Compass Housing Services recently partnered with the City of Newcastle’s Digital Library and Beyond Bank, to host a pilot series of workshops teaching the ‘Art of Digital Storytelling’ skills to young people participating in the Grow a Star program.
Facilitated by Tim Davidson, General Manager of Virtual Extended Augmented Reality and Animation (VEARA) and Paul Predny, Managing Director of Coder’s Corner the workshops saw the students explore the theory of storytelling techniques and narrative development during hands-on classes featuring virtual reality, augmented reality and animation over a period of five weeks.
The workshops created an opportunity for students who would not usually have access to explore these emerging technologies, to develop new skills and identify future career aspirations. The course enabled students to gain experience in not only coding in C# language, 3D modelling in Blender, World Building in Unity and game design there were also opportunities to build skills in communication, project management and collaborative work.
Compass Housing’s Community Relations Manager Michelle Faithfull has recently taken on the responsibility of expanding the Grow a Star program and the workshops came about after a discussion with digital library staff.
Ms Faithfull said “We are always looking for opportunities to partner with local organisations to support young people in their academic, sporting or creative pursuits. In households where money is tight, young people often miss out on the extra-curricular activities that most would simply take for granted. These are activities that help young people to connect with their communities, and foster habits and behaviours that have lifelong benefits.”
“The workshops were designed to produce real project outcomes and one-one-one coaching experience, with the potential for future work experience and/or mentoring opportunities with the workshop facilitators or other small businesses that provide VR and AR content for the library” she said.
Digital Library Activation Specialist, Clare Presser said “The pilot course went well. Overall, the group managed to exceed our expectations in ‘keeping up’ with the content. They were more focused than anticipated and a few of the students worked well beyond the stated parameters. The students have generated multiple projects in Unity and Blender- both industry compliant and free software. Every student completed 3D and 2D games that they could take home, tweak and share with their friends”.
The collaborative are talking about holding future workshops and are currently refining the format, with improved content and structure.