Friday morning, I taught the seventh session of an 8-session (40 minutes per session) course on Inkscape at a Boston-area middle school. (For more general details about the class check out my blog post on day 1.)
Well, this Inkscape course is quickly wrapping up. One more class after this past one on Friday. The students’ work was due at the end of this class and they all did great work in prepping their designs for the printer. I handed out a sheet with the export instructions (available for download below.)
We weren’t exactly sure the best approach to gather up the files at first; Ken had set up a shared drive on the network for the students to save their work to, but on some of the Macs, Inkscape’s export bitmap dialog could not see the shared drive (and some could!) What we ended up doing:
- Have the students export their work out to the desktop – 300 dpi, PNG format.
- I asked them to use either their band name or their own name in the file so I could tell them apart.
- Then, ask them open up the appropriate network drive folder and drag both the exported file and original SVG into it from the desktop.
- I then connected to the shared drive, inspected all the files to make sure they had exported correctly (they had! If they hadn’t, I would have gone back to the students whose files had issues and tried to help them re-export them.)
- I then copied the files from the network drive onto a USB key.
- Immediately after I got back to the office, I went through the files carefully, adding the requested T-shirt size from the students’ filled-out T-shirt size sign-up sheet from day 5 of class. My naming scheme was the following format:
- I then uploaded the files to a URL, both as individual files and bundled in a zip file for Walter’s convenience – then I emailed Walter the URLs.
- John called Walter from EmbroidMe Chelmsford up to make sure he had gotten the email (he hadn’t yet, so great thinking on John’s part) and Walter set out setting up the T-shirts that morning.
A few things we learned from this process I think you could take away in teaching a similar class to make it run more smoothly:
- Make sure you pass that T-shirt size signup sheet around early on, and keep bringing it back to class until every student has filled it out. Students are absent sometimes, especially in the winter cold season, and you want to make sure you’ve got each student’s size.
- We had one student absent this past Friday. We’ll get his file on the last day of class and get his T-shirt to him after the class is over. That being said, you may want to have the students save out to a shared drive throughout the class (we weren’t doing that, we were having them use their individual accounts) and in the days of class past the halfway mark of the entire course, ask the students if they are going to be there for every day, and if not would they like us to go ahead and print their files if they’re not there or to wait.
- Make it easier for your printer and put the students’ T-shirt sizes in the file name.
- Make sure you get the students’ SVGs as well as PNGs! Rendering PNGs from SVGs with a lot of blurs can take a long time! I was really surprised by this. The Whisp logo took the longest – a good 15-20 minutes to render! If you have the students’ SVG files as well and run out of time during class, it enables you to do the rendering on your own post-class to make sure the printer will get the files on time. It’s also good to have the SVGs in case you or the printer notice any issues with the PNG that might have been missed during class.
- Bundling the files into one compressed file makes it easier for them to download than individual files.
- If you’re on a tight deadline, don’t rely on email only – give your printer a call!
Many students were finished with time to spare, so they had the rest of the period to explore Inkscape on their own. They came up with some very cool sketches using the techniques they learned throughout the class:
You can see the full set of photos John took of the students’ work in the Flickr album for session 7. On Tuesday, if all goes well (fingers crossed!) we’ll hand out the T-shirts and do some fun exercises with Inkscape, so look forward to those photos.
Follow Along on Your Own
Here’s the lesson sheet we used for class on Friday:
Introduction to Inkscape Lesson 7
As always, the OpenOffice.org source files and the outlines for the entire course are at the course page on my website – but please note that’s a rough outline; as we progress through the class I’m coming up with the more-solid lesson plans based on how far the students get each session. By the end of the course I hope to have the course page organized much better.
By the way, if you’d like to follow all the blog posts about this class at one URL without getting the rest of my feed, I’ve set up a category in WordPress specifically for these posts:
Enjoy! And please do let me know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions
This course is sponsored by