Avid takes home the gold yet again

Avid has, once again, taken home more gold medals. And for good reason – they remain the industry standard for media creation. Ask any professional music producer or composer – Avid is the way to go. And with their educational discounts, you can get your students learning the software they will continue to use throughout their creative careers.

Ready to see what we have to offer? Head on over to our website here.

Adobe MAX 2017 announces new Creative Cloud apps

Adobe announced a flurry of new applications as well as features for existing products today as it kickstarts Adobe MAX 2017, the company’s annual creativity conference. Adobe XD and Adobe Dimension are just a few of the changes you can expect to see in the Adobe creative cloud suite, as well as Lightroom being upgraded to the cloud. Adobe has also expanded their Stock and Typekit tools, with all new templates for motion graphics and Typekit visual search, which allows users to match fonts with submitted images.

If you teach creative media at your school, we encourage you to check out these new apps and see what they can do for you and your students. You’ll find them at the top of our education page on our website here.

Technology is Changing Education

Just as technology has revolutionized other industries, it has the power to transform education. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Last week, Holly referenced an EdWeek article that identifies reasons educators fail to implement to transformative, student-centered and technology-driven instruction. The article points out one big issue, “Many teachers lack an understanding of how educational technology works.” It is for this reason I want focus on ways that technology can make learning happen in ways that were impossible in the past. The smartphones that many students carry in their pockets are much more powerful than the technology used to send a man to the moon. Students are able to use these devices to access massive amounts of information, connect virtually to anyone on the planet and to create impressive digital products. These are exciting times for education, but it is our challenge to use technology to create engaging, relevant, and personalized learning experiences for students that will equip them for their futures. In my book, Ditch that Textbook, I point out ways that as educators we can use technology to be different, innovative, creative and hands on. While there are so many great online resources, apps, and other tools that we can use to enhance teaching and learning, I want to focus on the use of video. According to Eric Jensen and others, at least 60% of students are visual or visual-kinesthetic learners. Because of this, video can have a huge impact on student learning. The increased interest in flipped instruction over the past few years demonstrates how technology is changing teaching and learning. Swivl is a great tool to have in the classroom for teacher and student use. The Swivl Capture App is free and can be used on iOS and Android device and the Swivl robot works with any smartphone or tablet. Here are three the ways that I see technology used in my classroom that was unable in the past.

  1. Self Reflection is not only important for teachers, but it is also beneficial for students. Teachers might capture instruction and classroom interactions to analyze and identify areas for growth. A student with behavior issues can look back at the video and work with teachers to set goals and adjust his or her conduct. While I use Swivl to capture instruction and reflect on the effectiveness of my lessons, I also allow students to use Swivl to capture their interactions in small groups. This helps them to reflect on their participation and performance in discussions and group activities.
  2. Video Based Assessments are a welcome alternative to paper/pencil tests. In my Spanish classes, I might use Swivl to capture student conversations and discussions or I may ask them to read a passage aloud. These videos allow me to assess more than written concepts. My students don’t feel anxious by having me stand over them. By uploading videos to Swivl Cloud they are accessible on any device with a browser. Students can even record themselves explaining concepts to use to teach others or use video clips within a digital portfolio.
  3. Mystery Skype is a global guessing game for students that encourages critical thinking through in depth questioning and discussion. Swivl makes it easy to connect with other classrooms by placing a tablet into the robot and using dual markers to capture high quality audio.  I use Swivl Live, an alternative for Skype to help my Spanish students learn about other cultures.

To use technology in a dynamic way we have to think outside of the box and change the way we teach. There are so many ways that video can enhance teaching and learning. The Swivl solution is designed to make video capture easy and a seamless process using the Swivl Capture app and Swivl Cloud. I shared three ways that I use Swivl in my classroom and here are a few other examples.

You can find Swivl products on our website here: https://www.genesis-technologies.com/catalogsearch/advanced/result/?manufacturer[]=169

Have you heard of the new Sibelius cloud sharing feature?

According to an article recently posted on Avid’s blog, Sibelius’ latest cloud sharing feature gives music educators and students a revolutionary way to share their content with the world. According to the chief production office at Avid, the new version of Sibelius is part of Avid’s commitment to providing the most comprehensive tools and workflow solutions that make the entire music writing, collaboration and delivery experience easier than ever.

You can receive a major discount on Sibelius 8 by purchasing our academic version. It’s the same as the regular version for almost half the price. You’ll find the academic version on our website here.

Where to find creative inspiration for your Adobe apps?

If you’re using Adobe creative cloud and struggling for inspiration, check out Adobe’s forums. You’ll find like-minded users engaging in discussions over anything and everything Adobe. You can also chat with experts and find helpful video tutorials.

The only thing you won’t find are the non-profit discounts we offer. For that, you’ll have to head over to our website. Just click here!



Good programming languages (like BlocksCAD) support recursive programming. Instead of looping a single set of commands, a recursive module uses replicas of itself as a part of the module definition. Once a module is called, the values of variables are local to that instance of the module. The result is the ability to create complex objects that can’t be made with simple loop instructions.

In celebration of this capability, we’ll create a famous recursive structure, a fractal tree. Fractals are complex structures in which any part of the structure is a replica of the structure as a whole. An entire branch of mathematics (chaos and complexity theory) is devoted to the exploration of these structures.

Consider a tree, for example, branches are similar to each other, but their size changes as smaller branches grow out of larger ones.

A similar pattern is found in ferns where the whole structure is similar to the smaller parts that make up the plant.

I became so engaged by these structures that I wrote a couple of books on the topic back in the 1980’s: Discovering Apple Logo : An Invitation to the Art and Pattern of Nature, Addison Wesley, 1983.

The language I wrote about, Logo, supported recursion so it was a natural choice. Of course, in those days, the graphics were low resolution 2D images on an Apple II computer ― a far cry from what we can do with BlocksCAD and a 3D printer today.


As our tree is being built, the size and length of branches will change, just as they do with real trees. We start by creating a set of global variables used in our structure.

Next we define a recursive module called tree. This module uses three local variables ― the starting branch length and width and the depth (number of levels) of the tree. These three variables will have their local values changed during use of the module. All other variables will keep their global values.

There are two things to notice in this module. First, you’ll see that we don’t use the Centered option for the cylinder. This makes it easy to get all the branches connected. Second, the cylinder is tapered from its previous radius at the bottom to the new one at the top ― just like the branches of many real trees.
Once this module has been created, we can create our final instructions.

When this BlocksCAD program is run, it produces the following tree. I changed the rendering color by clicking on the Render window box with the color swatch and choosing green as the new color since it looks more tree-like. Of course the color of your printed object will be chosen by the filament you use.

Here’s our printed tree.

This tree also looks like a stalk of broccoli. You should do some research to see why this is.

What’s the best software for 3D printing and 3D design?

If you teach a 3D printing or 3D design class and the software you use needs an upgrade, check out TurboCAD Professional Plus 2017. This recently updated version comes with loads of new and advanced features, and we offer a license that is specifically discounted for schools. Sheet metal tools, as well as features like Bend by Sketch, New Gusset tools and new Unbend tools are just a few of the new additions and improvements that have been added to the 2017 edition.

You can find our educationally discounted version here. Give us a chat if you have any questions!