Tuesday, August 25, 2009

He Said / She Said Part 2

Educator, Woman, and SketchUp modeler Beryl Reid has written an insightful article for SketchUp Island on the subject of "SketchUp and women." She explores the idea that boys and girls are socialized differently, leading them to have different skills and opportunities. But given the chance, each can do what the other does just as well. At least with SketchUp. Beryl writes:

"This is a subject very near to my heart for lots of reasons. I LOVE SketchUp and seem to learn new tricks with it all the time, every time I use it. That's really the attraction for me, the creative urge to make something real in a new way. I also love the whole problem solving process in geo-modeling. You know - how to figure out how to make the roof attach to another the right way, or figuring out how to create something that looks like a fire escape without using 5 million polygons. I think I've learned more about photo processing software as a result of needing to create the right textures for SketchUp models, too. I have seen my knowledge grow as I make the models, and I derive a lot of pleasure in that.

"So it puzzles me too that other women would not jump into it so much.... I am also a teacher, a computer teacher in elementary and for adults. I am aggressive about promoting SketchUp and Google Earth in all my classes. I have taught second graders this program because they really are ready for it, if someone shows them the first steps.  They just take off with it. I hope their early exposure will encourage them to consider the joys of modeling as they get older. I do have some observations from my classroom experiences. When children are shown the same steps, there is no difference in their level of skills or abilities. Girls and boys are however wired a little differently - for millions of intrinsic and environmental reasons, which I won't get into. Boys have been given more confidence as builders usually, they play with blocks, trains and cars more when
they are young. Girls are given more opportunity to play with fantasy, for lack of a better way to explain it - such as dolls, doll houses etc... they really enjoy pretending to put a house together (on the inside) and boys really enjoy building bigger things that represent more concrete ideas. This doesn't mean they can't model for Google Earth though, they just need encouragement to think it's appropriate, and chances to try it out. I think.

"Looking at my own models and the collections I'm working on, I see the ones that I love the most are kind of little compared to some of the bigger models I have seen. Little, and many have a sentimental meaning for me... like the Mark Twain house... I love the author's writing so I wanted to make him a spot in Google Earth. Although I do enjoy a skyscraper every once in a while!!"

Beryl Reid is an educator of second-grade children and adult students. She has an education in the visual arts and enjoys paper sculpture, sewing, and quilting. In August 2009 Beryl attended the Google Teacher Academy at the Google office in Boulder, CO. "I was in heaven being in that building!" she writes. "It's like my dream come true."

Mark Twain's House In Hartford, Connecticut by Beryl Reid