SketchUp – Modeling a 3D Doghouse

This is a series of video screencast tutorials that demonstrate how to create a doghouse using SketchUp.

Students love doing these activities, but they don’t want to have anyone show them for 70 minutes on a projector screen and then set them free.  They also don’t want to have to figure out written directions (did you ever open up the shrink-wrapped manual?).  They just want to jump in and create. This format allows students to start from the beginning and model as they watch.  If they skip a step or have trouble, they can go back and rewatch that portion of the tutorial. If they find another way to do the same thing, that’s even better.  If a student misses a day, they have not missed any instruction.

The screencast is indexed giving students the advantage of quickly find out where they left off from the day before or go back and rewatch a segment for better understanding.

Directions, supplemental files and SketchUp files saved at various stages can be found by downloading the document below.

Complete Doghouse Lesson Download

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SketchUp and Chromebooks in Schools

A year or two ago, Trimble released a web-based version of SketchUp. Branded as SketchUp Free, it was somewhat limited compared to the desktop version but now has blossomed into a decent version.  They discontinued free desktop version (Make 2017), but it can still be downloaded for a few more months.

Trimble then adapted the web version for education as SketchUp for Schools.  It is 95% the same as SketchUp Free with the main difference being that it uses Google Drive for cloud storage instead of Trimble Connect cloud storage(free).  The user/student must have a google account AND your district IT department must set it up for your school(s) to work with G-Suite for Education or Microsoft Education.  For most users, either version will do whatever you want it to for school, so just choose what works best for you.


The full-blown version of SketchUp Pro is still available for schools in states participating in the free grant program, so this is great news for schools that have more developed programs with computer labs.

For schools using Chromebooks, SketchUp Free or for Schools are the only options.  Files are freely interchangeable regardless of the version, but since software can’t be installed on a Chromebook, the web-based version is the only option.  As long as you have a basic 3-button mouse, it runs well.  From what I’ve read, using just the trackpad really slows down the experience.

The interfaces and menus do differ between the versions.  Most of the same keyboard shortcuts work as well which is about all I use whenever I can.  I did create an indexed demonstration for students of most of SketchUp’s commands with the web version to help translate the commands between the versions.

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Build a Big Backyard Playset With SketchUp

Just what the title says.  This series of screencasts will take your students through the entire construction, one mouse-click at a time.  It assumes a basic understanding of SketchUp’s commands and some experience, but otherwise, this pretty-much has it all.  As their teacher, you can decide just how far they go and for those that finish first, there are plenty of features they can add to make the ultimate backyard toy.


The supporting files can be downloaded below.

Playset SketchUp Files

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Create Your Own Time Magazine Cover With Pixlr

Have your students use Pixlr to create their own Time magazine cover using the free online image editing site, Pixlr.

While this lesson can be completed on almost any device that can browse the Web, it is ideally suited for students using Chromebooks as they cannot install desktop editing programs like GIMP and Photoshop.

The screencast is indexed, so you can take students to a specific point each day and/or they can easily return to a previous chapter to go over a step again.

You can view the screencast or many others on my YouTube Channel.


Create Your Own TIME Magazine With GIMP

Have your students use GIMP to create their own Time magazine cover using the free open-source program, GIMP.

The screencast is indexed, so you can take students to a specific point each day and/or they can easily return to a previous chapter to go over a step again.

Created with GIMP on a Mac

You can view the screencast on my YouTube Channel.

Additionally, you can download the files at different stages of completion to share with a student that may need a “fresh start”

Time Magazine GIMP Files

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Online Photo Editing for Chromebooks

Online Photo Editing for Chromebooks

TECH-908 –  Three 900-Level Semester Units

Learn to create and edit digital images with powerful web-based applications on devices like Chromebooks and iPads/Android tablets. No experience is needed.

With schools issuing students devices like Chromebooks and tablets for school/home use, running powerful programs like Photoshop and GIMP are not possible. However, most of the same editing functions can be accomplished with Autodesk Pixlr, a free online photo editor that runs on any Internet-connected device. Pixlr Editor can be used on any device with a web browser, making it perfect for teaching communities with multiple platforms.

All of the lessons are self-paced and include a wide assortment of instructor-created video tutorials to help assist learners of any experience level find success in creating and editing images that they can use with their students.

    • Three graduate-level semester credits from Fresno Pacific University.
    • 100% online.
    • The textbook is optional, everything else is provided.
    • Neither previous academic coursework nor work experience is required.


Register Here!

Save Up To $45!
Use this code to save $15 per course: Eric45

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Eric’s Semi-Interesting Bio

Well….what about me?  I retired in 2016 after 38 years in the classroom.  Now, I know what you’re thinking, 38 years?  Yep, I find it hard to believe myself as there were hard years and…well, there were never any easy years, but they were all good and while I miss working with the kids, I don’t miss the faculty meetings 🙂

I’ve taught everything from Architectural CAD to Algebra, from Woodshop to Web Design with the last 22 years being in technical subjects.  Now I find myself teaching teachers and I pride myself on trying to be as supportive as possible.  When a student completes one of my courses, it is my goal that they end up with skills and materials they can use the very next day.  It’s impossible for anyone to write a course that will fit everyone, so I try to be as flexible as possible so you can adapt the lessons to your real classroom life.

In addition to teaching, I’ve built furniture commercially, built houses, and even found time to build a 200 M.P.H. 4-seat airplane from a book.

In 2004, I had the opportunity to accept a teaching position at Brussels American School, which serves families from about two dozen nations associated with NATO.  We were just going to stay for a year or two, but when we discovered what the school could offer our own young children, we decided to stay until they graduated, and then some!

Pictured is my family.  Vicky was an R.N. during her career and was the nurse at our school in Brussels.  David is next to her and graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 2015 where he majored in some sort of math I’ll never understand.  David served three years on cutters and is now flying C-130Js from the Coast Guard Air Station in Elizabeth Cty, NC.   Paul is next to him and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2014 with a degree in physics and was stationed at MCAS Miramar as a CH-53 pilot.  He is currently at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA.  I am the short, dumpy-looking fellow with the “I lucked out on the family lottery” look on his face.

During the summer of 2016, we decided to move back to the States and relax a little more.  The move went fine, but the “relaxing” part has yet to come as we are spending lots of time traveling to see family and such. 

For those keeping score,

Hometowns: Mukilteo, WA, Kortenberg, Belgium, St. George, Utah and Aiken, SC.


Western Governors University             

M.Ed. Learning and Technology

Washington State University  

B.A. Tech Ed (Double Major)

Professional experience:

Sherwood High School, Sherwood, OR    January 1977 – June 1977

Math, Woodworking, Metals, and Auto

Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Marysville, WA         September 1977 – June 1980

General Math and Algebra, Woodworking, Metals, and Auto

Marysville Middle School, Marysville, WA          September 1980 – June 1989

General Math and Occupational Versatility

Cedarcrest School, Marysville, WA        September 1989 – June 1996

Algebra, Geometry, and Gifted Math.

Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Marysville, WA         September 1996 – June 2004

Engineering & Architectural Computer Graphics and Computer Animation.

Brussels American School, Brussels, BE           September 2004 – June 2016

Engineering and Architectural Computer Graphics (CAD), Web Design, Digital Imaging, Desktop Publishing, Video Production, and Computer Animation.  Educational Technologist.

Home church: IPC, Brussels, Belgium, and Good Shepherd Presbyterian, St. George, Utah, South Aiken Presbyterian, Aiken, SC.

So, that’s a little about me for now. I look forward to hearing a little bit about you soon.


All Classes

  • How is the instruction delivered?  All of my classes are 100% online, which gives you the flexibility to get the course completed on your own schedule.
  • How do online classes differ from traditional continuing education classes?  The primary difference is that you receive near-immediate feedback on each assignment instead of having to wait until after you mail in your completed packet.
  • Is this one of those classes where I get credit for doing stuff from a book?  Not at all.  There is a recommended book, but each course module includes original content from myself along with optional multiple resources to fit any skill level.  Screencasts take you through each step, one mouse click at a time.
  • How can I get a copy of your screencasts for use in my classroom?  I’ll be happy to send you the package of screencasts when you finish the course for you to use in your classes.
  • How long does the course take to complete?  Impossible to answer other to say I’ve had students complete a class in 3 weeks (FPU minimum allowed) and others take a full year, working on it off and on.  Most finish in a leisurely month or two.
  • Do I have to buy an expensive textbook for your courses?  Nope.  You don’t have to buy a book at all, or anything else for that matter as all of the software is free.  I do make a book recommendation and they range from about $5 used to $30 new, but many students find there is more than enough content in the course without a book.
  • What is Open-Source software?  These are programs developed by volunteer programmers for the good of the public.
  • What are the advantages of using open-source software?  It’s free and usually runs on all platforms – Windows, OSX (Macs) and Linux.  In most cases, it also runs on Chromebooks and iPads.
  • What are the prerequisite skills for these classes?  If you are reading this page, you are ready to go.


  • What grades can SketchUp be used in?  I have taught SketchUp to students in 3rd grade on up.
  • What subject areas can SketchUp be used?  While math and science (STEM) come to mind, you are only limited by your imagination as it could be used for any class utilizing projects or portfolios.
  • Is SketchUp really free? SketchUp is free for educational use, at home and at school.
  • What platforms does SketchUp run on?  All Windows and Mac computers.  Chromebooks, iPads, tablets and any other device connected to the Internet can access the online version of SketchUp.
  • Is it hard to learn?  Actually, it’s quite simple, yet powerful.  One aspect I have appreciated over the years is that SketchUp has hardly changed over time.  That makes it easy to stay on top of when it upgrades.

Digital Imaging

  • If I already own different software, can I use that instead?  Yes, although I’m not sure why anyone would want to use something other than GIMP.  It runs on just about any computer and since it is free, both you and your students can use it at home.
  • What is GIMP?  You can think of GIMP as free Photoshop.  GIMP can do almost all of the same tasks as any program you would pay money for, in many cases more!
  • Why have I never heard of GIMP?  I  suppose the simple answer is that they don’t spend a penny on advertising.

Digital Photography

  • What kind of camera gear do I need?  This course is about making the most of the gear you already own.  A DSLR or point-n-shoot camera that can save images in RAW format will make the most out of this course and your photography.  If you don’t know what  RAW format images are, please contact me.
  • If I already own different software, can I use that instead?  Yes.  It is the process, not that program that is most important.

All Things Video

  • If I already own different software, can I use that instead?  Yes.  DaVinci Resolve is the real deal and the video tutorials use Resolve, but 99% of the topics covered, transitions, titles/credits, effects, etc., can be accomplished in most programs.
  • Do I need an expensive video camera?  Not at all.  Today, even a basic phone can record video with great quality.  Additionally, you will be introduced to places where you can download millions of free video files, from clips to full-length movies.
  • What if I know nothing about using video?  Then you have found the class for you.  This class has many things for student of any skill level.

Video Editing: HitFilm Express

Video Editing: HitFilm Express

TECH-900 –  Three 900-Level Semester Units

Video Editing: HitFilm Express is a class that will teach the creation of original video content that you can incorporate into your instruction. Participants will quickly discover how easy it is to record and edit video content that their students will find engaging and exciting, whether included in tutorials, presentations, or lesson enhancements.

In this course, you will learn to use a variety of free/open-source media editors, which run on Macs, Windows and Linux desktops.  Our main workhorse will be DaVinci Resolve, a full-featured, professional-grade video editor that offers great basics with plenty of room to grow! Being free/open-source, both you and your students will be able to use it at both school and home!

All of the lessons are self-paced and include a wide assortment of instructor-created video tutorials to help assist learners of any experience level find success in creating videos that they can use in their classroom the very next day.

Some of the topics that will be covered in this class are:

  • Video editing.
  • Screencasting.
  • Audio editing.
  • Video format conversion.
  • Professional slideshows.
  • Transitions.
  • Publishing your video projects.
  • And more!

Students will also have the option to adapt many of the assignments for use in their own classroom.  Forum discussions throughout the course will allow the students to share creative and effective classroom uses of digital imaging.

  • Three graduate-level semester credits from Fresno Pacific University.
  • 100% online.
  • Uses completely free, powerful, open-source software.
  • The textbook is optional, everything else is provided.
  • Neither previous academic coursework nor work experience is required.


Register Here!

Save Up To $45!
Use this code to save $15 per course: Eric45

Informational Video

Sample Screencast From The Course