Web 2.0 Review #2–SketchUp

 

SketchUp review

Link to my Video Review:    https://www.dropbox.com/s/z0wecnedgfrmrbc/SketchUp%20Review.mp4

1. Name of the Web 2.0 Tool:  SketchUp

2. URL of the Tool:    http://sketchup.google.com

3. Please select the one, primary category for this tool:  Creativity Tool

4. Please describe this tool in your own words (a minimum of 150-250 words).

This is clearly only designed as a creativity tool–but a pretty neat one.  With it, one can create just about ANY 3D image–it is clearly well suited to architecture/planning, but also engineering, product design, or 3D illustration (would be great for original medical illustrations).  There are a lot of technical skills necessary to actually create an illustration, but there are numerous educational videos, help sites, and additional features that one may add to create custom illustrations.  These can be made to scale, which is important if using the program for design, planning, or to create a 3D “model” for use in a 3D printer.

5. Try using the Tool (you may need to sign up for a free or trial account) so that you will learn how it works and what its capabilities are – and so that you will be able to answer the following questions.  Please see the video above

6. Also, most Web 2.0 tools are completely web-based, which means you use them through a web interface; however some tools may require you to download and install a program or plug-in for the tool to work properly. So, please indicate if you needed to download or install any additional components or resources to use the Web 2.0 tool you are reviewing.

This application must be downloaded (at least a license must.)  The professional, unlimited use license is pretty expensive–I was quoted $590.- for the download.  One can download a free trial version that is good for 8 hours only. 

7. What do you need to know before using this tool? (What skills do you need to have?)

Some basic design and/or computer illustration skills would be very helpful–although the video lessons provided by the creators start at a very basic level and are easy to follow.  After that, one really needs time, a sense of working in 3D, and a lot of imagination. 

8. What do you need to have before using this tool? (What additional resources did you need besides a computer and an Internet connection? For example, did your tool require a microphone, a webcam, or some other device or software program to work as intended?)

No other tools were needed, although in some of the “animated” features, it appears that one could record audio, for which a microphone is necessary.

9. How do you use this tool? (Write the basic steps using a numbered list)

1.  Go to: sketchup.google.com

2. Download the application and open

3.  I highly recommend starting with the Learn Center (or Video Tutorials) that are on the main website

4.  Once downloaded, open the app and create alongside the “instructor” on the video tutorial, using the various buttons and functions within the app to play around with your illustration

5. Save your illustration as desired.

11. Please describe a scenario of how you might use this tool in a teaching environment (150-250 words).

This would be a useful tool for creating original, realistic medical illustrations that do not involve actual patients.   Such illustrations could be used in a Powerpoint or other presentation, to make the presented material visually enriched.  It does require some skill and time to use, however.  It may be suited for use in a course in which you are requiring learners to come up with a design element–perhaps a new instrument, exam room, etc, and build upon ideas.  This could be done in small groups, individually, or as a whole class, and could thereby encourage collaboration and creativity.   See also my video review.

12. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using this tool in a formal or informal teaching environment?

Advantages- Originality, flexibility of use (one needs only time, imagination, and practice)

Disadvantages- Price for the program license, time required to master the use of the program.   I see this more as a tool for a professional learning environment, due to the price and necessary design savvy for use, but could be used in an informal teaching environment, to allow more time for exploration and creation.

13. Would you recommend this Web 2.0 tool to others, or suggest that they explore a different tool?

I would recommend it with the caveats I’ve noted above.  Not for those unwilling to have to work to get results or to learn a new program, nor for those unwilling to commit to such an expensive program.

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