When I reached out to Unity3D explaining that my tiny rural school didn't have $1500 for a license but were very much interested in using their software daily I did not expect the response I got. Unity3D staff responded quickly asking how many computers I had in my school. I was only looking for a discount on one license and Unity3D gave our tiny school 80 licenses so that as many students as possible could experience and create with their service. It is that type of generosity that encourages a school to dig in and produce!
We began with a focus on becoming producers not consumers of games and experiences. Grade 9-12 students immediately started to create worlds from their imagination and with the help of our school district and Brilliant Labs organization we added Oculus Rifts to make our creations virtual reality. In the above videos our students in 2014-2015 created a simple world and with the Rift get to experience it in virtual reality. From this point we changed into a larger technology room, added Microsoft Windows installs of Unity3D 5 Pro and from there the sky was the limit.
Adding Unity3D to our program has positioned our students to pursue careers and training previously foreign to them. Caledonia Regional High School has been referred to in the local news as a "Centre of Excellence" because of the Education Technology endeavours, innovative technology programs and partnerships we've made. Unity3D's generosity helped that happen. Our students had been trained for years using 3D modelling tool "Sketchup" (Provided by Anglophone East School District) and when we discovered you could import these Sketchup Pro creations into Unity3D as .FBX files our program amplified. Students can now build the game and experience assets they need in Sketchup Pro and import them into their Virtual Reality or 2D/3D creations in Unity3D.
Partners make the EdTech world go round and Unity3D has shown that they are not only partners in this journey but also stakeholders who actually care about students' creations and future career aspirations. If you have a computer that is capable of running Unity3D i highly recommend reaching out to Unity3D and seeing what they can do for your school or program. Students deserve tools that can translate ideas into reality and if you add an Oculus Rift you could make it Virtual Reality!
Benjamin Kelly 2016
I'm an experienced Global Minecraft Mentor, Published Educational Researcher, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Apple Distinguished Educator and grade 6-12 technology teacher. @BBTNB