Unity3d growing – lets get schools in on this

A recent press release from Unity3d gave some impressive figures “Unity Technologies Surpasses 250K Developers Milestone and 35M Installs of Free Unity Web Player
I am a big fan of Unity3d as you will have seen over the years and it is great to see the company doing so well. I do not think this success is purely technical, Unity3d is a great product but it has been the positive and open attitude of the company which if you ever talk to the CEO David Helgasson you will see why. It is a true startup come good.
The figures are impressive for the web plugin but the figures not shown, that are in fact even bigger is the fact that every iphone and droid can run Unity3d apps. Many of you will have even played or used some and possibly not even noticed.
Unity3d 3 editor
I expect to see Unity3d appear in more and more schools as part of both art and science lessons, that was partly my intention in showcasing it on The Cool Stuff Collective. This is a tool and an environment that has both great simplicity and the ability to get as complex as you want. Programming and graphic/sound integration is the ultimate UGC. We also have lots of ways to deploy and share that content.
It seems that a set of simple course material prefabs would make a great module in both infant and secondary education to help find the story tellers, game developers, artists and programmers of the future by letting kids just get on with it and create. There may be some real gems of ideas bubbling away out there don’t you think?
Having seen the willingness to create with my own kids, watching a 3 year old choose to paint the Kart in Mario Kart on the DS and decorate away, or seeing a 7 year old revel in 3d modelling with the haptic device we really should be pushing this future tech (not just Unity3d BTW) into schools, helping teachers understand the creative and learning potential.
I know lots of people are, I know there is lots of resistance to change too. However some of this is not massive capital expenditure (most schools seem to have computers). In just the same way as many of us solo entrepreneurs are able to punch above our human resources weight with access to amazingly accessible technology, so should the classroom.
It is then not a lesson about computing or tech but about creativity, expression as well as STEM.
Fingers crossed we can ride this wave. It is certainly one I want to pursue.
Anyone out there have good Unity3d educational related prefabs?

5 thoughts on “Unity3d growing – lets get schools in on this

  1. I have a vision to use Unity3d in school and next week, I will be in my own, old school(kids age 6-12 yrs), where I have been teaching till last summer and I really want to show there for kids the Unity3d and just throw it to them: “you can download it free and there is tutorial videos – go for it”. Just want to see, what they’ll do.

  2. That’s sounds brilliant. I am going to try that with my own kids you know, its certainly worth an hour or two to see what happens.
    Let us know how it goes for you.

  3. My 3rd year computer technology, middle school students will be spending over half the year working on Unity, this year. Before that they will be working on Sketchup which will be needed for Unity. They already learned spreadsheets (macros, if/then statements, creating functions, etc) and BASIC last year so they will have a head start on JavaScript.

  4. I discovered Unity at the age of 18, and learning it has been one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had with computers.
    Here’s a thread on the Unity forums documenting my early endeavors: http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/8886-First-Day-with-Unity!

    I am currently working on the “Whirld Project”, which will provide a standardized toolkit for Unity games to share streamed worlds – as well as an awesome opportunity for budding mapmakers to enjoy their creations in their favorite Unity games:
    http://www.unifycommunity.com/wiki/index.php?title=Whirld

    My Unity game is already Whirld enabled, and there are dozens and dozens of worlds accessible through it that were designed by members of the game’s community with no prior training:
    http://marsxplr.com/browse-cat-265

    …On the subject of prefabs, here’s an early release of the Whirld toolkit. It includes a couple cool vehicles and a basic singleton game state manager, and should provide a fun start to new Unity developers:
    http://aubreyfalconer.com/view-6853

    @Rod:
    Sketchup is a nice introduction to modeling, but Blender 2.5 will provide your students with far more power and flexibility. You may wish to incorporate both programs in the course! I know a 14 year old girl who loves Blender, and models all manner of things with it 🙂

  5. @Rod that sounds great, I am really pleased to here that. I think the scope for more people to become aware of what they can actually program when toolkits are more accessible is really important. The visual and audio elements to things like unity offer a very quick and obvious payback for those who have not yet experience the buzz of coding. It also blends lots of other skills as you have shown using sketchup to model in 3d (or Blender as @Aubrey has suggested).
    @Aubrey, that is really good to hear. You seem to have got the development buzz and saying Unity3d is an enjoyable experience is probably the best thing the developers at Unity3d can hear. You don’t often hear the word enjoyable applied to other development environments, efficient, accessible etc but I agree it is enjoyable and that is half the battle in making interesting things for other people. 🙂 Nice one

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