The Educators Forum and ‘Groovy Graphics’ at SIGGRAPH 2018

by | 23 January 2018 | Conferences, Education, Research

erik brunvand

Erik Brunvand is the Education Focus Area Chair for SIGGRAPH 2018. He shares his experience as a SIGGRAPH attendee and volunteer leader, and what’s new and groovy for educators at this summer’s conference, taking place 12-16 August, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia. If you are interested in submitting an idea for a Groovy Graphics Assignment, submissions are open until 13 February.

SIGGRAPH: How long have you been involved in SIGGRAPH as an attendee and as a leader?

Erik Brunvand (EB): I’ve been attending SIGGRAPH every year since 2008. I come to SIGGRAPH as a computer architect and computer designer, not as a computer graphics software developer. Prior to 2008 I was designing computers for other purposes, but around that time, I became very interested in hardware approaches to accelerating computer graphics. SIGGRAPH is obviously the place to be when one starts sniffing around the computer graphics area and I’m now hooked! I’ve been involved in SIGGRAPH organization for 2016, 2017, and continuing through 2018 as part of the Education Focus at SIGGRAPH.

SIGGRAPH: What is the Educator’s Forum at SIGGRAPH?

EB: The Educator’s Forum is two days of carefully selected and curated content that we believe will be exciting and interesting to educators at all levels. You can think of the Educator’s Forum as a two-day mini-conference within SIGGRAPH, focusing on education. This is different than the Courses program – the Courses are to educate computer graphics professionals, the Educator’s Forum is content designed specifically for educators. In addition to content about education topics, the Forum also highlights the year-round work of the SIGGRAPH Education Committee.



SIGGRAPH: Who should attend the Educator’s Forum?

EB: Anyone interested in topics related to education in the areas of computer graphics and interactive techniques. Many SIGGRAPH attendees are educators, and education is a tremendously important part of the total SIGGRAPH experience. If you are an educator from K-12 up through graduate level education, you’ll find something interesting at the Educator’s Forum.

SIGGRAPH: How will the program be different this year?

EB: We always showcase ideas and topics from excellent educators from around the world in our Educator’s Forum panels. New this year, we have an exciting submission area for Groovy Graphics Assignments to allow educators to submit ideas for assignments and curriculum that you can take back and use in your own classrooms.

SIGGRAPH: You’re planning to collaborate with other ACM SIGs in 2018. What does that look like?

EB: Returning to this year’s conference is a popular collaboration with ACM SIGCSE (CS Education SIG) where content from SIGCSE is presented at SIGGRAPH 2018. New this year, education-related content from SIGGRAPH 2018 will be invited to be reprised at SIGCSE 2019 in a reciprocal program at that conference.

SIGGRAPH: Tell us more about the Groovy Graphics Assignments and how people can get involved.

Groovy Graphics Assignments are terrific class assignments relating to computer graphics and interactive techniques that educators have developed for their own courses, and are willing to share with our community. We know that making great assignments is hard. Based loosely on the long-running and extremely popular ACM SIGCSE “Nifty Assignments,” we plan to gather and archive the best of these Groovy Graphics Assignments and make them freely available for use in your classes.


Groovy Graphics Assignments have their own submission category under the General Submissions area at SIGGRAPH. Your Groovy Graphics Assignment submission should include a 2-4 page abstract to explain the assignment, and contextualize the contribution for other educators who will be using it in their educational setting. An accepted Groovy Graphics Assignment will serve as an article of a CGEMS special issue with accompanying practical material (i.e. documentation, code, assets, etc.), and include a 20min talk at SIGGAPH 2018 in the Educator’s Forum.

SIGGRAPH: What are you most looking forward to in Vancouver this summer?

I’m very interested in seeing how the community responds to the new Groovy Graphics Assignments call for submissions! I hope we get some really innovative and exciting assignment ideas. We expect that some Groovy Graphics Assignments will be most interesting not through the exact assignment archived, but by how they inspire educators to think in new directions and develop their own Groovy Graphics Assignments.

SIGGRAPH is always a total blast! And Vancouver is such a wonderful host city that it makes it even more fun. On a personal note, I’m really looking forward to some great food and drink in Vancouver, including a killer poutine!

SIGGRAPH 2018 takes place 12-16, August in Vancouver, British Columbia. Join us!

Erik Brunvand is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, where his research and teaching interests include the design of application-specific computers, graphics processors, asynchronous systems, and VLSI. He has also spent time as a visiting scholar in the Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) program at the University of Washington, developed collaborative arts/tech classes at the University of Utah, and given a TEDx talk about this type of collaboration in 2015.

As an artist, and as an educator, he is fascinated by connections between arts and technology and how the benefits of this connection seem to flow in both directions. This interest in arts/tech collaborations has led him to explore and show a variety of kinetic mixed media artworks, many involving electronic control (including in the SIGGRAPH Art Gallery in 2014). He is also a printmaker, and co-founder of Saltgrass Printmakers, a non-profit printmaking studio and gallery in Salt Lake City since 2003. His artwork includes work in traditional printmaking media (relief, etching, letterpress), experimental media (including electronics), kinetic mixed media, and sculptural installation.

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