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BCON 2023: Milestone for Blender educators

Blender Conference is back, bigger than ever, and the Krystal Institute team was fortunate to have joined the event in person this time! Though the weather in Amsterdam was gloomy, our spirits were as lively as ever as we met with hundreds of Blenderheads, hailing from all around the world.

Ton Roosendaal’s opening keynote this year was a stark reminder that the open-source movement is still fighting an uphill battle. Under a backdrop of litigious institutions challenging Blender’s role in their precious copyrights and intellectual properties, Ton’s speech reminded us of the core mission of open-source software: Openness in technology ensures the creative freedom of its users. Wherever artists go and whatever project they work on, Blender as a tool follows them on their journey, empowering their creative process.

For the team at Krystal, a highlight of the conference was the Education Special Interest Group (SIG) session, led by Ms. Monique Dewanchand of Metis Montessori Lyceum, a long-time contributor to Blender. During the SIG meeting, other educators also shared valuable insights into open education, teaching Blender to K-12 audiences, applications in vocational education, and offered tips on curriculum design. From Sweden to Czechia, the US to Singapore, educators are picking up this incredible tool for learning 3D and working with computer graphics.

Over the past few months, the Curriculum Development team at Krystal has worked closely with Ms. Dewanchand and fellow peers in Blender education to formulate a standardized curriculum for foundational Blender education. Along with the team, we unveiled our “Blender Badges” design, centered around a comparable, accessible, measurable system that facilitates resource sharing and accreditation around Blender education. We presented our thoughts on how to segment each sub-strand of learning, the breakpoints in teaching levels, and the degree of granularity we should offer in our measurement efforts.

To complement the “Blender Badges” design, we further outlined the broader thinking around Krystal’s Qualification Framework, which offers a leveling system, and training and assessment infrastructure surrounding Digital Economy Core Technology (DECT) training. Our QF system design focuses on the implementation aspect of the curriculum, offering a Train-the-Trainer service to ensure schools have high-quality talent knowledgeable on Blender techniques. Further, the Krystal Educational Platform's automated assessment and accreditation capabilities ensure that mass-scale adoption of the QF system will be swift and easy for international users.

Over the next year, Krystal Institute will work alongside the Blender community to set up the International Alliance of Blender Educators, building up a platform that enables teachers to get access to Blender teaching resources and share their work with others. Moreover, the forthcoming International Animation Blender Competition in China, with the “China Space Dream” theme, will be the ideal project to pilot the Blender Badges and Train-the-Trainer initiatives.

We can’t wait to return next year to share more achievements in Blender education!

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