree to the Terms and Conditions make sure you change the Country to United Kingdom. Next you need to enter your licence information. When you downloaded the file you will have been sent this information via email. If you can’t find the email you can log in to the student portal on the Autodesk site and find it via Your Account.
You will also be asked about which software to install – I would just stick to the defaults but it you are struggling for space on your PC then you might deselect a few. The installation will take a little bit of time – why not do some sketching while you wait?!

You might be prompted to close Windows Explorer during the installation, this is normal, just click OK. After a while you will have Inventor fully installed, there are a few things you can do to tweak the default settings – these will be largely down to your own preferences, but if you want a few other pointers then email me or ask me in school.

trying out a few ideas

4:48 pm on the 29th of August, 2013

After a long while of dormancy I’ve set up the site again, I had a little idea that I might even start blogging again in a while. For now I’m playing with a few things to do with screen printing and school enterprise. I’ll perhaps tell you more about that in the near future…

Technical Education in the Scottish Borders

7:21 pm on the 28th of September, 2011

Last week I presented a seminar at the Scottish Learning Festival playfully entitled “Breaking Boundaries – technical education in the Scottish Borders”. I attempted to portray a snapshot of what is going in on in some of the SBC schools in terms of developing new courses in S1 and S2 with an emphasis on CfE. It was a rewarding experience, if an uncomfortable one. I asked for challenging questions and I certainly got them. Thank you to everyone who came, and thank you in particular for those who joined in the debate at the end.

I have uploaded my presentation to slideshare for those who would like to see what I covered, take a look here.

Are we just ‘tinkering around the edges’ as one person asked? I hope not. Certainly before the question was asked I thought we were doing more, and I still think that we are, though it was a difficult question to ask of myself. It was difficult to give enough detail in such a short session so I think I may have not given everyone what they wanted – and I didn’t attempt to – but hopefully I didn’t give too many people the wrong end of the stick as I fear I may have done.

Marking out in metal

8:07 am on the 10th of May, 2011

On Friday I tried out something. I have at the back of my classroom an old TV that isn’t used now we have projectors in each classroom. I was about to start a short metalwork project with my S1 class and was aware that it is quite difficult for al pupils to see what is going on with the steel rule, scriber, engineers square etc – too many big hands and fingers infront of tiny tools. So I halued along the tv and the video camera so that I could do my marking out demo under that. Two benefits: one was that the screen could show what was going on from a better angle than most pupils could see from, and another was that it could be zoomed in to make it bigger.

A third benefit came to me when I was planning the lesson: the angle of the camera meant that it could see very well the placement of the marks on the metal compared to the marks on the steel rule – it was a very easy and clear way to check marking out – but if you haven’t used the steel rule that much then it is not so clear. So I quickly made up a working drawing showing lines where pupils had to mark lines, but added in lightly shaded boxes around the lines to show tolerances of ±1 and ±5mm. If their lines fell in those bozes it was clear how accurately they had marked out.

The task went well, all pupils completed that part and a little filing too. The pupils all marked the lines, I could see clearly how they had done, and importantly so could they bu placing their metal up against the drawing. As evidence I asked the S5 pupil who helps to take a photo of each pupil’s work on the working drawing from an angle similar to that which the video camera showed during the demo.

In future: I would spend a little more time explaining tolerances, and outline the task ahead, then get each pupil to pick a target for themselves : ±1 ±3 or ±5mm before going ahead with the work. In terms of useing the TV in the workshow – it worked a treat but the screen is not very big so I am considering doing the whole marking out process in the classroom so that we can use the larger screen from the projector.

Flexible lessons

9:27 pm on the 31st of May, 2010

I have a lovely S3 Graphic Communication class, they’re great fun and work hard most of the time. Today there was only 10 there as it was a heats day for the school’s athletics championships, so I went in not knowing what I would do and was completely comfortable with it. I talked with them about what they might like to do today, half thinking they could get on with some folio work. After talking it through, a few ideas had come up – work on tidying up folio items, start on a new folio item, play with a Computer Aided Graphics package, or create a stop frame animation film. I gave over the lesson to them to make of what they wanted. It occurred to me that we didn’t have much in the way of lego kit, or anything else that would work well for stop frame films so I showed them a few seconds of a Commoncraft film and an idea grew…

While a few pupils worked on some frame animations on the CAG software to make some great wee films, 6 other pupils worked together to make this film for next year’s S1 pupils.

The pupils were in charge right through the planning stage to the final filming, with only a little guidance from me. The only thing I had to do was capture the video and audio from the camera tonight and upload it to blip. They worked really well as a team delegating tasks and making good use of their individual skills.

They put the video together in about 40 minutes from scratch and I think it’s great.

They were totally engaged and want to do more of this sort of work. Personally I think this video is a great example of graphic communication, with no capitals, but it doesn’t fit in to Graphic Communication – the SQA course – in anyway whatsoever. Shame, but luckily with a hard working class like this one we can fit in the extra interest tasks.

Higher Product Design

6:43 pm on the 26th of May, 2010

This coming year we will be running Product Design for the first time at Hawick High School. The course is being offered at Higher and Intermediate 2 level but all students will follow roughly the same scheme of work. In the interests of sharing I’m making resources available here and will give a rough overview of how I have planned out the course. As this is the first time there will no doubt be changes made for future years, and even throughout the coming year. Never the less I have been given a lot of help from other technology teachers in Scotland over the last few months while I have planned this out, and to make it easier for others who might be in the same situation these might be a useful start point.

At the bottom of this post are links to the resources I will be using with the class.

The school will be changing timetable before the Summer break and I plan to use this time to run a short project looking at benches in the neighbouring park. Students will evaluate the benches and then also make up a specification for new outdoor furniture. Each part of the project will get one week, and are to be seen as a practice for the real items of work the students will produce for their Unit evidence.
After the break we will get straight into evaluating a product. There are a selection of products in school and there is scope for the students to propose something of their own. Then a quick one week designing project focussing on quick idea generation and modelling skills. By the end of the week each student should have produced a design to be manufactured using the RapMan rapid prototyper in school.
The next piece of work will be the generation of a Product Design Specification. Students will be given the task of creating a fully fleshed out spec for a life raft on a Northlink ferry. In the middle of this work we will also have another quick designing project based around (probably) an egg cup. The focus for that being market research and quick modelling.
Following the PDS task we have another 1 week project – really just a week focussing purely on graphic skills, looking at household items such as shavers, irons, kettles. Students will be required to create a range of sketched and drawings, with varying levels of rendering and detail added.
Then we move onto Unit 2, Developing Design Proposals. I have put together a brief and some information similar to that in a Design Assignment, students are to design and model a proposal for a desk/storage problem in a modern design studio. This project should form the basis for most of the evidence for this unit, but work from the two quick designing projects might be used, particularly any graphic work. This will take us up to the Christmas break.

After Christmas we will look at previous work and tidy up any outstanding evidence requirements, but mainly we will be looking at formalising the students notes on topic areas we look quickly at in the first term, and those we haven’t covered yet. Following htis we have the prelims and then the design assignment.

Alongside all of the above work I intend to spend a period a week looking at the Design for Manufacture unit, giving lecture-style lessons followed by time for students to make useful notes. The students will be expected to read ahead and will be working mainly from the green Leckie and Leckie book.

Students will also be sketching regularly, 5-10 minutes most days, with the best work going in a display stuck to the outside of my classroom door.

Files I will use:
StudentGuide – a booklet outlining the course and its requirements, includes SQA DA information.
Projects – more information about each of the blocks of work we will go through.
DfM Questions – questions to support the Design for Manufacture lectures.
Higher product design Planning – Excel spreadsheet that will possibly make no sense to anyone but me, but an outline of the course.

Thanks to everyone who has given me tips and resources in the last few months, you know who you are.

As ever the resoucres are free for you to use, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland.

I would be keen to know if you do use this stuff so a comment would be nice, also there is likely to be a few glaring mistakes/omissions/typos in there somewhere so feel free to point them out to me.

Finally, as I said at the top of the post this is the plan, it is open to change, and might not work in practice, I would be very happy if you had any suggestions for how it might be changed to be more successful.

S1 Coathook Project

7:14 pm on the 19th of May, 2010

Second in a series of posts on our curriculum at Hawick High, relating what we do in relation to CfE. To put this into context we currently see S1 classes for 50 or 55 minutes a week from August to change of timetable in June. Last year we had them for 80 minutes for half of the year. As such we had to rejig our S1 course to reflect the new amount of time we saw them. This post is simply to show what we do, not to discuss how much time we get compared to other schools, though it is handy to know if you wanted to compare it to other schools. Personally I would love to get more time as it would allow us to take our time a bit more and to cover areas that we don’t currently have time for.

As a result of the new timings for this session we needed an extra project to add to what we already do. We agreed to work through slightly different things and I was keen to add in some metal work and also some more design work. The result was a project where we make an aluminium coathook in about 3 to 4 periods. In the department we have all made this, after that we separated somewhat. I myself wanted to work on graphic and modelling skills so below is a bulleted list of what I have done.

  • For homework pupils created a mood board of images, supposed to be based around a theme.
  • Pupils were given a brief to design a personalised back board for their hook to be attached to.
  • Pupils then took shapes they saw in images on the mood board to create ideas for a back board the coathook would go on.
  • the ideas were evaluated for common faults, such as being too difficult to make, not being unique, not being strong/stable etc. THe ideas were also rendered simply with one colour pencil.
  • One idea was selected, drawn full size with any improvements, this was then copied onto some full size paper and the pupils made a model of the back board. Pastels were used to add colour, card strips were used to model the hook itself.
  • Pupils evaluated the modelling process – was it hard to make in paper? Does this mean it will be harder/easier in MDF? Pupils were challenged to pull together the knowledge they already had of machines and tools to consider hwo they would make their model.
  • If the model worked then great, if not they made a second one with any necessary changes. The models were also photographed by the pupils so they could be added to the folio they built up.
  • Next the designs were transferred onto MDF and pupils began to cut to shape using coping saws, tenon saws, drills, bit braces, files and glass paper. Colour was added using dyes, then the coat hooks were attached with screws.
  • The final part of the project is to evaluate the model in terms of aesthetics and function – pupils were given definitions for these words early on in the year so should be familiar with them. Unfortunately time has got the better of me and I haven’e quite managed to fit all of this in.
  • In terms of CfE, when I was putting together the plans for this it seemed that I was just doing the sort of project CDT department have been doing for ages, but looking at the Os and Es it seems to match up to then nicely, though I am not going to copy in the relevant ones below.

    I think the project allows for different methods of teaching, the basic skills are built upon and there is lots of scope for differentiation throughout the folio and the model.

S1 Designers Project

9:27 pm on the 3rd of May, 2010

Over the next wee while I’ll be trying to give a little insight in to what we do at Hawick High in the tech dept with regards to literacy. I may do the same for numeracy soon.

One short project we run in S1 is a research project. It varies from class to class, and from teacher to teacher, but generally the project runs for 3-5 periods and looks a little like this:
For the first one or two periods pupils individually research a product designer, they try to find out information about the person (name, age, nationality etc) and examples of their work. Pupils are expected to analyse and evaluate these products in and to form an opinion of the designer’s work. The piece of ‘evidence’ from the pupil is a poster or document detailing their findings.
After this the pupils work in groups to complete a similar task. Each group researches a different designer or movement then prepare a presentation that they will deliver to the rest of the class. Again they are encouraged to find out personal information, source and analyse examples of work, then select a favourite piece of work which they focus on. They work on research skills, but also presentational skills, group work, and design analysis.
As part of the lessons we try to include time to discuss ways to locate information, how to evaluate that information for accuracy and partiality, and also different presentation methods. Also we work on ICT skills as generally the projects are researched through the internet and presentations/posters put together with MS Office tools.

With this project we are mainly hoping to work on pupils’ design skills, but looking through the Literacy Experiences and Outcomes, it seems that this project does/could also tick off a lot of them – though most of them hit me as duplicates of themselves. I’ve pasted them below.

When I engage with others, I can make a relevant contribution, encourage others to contribute and acknowledge that they have the right to hold a different opinion.

I can respond in ways appropriate to my role and use contributions to reflect on, clarify or adapt thinking.
LIT 3-02a

I can independently select ideas and relevant information for different purposes, organise essential information or ideas and any supporting detail in a logical order, and use suitable vocabulary to communicate effectively with my audience.
LIT 3-06a / LIT 4-06a

To help me develop an informed view, I am learning about the techniques used to influence opinion and how to assess the value of my sources, and I can recognise persuasion.
LIT 3-08a

When listening and talking with others for different purposes, I can:

  • communicate information, ideas or opinions
  • explain processes, concepts or ideas
  • identify issues raised, summarise findings or draw conclusions.

LIT 3-09a

I am developing confidence when engaging with others within and beyond my place of learning. I can communicate in a clear, expressive way and I am learning to select and organise resources independently.
LIT 2-10a / LIT 3-10a

Using what I know about the features of different types of texts, I can find, select, sort, summarise, link and use information from different sources.
LIT 3-14a / LIT 4-14a

To help me develop an informed view, I am exploring the techniques used to influence my opinion. I can recognise persuasion and assess the reliability of information and credibility and value of my sources.
LIT 3-18a

I can consider the impact that layout and presentation will have on my reader, selecting and using a variety of features appropriate to purpose and audience.
LIT 3-24a

I recognise when it is appropriate to quote from sources and when I should put points into my own words. I can acknowledge my sources appropriately.
LIT 3-25a

I can persuade, argue, evaluate, explore issues or express an opinion using a clear line of thought, relevant supporting detail and/or evidence.
LIT 3-29a

Literacy in Technological Education

7:50 pm on the 30th of April, 2010

I had a visit on today from Jenni Curson, the Scottish Borders Council Development Officer for Literacy. She had heard from Ollie Bray about a bit of work I had done using Comic Life over a year ago and was keen to see how we tackle the Literacy Outcomes and Experiences in Hawick High School. The truth is that I haven’t used Comic Life much since last February, there just isn’t the time in our S1/2 courses, and I have been doing other things with my other classes.

I’m planning to write a few posts over the exam diet about what we are doing in school, and how that relates to CfE. Hopefully this will generate a bit of discussion. I’ll try to get a post out on Sunday evening about one of our S1 projects.

TeachMeet Student Editions – round 2

7:21 pm on the 19th of April, 2010

Has it really been a year since I drove all the way up to Glasgow on a school night to present at a TeachMeet aimed specifically at student teachers?

It was a cracking night and I would go again this year – if it weren’t for other commitments I would definitely be there. So this is where you come in…

TeachMeets work because everyone gets involved, don’t be afraid, sign up to spread the word about a fantastic new website you have had success with in class, or the nifty wee bit of gadgettry that you have taken from one application and shoved into the classroom.

Everyone has a story to tell – and probationers and other newly qualifieds in particular – have good things to share so sign up for a 7 or 2 minute talk and make this year’s version even better than last year’s.

It is quite short notice but don’t let that put you off, the best presentations are made up on the spot!

The Aberdeen version is on tomorrow night – see the wiki.

The Glasgow one os on Thursday – here’s another wiki.

Go on, make me proud!