photo by Takegi Yoshimoto

Artwork by Vladimir Petkovic and Wes McDermott

Education is taking over SIGGRAPH 2022! In the midst of their jam-packed schedule, we got a chance to chat with Nick Jushchyshyn, founder and program director of VR & Immersive Media labs and undergraduate program at Drexel University, and Anie Miles, multi-media developer at Arizona State University, to learn all about SIGGRAPH’s newest event: Educator’s Day. Take a look at how this day was formed.

SIGGRAPH: Share some background about SIGGRAPH 2022 Educator’s Day.

Nick Jushchyshyn (NJ) and Anie Miles (AM): Educator’s Day is SIGGRAPH 2022 Education Liaison Monica Cappiello’s initiative. It is one day dedicated to educators advancing their knowledge through hands-on learning experiences. While most presentations nowadays are about production and showcasing the latest innovations, Monica realized that these sessions were missing a very valuable target market — educators. This was an opportunity to expand SIGGRAPH to include more content that educators and students were interested in and allow them to become better equipped in the classroom.

SIGGRAPH: What are some of the tools and strategies showcased at this year’s Educator’s Day? Are there any that you are looking forward to learning more about?

NJ: I was excited to hear ILM present “Jedi’s, Padawan’s, and Professionals.” Presenters Paul Churchill and Kim Paris shared insights on how to adopt their in-studio training into their programs to help prepare the next generation of storytellers for joining a studio such as ILM. It was fascinating to not only hear about the industry as of now, but also to see where it’s going and how it is integrated with students.

AM:Adobe Substance 3D: A Reference for 3D Content Creation for Your Students” really caught my eye. Alwyn Hunt discussed their new tool, Adobe Substance 3D Collection, which is filled with smart creative apps and high-end content to give educators and students everything they need to make inspiring art and photorealistic 3D content. After watching the presentation, it was interesting to see how they communicate with the audience. It was a combination of advice and a pipeline for students as well as tools for educators to use in their programs. I’m already looking for ways to implement it into my education plan.

SIGGRAPH: Why is hands-on training important for educators and their professional development?

NJ and AM: Hands-on training is very important for educators so they understand what their students will be doing. Educator’s Day allows you to be in the room with the developers and creators who are using the tools in the industry. Rather than just searching online for videos where you don’t know the background or skillset needed, this is an opportunity to hear firsthand how exactly to use they tools to help further your students education. You get to hear their vision behind the project and how it came to life, plus you are able to speak one-on-one with the developers and ask any questions that you or your students might have.

Not only are educators looking to learn more about their tools, the developers want to hear from you. This is very unique to SIGGRAPH and makes for genuine conversation between the two worlds to understand what exactly both of them are looking for and build on this symbolic relationship. And the exciting part is that it’s not run by just one company! Educators and students get the opportunity to interact with the industry’s leading companies from all across the globe.

SIGGRAPH: What are the benefits of hands-on learning, learning through online courses, and independent studies, among others?

NJ and AM: There is a lot to gain out of all types of learning, and it mostly depends on what will be the most effective for what you are doing. Remote learning opens up a new world of opportunities and breaks down those geographical barriers, whereas in-person learning allows one-on-one experiences and collaboration. It is important to know the most efficient learning method for the tools and your students. The best method is a combination of the two so you can leverage that in-person experience while gaining access to any expert in the virtual world.

SIGGRAPH: What is your favorite thing about this year’s Educator’s Day?

NJ and AM: We were a bit nervous since it’s the first year of being back in person at SIGGRAPH and also the first-ever Educator’s Day, but we had an amazing turnout. We are so grateful that we got to interact with not only the experts but other educators from across the globe. A participant shared with us that this was their very first SIGGRAPH, and they chose Educator’s Day as their first session. The positive energy that comes from a room packed with educators is so exciting. SIGGRAH is our adrenaline shot for the next year of teaching!

Opportunities are around every corner. If you missed Educator’s Day, Full Conference, Virtual Conference, and Experience Plus registrants can still access on-demand education sessions in the virtual conference platform.

Nick Jushchyshyn is the founder and program director of VR & Immersive Media labs and undergraduate program at Drexel University, plus the incoming SIGGRAPH Education Liaison.

Anie Miles is a multi-media developer at Arizona State University and the social media manager of the SIGGRAPH Education Committee.

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