Make Unity 3D Games To Amaze Your Friends!

Hello makers! Like many in the computer industry, I had the dream of learning how to build video games. When the math class seemed difficult, I found inspiration to move forward since I had strong motivation to learn how to build video games someday! Unity 3D and their amazing community of game creators have created powerful opportunities for curious makers to build games that amaze your friends. From my first encounters with Unity 3D, I felt that they have done a good job of educating their users. In the past few years, I greatly admire the new strategies they have created to engage learners in their tools.

The idea of “modding” has engaged generations of gamers. (Thank you Minecraft and Roblox!). We’ve become used to the idea that games setup a robust environment where you can build big and crazy things. In lots of games, you’re placed into a position of saving the world. (i.e. you’ve been given a motivation to do something bigger than yourself that’s fun). The Unity 3D “microgame” tutorials provide students with the basic shell of well crafted game experiences. In this context, the Unity 3D team have created tutorial experience to gently guide learners through the Unity 3D environment, programming concepts, and their system for building Unity “lego” blocks. In this experience, you get to select your adventure. Do you want to build your own Lego game? Do you want to make your own version of Super Mario brothers? You can challenge yourself by building a cool kart racing game. In the videos below, I wanted to give a shout out to the Lego action “game jam” and the Kart Racing tutorials.

I always enjoy learning new Unity tricks from other developers. It has been fun to pick apart aspects of these games. In the newest Kart racing tutorials, you can also learn about the newer machine learning capabilities of Unity 3D. ( ML Agents ) It kind of blows my mind that these ideas can now appear in tutorials for early stage coders. As I’ve tested these experiences with my kids, they have enjoyed creating novel kart racing experiences and environments. My older son has enjoyed customizing his own shooter game.

Make sure to check out Unity 3D’s Learning index here: https://learn.unity.com/

If you make something cool, please share a link below in the comments!

Your First Game Jam: LEGO Ideas Edition

In this edition, you will discover how to build a quest in your LEGO® Microgame using the newly released “Speak” and “Counter” LEGO® Behaviour Bricks. Learn step-by-step with a special guest from the LEGO® Games division and our Unity team to create your own unique, shareable game.

Build Your Own Karting Microgame

It’s never been easier to start creating with Unity. From download to Microgame selection, to modding, playing, and sharing your first playable game, this video shows you what you can accomplish in as little as 30 minutes!

For detailed step-by-step Unity tutorials, check out

The Official Guide to Your First Day in Unity playlist.

Related Posts

Posted in creativity, game based learning, making, open source, programming, stem | Leave a comment

Christmas Ornament Ideas Using Origami, 3D printing, and Laser Cutting

Like many other families, we really enjoy creating DIY Christmas ornaments. We collected a few inspirations for ornaments made with 3D printing, laser cutting, and origami. Hope you find something that inspires you!

Interested in Building Your Own Christmas Ornament using a 3D printer? Check out my getting started video here. In this video, we’ll help you build simple objects in just 5 minutes. TinkerCAD.com is crazy fun for makers of all ages. Keep in mind that your local library sometimes offers free 3D printing services.

You can find many more origami ideas here on PInterest.

Posted in 3d printing, creativity, making | Leave a comment

How Mom Sparked a Growth Mindset in Our Families

Hello, family. In my post today, I wanted to reflect upon how our mom has loved and inspired her family through her life. I hope these stories of my mother, Belen Rosario, might offer motivation to other families. At InspiredToEducate.NET, our mission is to help students love learning through creative projects and exploration. Writing this post helped me understand my root system and personal curiosity for the power of learning and how a learning mindset can grow communities.

In my own way, I hope this post helps me and my family meditate on the life of my mother Belen. On Nov 20th, 2020, my mother celebrated her birthday into heaven after a challenging battle with cancer. I’m so excited that she’s finally at peace. I praise God that she enjoys the light and comfort of our heavenly Father and the amazing jam session of praise with all the saints and angels.

For my brother and I, we have been so blessed to have a loving mom and dad. Let’s be real. In the Rosario home, we’re not unlike any other family. We have our imperfections and vices. I, however, feel that my mom, Belen, lived out some of the best qualities of a Catholic momma. I hope I can foster her legacy of being a good Catholic parent.

My mom encouraged a spirit of generosity: Belen was born on Christmas day in 1945 to a loving family of teachers in the Philippines. Belen actually means Bethlehem in Spanish. My grandfather Pedro taught her family about the enabling power of learning. Grandpa Pedro had the vision of enabling his daughters and son to live a thriving life, but lacked the financial means to provide university education to all of his children. According to the family stories, Momma worked very hard in her schooling to explore the sciences and eventually earned a B.S. degree at University of Santo Tomas in Manilla in the Philippines. As she grew as a professional, she would live a modest life and send money back to her family. As a young adult, she earned an opportunity to immigrate to the United States which strongly needed medical technologists skilled in chemistry. She knew that making a transition to the US would take her away from her family in the Philippines, but knew that it would create greater opportunities for her and her larger family. My mom and my wonderful father Moses met while they both worked in a medical lab in New York. As I recall my mom’s words, she says “I’m not sure why this young guy kept following me around.” They, however, fell in love and started their family together. My mom and dad have always encouraged a spirit of generosity. They sent money back to the Philippines to help fund the education of her siblings. We’re proud of our momma who helped her family members earn degrees in engineering, medicine and finance. Mom’s story captures the best of the American dream. She came to the US with a spunky drive and educational opportunities. She converted those assets into a beautiful life for herself and opportunities for her family. I have loved hearing stories of how mom and dad helped Tita Gloria and Tito Ernie jumpstart their marriage and life in the US. While we didn’t have a lot, my mom and dad have lived out the “go giver” attitude to help friends in need. #ProudOfMom #ProudOfDad

Keeping the faith: One of the most precious gifts that mom and dad gave to us was the gift of faith. My mom and dad made great financial sacrifices to make sure Francis and I had the best in Catholic education. I also had the opportunity to attend Jesuit High school in Tampa, one of the finest Catholic schools in town. Given that we grew up in Florida, we grew up with the legends and stories of watching the space program. (from Apollo and to the Shuttle program) I can recall fun stories of my dad leading us through fun slide shows of exploring space. From my mom’s side, she did a great job of encouraging our curiosity in science. If we wanted to learn about something, we had a cool encyclopedia and tons of other educational materials so that we could explore our curiosity. Many people put science and faith into different boxes. We were blessed with a family that encouraged the wonder of science and understood that God’s hand orchestrated every detail. While we weren’t a perfect family, we learned the value of our faith, the habits of prayer, and the beautiful rituals of our Catholic faith. These habits have helped us shape our hearts for the Lord. As the family faced the trials of cancer for my mother and brother, I kept seeing my mom turn to Jesus and calling upon the mercy of Momma Mary through the rosary.

Fostering creativity and music: Great art and technical work requires the discipline of incremental practice, trial, failing, and persistence. I feel like Francis and I learned these lessons through our family culture of tinkering, art and music. My dad created opportunities to get early exposure to computers and their creative power. My first experiences with a computer gave us exposure to creating art on a computer or simple code experiments. My brother and I had robust opportunities to learn and explore music. We enjoyed our opportunities to learn violin, piano, and sing. ( And mom loved to sing!) To be honest, when we started playing violin it sounded like we were killing cats. Not sure how we progressed beyond that. At some later point, we gained enough skills to join our music ministry at Christ the King. Some of my favorite memories involve me and my brother getting to serve at 5:30 pm contemporary choirs, sharing music at the carnival and serving in youth ministry. My mom and dad largely supported the strengths of my brother in performing and visual art. It’s been cool to see his passions lean toward creative digital fabrication and digital media. On a personal level, I didn’t realize it at the time, but these became pivot points for preparing me for future work in music ministry later in college. I know these experiences helped us gain a growth mindset for our respective careers.

Toward the end, I helped my mom reflect upon the influence of her life. I talked about Pam and Wilson who met while serving in my campus ministry choir at UCF. Like many beautiful stories, Pam and Wilson fell in love through their shared passion for Christ and music. They have a beautiful Catholic family that I cherish. Since those precious years of being a founding member of Ccmknights.com and OviedoCatholic.org, hundreds of students have changed their lives because of their deep encounter with Jesus in these ministries. Holy men and women have decided to give their lives to Jesus as priests and nuns. Generations of Catholic families will continue to be born. My mom has beautiful spiritual grand-children because she planted the love of God and music in my heart. To return to the simple teaching of Mother Teresa, can loving your family truly change the world? It’s a great hypothesis for families to consider. It’s a hypothesis that we consider testing with our loved ones. I know our family will always be proud of our dearest Belen.

While we’re sad to lose momma on Earth, we’re excited for momma for her birthday in heaven. Can’t wait to hear the stories of her meeting Jesus, her mom, dad, and other dear ones in heaven. We’re so glad that she now enjoys a glorified body, the love of Christ, and no more pain. Excited to seek Lola Belen’s intersession. Saint Belen Rosario … Pray for us!!

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Our Experiments To Improve Our Home Schooling Culture

Hello, friends. As our family tries to adapt to the new normal and the COVID pandemic, I wanted to start reflecting on how our family plans to promote a learning culture. Over the years, InspiredToEducate.NET has taken on the mission of helping students love learning through making, tinkering, and engineering. As working professionals, Sarah and I want to make sure we’re still providing the best learning environment for our kids. Like many other families, we have decided to home school/virtual school our kids due to health risks. To serve other parents struggling with these transitions, I wanted to share some the ideas we’ve researched. Make sure to check out the blog posts at the end of this article.

PRO’s of virtual school + home school approach

  • Personalized learning: In general, Sarah and I find the concept of personalized learning attractive. Every student has different strengths and weaknesses. The asynchronous nature of online learning can provide the student to learn at their own pace. In many cases, lectures will be assigned in recorded in video format. If you don’t understand something, you can always hit the pause button and rewind. Does your student need more context on a topic? Students can jump on YouTube and find a Khan academy video that probably complements the class material.

  • Gaining key career skills: It’s interesting to consider the 21st century career skills our kids will explore with online virtual school. In the spring, I greatly enjoyed seeing my son prepare a pretty awesome history presentation that he shared with his class. He was very intentional about the visual look of the slides. I also admired how he practiced his presentation for clarity. I know he aspires to run his own YouTube channel some day. So, he’s getting some pretty cool practice through this online learning experience. It’s important to reflect upon the long term benefits of the “online” learning modality.

  • Exploring game based learning, simulations and project based learning: Some online teachers have started leaning into the benefits of a flipped classroom model. Under this model, students take in videos/lectures as homework assignments. When the student and teacher have “face to face” time, they can leverage their interactions to clarify knowledge and explore. Some teachers have exploited learning games or hands-on learning projects to deepen knowledge.

Our honest pain points with home schooling/virtual schooling

As our family has moved to online learning out of necessity, I have gained a great respect for families who have decided to home school their kids outside the scope of the pandemic. The self discipline and habits required to make a great learning environment at home do not come naturally. It takes a lot of work.

In our family in the Spring, if we didn’t create a good plan for the week, we could easily miss assignments or support time for our kids. Like many families, Sarah and I both work full time jobs with busy calendars. It’s not trivial to keep a mode of “focused” work in a professional context while supporting our kids. I do want to thank my niece Rosemary for helping us in the Spring. While living with us during the virus outbreak, she has been very helpful supporting our kids in school work and helping them stay focused and organized. Our appreciation for her can not be understated.

As we reflect on our Spring adventures with home schooling/online learning, Sarah and I know we have to up our game plan for the fall. Here’s our plan in progress.

Themes of our learning culture plan

  • Becoming a better Peacher(Parent/Teacher/Project manager): As we think through the fall, I know that Sarah and I will need to schedule regular time to answer questions and times for regular teacher communication. In some of our previous explorations of maker mindset in teaching, we found many good themes that will become helpful. Teaching isn’t always about being the fountain of knowledge and sharing it. Teaching sometimes looks a bit more like project management where we’re teaching students how to break big problems into small problems. We teach students how to ask better questions. We connect students with the key search tools they need to discover their own knowledge. We meet students where they’re at.

  • Family weekly planning: From looking at blogs on virtual schools, it’s common for these schools to provide assignment tracking and organization tools. I think it will be important to find these tools and organize them into a system. I hope that we can take this a step forward though. At my work, we chunk our work into two week cycles or plans. We start each cycle with a meeting called “sprint planning.” This enables us to find the most valuable and easy work we can be doing to help the project move forward and meet deadlines. I think Sarah and I will come up with a family version of this meeting us. We’ll probably use some tools like MindMeister, Google Documents, or Trello to help us stay organized and monitor work.

Here’s a cool video exploring the idea of family weekly planning using Agile ideas …

If you need an agenda for this kind of meeting, check out our post here.

  • Inspect and adapt: We know that we will not make a perfect plan. With that in mind, we plan to have a meeting weekly to see how we’re doing as a family. What’s working well? What are common road blocks? How can we get better? What resources can we leverage outside our family to promote a peaceful, prayerful, healthy and a happy family?

  • Creating zones of focus: Sarah and I have a good degree of schedule flexibility. We’re very fortunate to have this situation. We’re thinking through how we can rigorously leverage our calendars to weave school support into lives while meeting the requirements of our jobs. In brutal honesty, this will be crazy hard.

  • Elements of a good weekly schedule

    • Schedule prayer time
    • Schedule breaks and play time
    • Try to keep a normal work schedule
    • Schedule time for music practice
    • Keep a good backlog of projects/hobby projects
    • Schedule time for socially distance sports or outdoor time
    • Schedule time-box for reading
  • Seek out index of good support/course videos: We already love resources like Khan academy, Coursera, prodigygame.com, and Tynker.com. What other open courseware tools are available to families at low cost? Check out https://www.lifehack.org/articles/money/25-killer-sites-for-free-online-education.html

  • Experiment with time management patterns: Adding Pomodoro to my day: I’m thinking about trying out Pomodoro in my professional work. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique ) In this work pattern, you try to enter a zone of focused work for 25 minutes. After the 25 minutes, you take a break for 5 minutes. In those 5 minutes, it may be possible to do a check-in on kids. We’ll let you know if this works or not.

Interested in project based learning for families? Interested in sharing ideas for helping your kids love learning by making cool stuff? We want to welcome you to our new InspiredToEducate.NET facebook group. In this community, we hope learn and support each other as we promote learning cultures in our families.

Join our community on Creative Learning Projects on Facebook!

Related Posts

References

  • https://www.baystateparent.com/news/20200416/homeschooling-101-tips-for-parents-adjusting-virtual-learning-with-kids
  • https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/virtual-schools/
  • https://www.connectionsacademy.com/support/resources/article/virtual-school-and-working-parents-ways-to-make-it-work
Posted in creativity, game based learning, parenting, teaching | Leave a comment

Build an AFrame.IO Scene on Oculus Quest with Teleportation

FireFox Mixed Reality

Hey web developers! Looking for a fun way to build VR experiences on the Oculus Quest and Go? This tutorial will provide a brief guide to drafting an AFrame.IO VR experience that includes GLTF model loading and teleportation controls. As web developers, we have the unique opportunity to link data, models, and services to WebXR experiences. We really love seeing AFrame.IO work well on the Oculus platform. These are exciting times and trends!

To get started, please make sure to install Mozilla FireFox Mixed Reality on your Oculus Quest/Go headset. In the following video, you can see the code sample we’ll explore. I downloaded a temple model from TinkerCAD in GLB format. Using Blender, I converted the file to GLTF. Using the following script hosted on glitch.me, I was able to load the GLTF model.

AFrame.IO Script for Oculus WebXR

Fork the script at https://vrtemplate1.glitch.me/

<!DOCTYPE html <html>
<!--  Thank you to TakashiYoshinaga!
https://github.com/TakashiYoshinaga/Oculus-Quest-Interaction-Sample
-->
<html>

<head>
    <meta charset="utf-8" />
    <title>Oculus Demo</title>
    <meta name="description" content="Oculus Quest Demo" />
    <script src="https://aframe.io/releases/0.9.2/aframe.min.js"></script>
    <script
        src="https://rawgit.com/fernandojsg/aframe-teleport-controls/master/dist/aframe-teleport-controls.min.js"></script>
    <script src="//cdn.rawgit.com/donmccurdy/aframe-physics-system/v3.3.0/dist/aframe-physics-system.min.js"></script>
</head>
<script>
    AFRAME.registerComponent("input-listen", {
        init: function () {
            //X-button Pressed
            this.el.addEventListener("xbuttondown", function (e) {
                this.emit("teleportstart");
            });

            //X-button Released
            this.el.addEventListener("xbuttonup", function (e) {
                this.emit("teleportend");
            });
        }
    });
</script>

<body>
    <a-scene physics="debug: false; gravity: 0; restitution: 0.9; " background="color: #AAAAAA">
        <a-assets>
            <a-asset-item id="model"
                src="https://cdn.glitch.com/dd93b995-70fe-4c65-a6dd-78d725974a08%2Fchinese-yard.gltf?v=1594497997177">
            </a-asset-item>
        </a-assets>

        <a-entity id="glbtest" gltf-model="#model" position="0 0 0" scale="0.5 0.5 0.5">
        </a-entity>

        <a-entity id="cameraRig">
            <a-entity id="head" camera wasd-controls look-controls position="0 1.6 0">
            </a-entity>
            <a-entity id="ctlL"
                teleport-controls="cameraRig: #cameraRig; teleportOrigin: #head; startEvents: teleportstart; endEvents: teleportend"
                raycaster="objects: .collidable; far:1.2;" laser-controls="hand: left" input-listen>
                <a-text value="X: Teleport" position="0 0.05 0" rotation="-90 0 0" scale="0.1 0.1 0.1" align="center"
                    color="#FFFFFF"></a-text>
            </a-entity>
            <a-entity id="ctlR" raycaster="objects: .collidable; far:1.2;" laser-controls="hand: right" input-listen>
                <a-text value="This is your hand!" position="0 0.05 0" rotation="-90 0 0" scale="0.1 0.1 0.1"
                    align="center" color="#FFFFFF"></a-text>
            </a-entity>
        </a-entity>
    </a-scene>
</body>

</html>

Key Libraries

In the top section of the document, we can import several script files that will power the VR experience. To learn more about these script files, please visit the following links:
– https://github.com/fernandojsg/aframe-teleport-controls
– https://github.com/donmccurdy/aframe-physics-system
– https://aframe.io/
– https://aframe.io/docs/1.0.0/components/gltf-model.html

Teleportation

In this post, I want to mostly review how to implement teleportation features into the AFrame.IO scene. The following JavaScript implements the teleportation movement behavior. Most people get motion sickness if you simply translate and slide a user around a VR experience. As an industry, the “fishing line” teleportation UX helps the user jump around a 3D environment.

    AFRAME.registerComponent("input-listen", {
        init: function() {
        //X-button Pressed
        this.el.addEventListener("xbuttondown", function(e) {
            this.emit("teleportstart");
        });

        //X-button Released
        this.el.addEventListener("xbuttonup", function(e) {
            this.emit("teleportend");
        });
        }
    });

GLTF Loading

In the following HTML code, we pre-load a GLTF model called “model” and associate it with a AFrame.IO model entity. Please notice that we positioned that model at location (0,0,0) with 50% scaling factor.

<a-assets>
<a-asset-item
    id="model"
    src="..."
>
</a-asset-item>
</a-assets>

<a-entity
id="glbtest"
gltf-model="#model"
position="0 0 0"
scale="0.5 0.5 0.5"
>
</a-entity>

Let’s setup our camera and related parameters. This will also add “look” controls and navigation using WASD.

<a-entity id="cameraRig">
<a-entity
    id="head"
    camera
    wasd-controls
    look-controls
    position="0 1.6 0"
>
</a-entity>

In the last section of markup, we configure the left and right hand controller. For this tutorial, we’ll simply show the code for the left hand.

Configure hands

<a-entity
    id="ctlL"
    teleport-controls="cameraRig: #cameraRig; teleportOrigin: #head; startEvents: teleportstart; endEvents: teleportend"
    raycaster="objects: .collidable; far:1.2;"
    laser-controls="hand: left"
    input-listen
>
    <a-text
    value="X: Teleport"
    position="0 0.05 0"
    rotation="-90 0 0"
    scale="0.1 0.1 0.1"
    align="center"
    color="#FFFFFF"
    ></a-text>
</a-entity>

Thanks to Takashi Yoshinaga for drafting this code sample. Please make sure to check out his full code sample that includes object gripping, teleportation, and ball throwing.
https://github.com/TakashiYoshinaga/Oculus-Quest-Interaction-Sample

Thanks to Mozilla, AFrame.IO and FireFox Mixed Reality for making XR technology open to the community of web developers and makers. As FireFox Reality continues, we look forward to seeing AFrame.IO work well with technologies like HoloLens 2. I know that I’m already excited by the ThreeJS support.

Let us know if you make anything cool!!

Top Stories on InspiredToEducate.NET

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14 AFrame.IO Resources For Your WebXR Project

AFrame Logo

I’m a big fan of the work of the AFrame.IO community.  Thank you to Mozilla, Diego Marcos, Kevin Ngo, and Don McCurdy for their influence and effort to build a fun and productive platform for building WebVR experiences.   In this post, I’ve collected a few Github repositories and resources to support you in building AFrame experiences.

Talk Abstract: In the next few years, augmented reality and virtual reality will continue to provide innovations in gaming, education, and training. Other applications might include helping you tour your next vacation resort or explore a future architecture design. Thanks to open web standards like WebXR, web developers can leverage their existing skills in JavaScript and HTML to create delightful VR experiences. During this session, we will explore A-Frame.io, an open source project supported by Mozilla enabling you to craft VR experiences using JavaScript and a growing ecosystem of web components.

https://github.com/ngokevin/kframe
Kevin’s collection of A-Frame components and scenes.

https://webvr.donmccurdy.com/
Awesome WebXR from Don McCurdy

https://github.com/feiss/aframe-environment-component
Infinite background environments for your A-Frame VR scene in just one file.

https://github.com/aframevr/aframe-school
Interactive workshop and lessons for learning A-Frame and WebVR.

https://aframe.io/aframe-registry/
Official registry of cool AFrame stuff

https://github.com/donmccurdy/aframe-physics-system
Components for A-Frame physics integration, built on CANNON.js.

Experiment with AR and A-Frame
AFrame now has support for ARCore. Paint the real world with your XR content! Using FireFox Reality for iOS, you can leverage ARKit on your favorite IPad or IPhone.

https://github.com/michaelprosario/aframe
I’ve collected a small collection of demo apps to explore some of the core ideas of AFrame.

AFrame Layout Component
Automatically positions child entities in 3D space, with several layouts to choose from.

Animation
An animation component for A-Frame using anime.js. Also check out the animation-timeline component for defining and orchestrating timelines of animations.

Super Hands
All-in-one natural hand controller, pointer, and gaze interaction library for A-Frame. Seems to work well with Oculus Quest.

A-Frame Component loading Google Poly models from Google Poly
Component enables you to quickly load 3D content from Google Poly

aframe-htmlembed-component
HTML Component for A-Frame VR that allows for interaction with HTML in VR. Demo

https://github.com/nylki/aframe-lsystem-component
L-System/LSystem component for A-Frame to draw 3D turtle graphics. Using Lindenmayer as backend.

Thanks to the amazing work from Mozilla, WebXR usability has improved leveraging specialized FireFox browsers
FireFox Reality
FireFox Reality for HoloLens 2 – For raw ThreeJs scripts, it works well. I’m still doing testing on AFrame scenes.

If you live in Central Florida or Orlando, consider checking out our local chapter of Google developer Group.  We enjoy building a fun creative community of developers, sharing ideas, code, and supporting each other in the craft of software.  Learn more about our community here:

GDGCentralFlorida.org

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3D Modeling for Minecraft using TinkerCad – Online Meetup June 20th

As adult learners or students, we’re all looking for new fruitful activities that we can share with our friends and family. In this hands-on workshop, we’re partnering with Google Developer Group of Central Florida to learn how you can build 3D stuff for a 3D printer, a Unity game, and Minecraft!

  • WHO: Families, developers, tinkerers
  • WHERE: Online Google Meet
  • WHEN: June 20th at 1pm

In this workshop, we’ll build amazing stuff in Minecraft that will WOW your friends! You’ll learn the basics of 3D modeling using TinkerCAD, a free tool for modeling! You’ll have fun constructing 3D worlds and playing them in Minecraft. Using TinkerCAD, we’ll convert your 3D worlds into Minecraft schematics that can be imported using WorldEdit.

For families, we hope that you consider bringing your kids with you and learning together.

For developers, we’ll cover a few API’s to build 3D models using JavaScript too.

You’ll need to register for a free account on TinkerCad. You’ll also need to obtain the Minecraft Java Edition. You may want to install WorldEdit ahead of time too: Setup WorldEdit on Minecraft

To join the video meeting, click this link: Meeting Link on Google Meet

I hope that you can join us!

Related posts:

Posted in 3d printing, creativity, game based learning, making, stem | Leave a comment

Thank YOU to all teachers! #edtech #edchat

Hello. In this post, I wanted to share a word of thanks to all teachers and professors. Over the years of being married to a college professor and writing this blog, I continue to grow in respect and appreciation for all teachers. The world has become a hard place. The average student does not just battle with facts, figures, and learning. For many students, they battle with challenges in home life, challenging work situations, and divided attention. Before COVID19, my wife Sarah worked crazy hard to create the best situation possible for her students to thrive. I can see her agonizing over lecture details to make things correct and clear. At times, grading isn’t fun. Work flows into the nights and weekends.

As we enter this epic event of COVID19 and social distancing, I can only imagine the ways that teachers like you have needed to adapt and change to continue to help students become the best version of themselves. Again, I wanted to say thank you!! As a parent of three little ones, it has been a gift to see you adapting to the challenges of teaching online and authentically helping my kids to grow.

Given we’re all huddled up in the same house, Sarah and I have had the opportunity to observe lots of teaching and learning in action. I have enjoyed seeing my kids teachers create open conversation space to help the kids process and talk about their feelings of not attending school in person. We’re social creatures. And my kids miss playing and learning with their friends. The video conferencing helps our kids feel a sense of connection. I have enjoyed seeing the apps, games and “edtech” innovations used to make math, reading, and science fun and engaging. For my older son, I have enjoyed seeing him research his science project and practice new skills of presenting online for the first time. I think my sons have become excited with the idea of having their own YouTube channel some day.

My wife and I have appreciated the way our students have received their schedule and assignments. In some cases, it’s been really nice to have all work due on Sunday at the end of the week. We really like the way our teachers have broken up the scope of work for the week into daily achievable tasks. As Sarah and I try to accomplish our professional work concurrently with running a home classroom, this attention to detail is greatly helpful. We recognize that planning and executing these lessons online is not easy. And again we say thank you.

Sarah and I have often wondered what it would be like to “home school” our kids. Across the nation, many families and teachers have adapted to making our homes into places of learning. If there’s a “bright side” to COVID19, I appreciate the precious opportunity to see my kids learn and grow. I appreciate all your efforts to keep authentically human connections to our students. We recognize that teaching online is more time intensive. Speaking as a parent, please know that we recognize your efforts and thank you.

Blessings to you and your family!!

Posted in parenting, teaching, technology | Leave a comment

Playfully Connect Your Friends and Family with Mozilla Hubs

Mozilla Hubs
Looking for a playful way to connect your remote teams and family? In this time of social distancing, it’s becoming more important to find fun ways to create shared experiences virtually. Mozilla Hubs enables your team to host VR/gameful meeting experiences complete with audio communication. For communities or families that have VR headsets, Mozilla Hubs works with Windows Mixed Reality, Oculus, and Vive. For developers, check out the links to help you instantiate your own Mozilla Hubs server.

Links
Mozilla Hubs
Controls for Mozilla Hubs
Create environments for Mozilla Hubs
GitHub for Mozilla Hubs
GitHub for Mozilla Spoke

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Create Async-JAM sessions with your music friends at BandLab.com

Hey, Music makers! In the past few months, my family and I have discovered an amazing web-based music recording tool that we just had to share. I believe that some of the best ideas in life come from ideas mixing. In the world of music making, we love having the opportunity to elaborate or jam upon the ideas of other musicians. It’s a core experience. The website BandLab.com makes it possible for music makers to build music in a fun and social manner.

I had the amazing opportunity as a kid to learn musicianship deeply. From my mother, I learned a great deal of discipline and habits required to become a proficient violin player. I learned to appreciate classical music and the joy of making music with others. These lessons also empowered me to serve in my church and use my gift of music to uplift others. My father, gifted me with the perspective and skills of a rock keyboard player. My brother and I grew up listening to a lot of classic rock with Elton John, Billy Joel, Eagles, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Chicago, etc. While I loved classical music, I also desired to play like an Elton John. Being computer geeks, my dad invested very early in getting us access to MIDI music recording equipment and a simple keyboard. As a teen, I can remember losing many hours during the summer learning how to record electronic music. We even recorded some of my dad’s songs too. These are some of my most precious memories.

With this story in mind, I want to create these experiences for my kids too. It’s been fun to explore BandLab.com with my kids and explore their musical creativity together. For my little singer, we record some Disney tracks. One of my boys really enjoys building techno right now. And BandLab.com makes it easy. I hope you consider checking out BandLab.com to explore music making in your family too!

Kid Techno Samples

Key benefits of BandLab.com

  • It just works in the browser: BandLab.com is like Google Docs for musicians. To get started, you don’t need to install software onto your computer at all. Open up a web browser and navigate to BandLab.com and register for an account. From there, you hit the “create” button and you’re ready to start making music.
  • It works with your MIDI/audio controller: In our house, we have a pretty inexpensive MIDI/audio recording box. It’s a USB device that connects my laptop to my MIDI keyboard and our recording mics. It blows my mind that Google Chrome and BandLab.com can interface with audio recording and MIDI devices. Putting geek stuff aside, I can use BandLab.com to record small keyboard and audio fragments completely in the browser. Crazy!!
  • For R&B and techno oriented creatives, BandLab.com has a robust library of audio loops for mixing. All of these loops can be layered and arranged in a multi-track manner.
    Loop library

  • The best ideas come from mixing with other musical ideas. With BandLab.com, you can now share your music in the same manner that you would share a Facebook post or a Google document. This creates an opportunity for creators to market their skills, connect with new musical friends, and gain inspirations from others.

  • A great deal of band lab works on mobile devices and phones too. This can be fun if you’re feeling creative on the go!

Quick tour of features

Multi-track recording

BandLab.com provides an user experience to support multi-track recording. For creatives who want to leverage basic software-based synths in their MIDI creations, you can expect the common piano roll interface. I have to say that I enjoy the simplicity as compared to other recording tools. Unfortunately, I have not found a way to output my MIDI back to my external keyboard device. This matters for professional musician use cases where you have an amazing library of sounds on your keyboard. I do like that the multi-track experience enables you to mix different types of musical ideas: MIDI keyboard recordings, raw audio, drum loops, and audio loops.

Drum patterns

The Drum patterns interface enables you to define a collection of drum patterns. For the pattern A, you might define a drum pattern that works for a verse. For pattern B, you might define another drum pattern for your chorus. You can define another pattern that you might use on a bridge. As I’m trying to engage my kids in music making, I like to share the drum pattern maker with them. They instantly get it and enjoy iterating on ideas.

Keyboard
Are you curious about BandLab.com, but don’t have a keyboard? Don’t worry! They have you covered. They have a simple interface for playing notes using your normal computer keyboard. For simple techno recording, you can still have fun with this interface.

To give you more perspective, check out this YouTube video from Eumonik. I like his honest review and tour of BandLab.com.

Hope you enjoy BandLab to create async-JAM sessions with your music friends and family.

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