I’m a big fan and user of Google SketchUp 3D modelling software. You can build all sorts of things in SketchUp and then create an AVI movie and export it to showcase your work (image above shows this in action). It works very well in the classroom, engaging pupils beyond standard expectations, boys and girls alike – every year I introduce it to Y8 and am blown over by the amount of time the majority spend working on their creations. Also, we have started using it in GCSE Graphic Design course instead of ProDeskTop (blogpost about that here). But I’m not going to miss SketchUp because it is only changing ownership. See this official blogpost for more info. I’m mildly concerned about the future of SketchUp in schools. Google are good to education. Trimble are the new owners and they will be seeking revenue streams. But a grand don’t come for free.
This is also symptomatic of Google’s move away from products that do not sit comfortably and compliment their development to a fully online ecosystem via Google Apps, Google+ and the Google OS on chromebooks. I don’t think there’s a way SketchUp could work in the cloud and therefore no way it could be part of Googles online strategy. I’m making this up of course – I have no idea about Google’s strategy; it does seem logical that they are building an ecosystem. Other products have disappeared seemingly because they are built with the wrong code or do not somehow provide what Google are seeking to achieve – thinking WonderWheel and her friends.
Let us hope SketchUp continues to be free to educators and learners. It is truly an awesome product.