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Blender Classes in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA - Summer 2007


cdlogo.pngJim Chronister, author of the acclaimed classroom tutorial book 'Blender Basics', is preparing a series of Blender trainings at the Central Dauphin School in Harrisburg, PA.

Jim Chronister wrote:

There will be some introductory Blender 3D design classes offered through the Central Dauphin School district located in suburban Harrisburg, PA this summer. The CD Summer “Academy” is designed for teachers within the district to fulfill in-service requirements, but administration has graciously allowed me to open these classes to individuals outside the district. These classes are intended for technology, art, math, science, etc. teachers (or anyone else with an interest in applying 3D design). For those unfamiliar with Blender, it is a freeware, open-source developed software package used for 3D design, rendering, animation and 3D game creation with real-time animation. The program is similar to Maya, Lightwave and 3D Studio. We use Blender in the drafting and design lab with our 3D technical drawing and architectural applications. Blender is also used in the communications lab.

Classes run from 8:00-3:30 with two 15-minute breaks and 1 hour for lunch on your own. The district is providing 6 hours of Act 48 professional continuing education credits for teacher requiring the hours per day. Classes cost $50 [U.S.] per day. There are 3 different classes that can be taken individually, but build upon the previous one. The classes will reference the Blender Basics classroom book (since I wrote it), but will provide for some flexible, personal activities.

All classes will be held at:

Central Dauphin High School
437 Piketown Road
Harrisburg, PA 17112
Room 906 (Drafting Lab)

Class dates and descriptions:

3D Design and Animation with Blender (Level 1)
This day will focus on the basics such as the Blender interface, creating meshes, basic editing, lights and cameras, working with materials and textures, world settings, rendering and animation basics.
Class Dates: June 25, 2007; August 13, 2007

Advanced Modeling and Animation with Blender (Level 2)
This day will focus on some more advanced modeling and animation techniques such as working with IPO curves, armature basics, vertex animation, applying modifiers, particles, child-parent relationships and video sequencing. (Prerequisite of level one or equiv. experience)
Class Dates: June 26, 2007; August 14, 2007

Blender Physics and Real-Time Animation (Level 3)
This day will focus on Blender's physics engine. We will look at fluid, cloth, wind effects and the real-time capabilities of the game engine using forces and logic blocks. (Prerequisite of level one or equiv. experience)
Class Dates: June 27, 2007; August 15, 2007

Contact information
To register, contact Mrs. Pat Spiegel at the Central Dauphin School District Administration office:
Email: pspiegel [at]
Phone: (717)545-4703 Ext.204

Central Dauphin School District
600 Rutherford Road
Harrisburg, PA 17109

Questions about the class, please contact me:
Jim Chronister
Email: jchronister [at]

Related Web Sites:

Central Dauphin Drafting Lab Blender download page.


  1. Actually, I take that back. No offense, but spending $150 for 3 days of classes that will probably be very repetitive of what I already know doesn't seem like a wise investment. I would definiltely be interested in getting a PA Blender meet together sometime this summer. In fact I talked to harkyman about it before but we never really put much effort into actually getting one going. Sounds like a good thing that you're teaching Blender courses, but a little over priced in my opinion.

  2. Brian: aren't you mentioning two separate things here? Paying $150 to hear something you already know is not a good investment, but $50 for a full-day training is *cheap*!

  3. I would love to go but I'll be in Macedonia this summer. BrianH - a blender PA meeting sounds like a good idea. Somewhere in Philly would be kinda nice ;) (20 min ride for me) School is just about over, but I have summer classes... I'll stop in blenderchat/gameblender next week... my only week off... lol o well...

  4. @Bart: Mentioning two seperate things? $50/day x 3 days = $150. Unless you only plan on staying for a day, even then $50 is still over priced for a days worth of training. The Montreal Blender Conference is 100% free of fee's, and covers the same topics. I drove from PA to Montreal, and the only cost was for gas and a hotel, and food. All of which you will still have to pay for to attend the classes in Harrisburgh, unless you feel like sleeping in your car. I'm not saying anything bad about the courses, in fact I applaud the efforts of getting the word out about Blender and training those in need. Maybe I'll run into some more people downtown who know what my Blender tshirt really is. I'm always interested in meeting fellow Blenderheads from Pennsylvania, or anywhere around the globe.

  5. @Markolonius: heh, I never knew you were from PA. If you told me before, then I must have forgot. I'll have to send you a BHoP invite (BlenderHeads of Pennsylvania) . . . ;)

  6. BrianH,

    I had a hoagie for lunch today :-) in Southern California though. (101 f degrees today). I grew up in Philly and I'll be there Labor Day weekend so if anybody wants to meet that'd be great!

  7. hey that's literally down the road from my school! it'd be awesome to meet up with other blenderheads...

    tho yea i do already know more than basic - do u think it will be limiting in that way, like brianH is saying?

  8. Thanks for the comments and interest. A PA meeting would be nice and would like to attend also if it can fit into the busy schedule.

    Tossing over prices with our curriculum director, we tried to compare it to what you would see in other educational inservice programs. Last year I ran a 2-day thing through our local I.U. and they basically charged $100 (what most of their programs run).

    The days are going to cover basically what's listed with some time to try some personal things. I have to remember that most of the participants I may be getting will be very basic in modeling skills. Just like teaching high school students... I try to accommodate to varied abilities and interests. This is geared more for the teacher (or other individual) just trying to get into Blender and seeing if they can incorporate it into a curriculum. I plan to offer a photocopied copy of the manual and a CD of sample work to each participant (things like a folder full of architecture models, trees (2D and 3D), textures, some simple games we've made, etc..... things we use in class). As a PA teacher, we need to get 180 continuing education hours every 5 years and the district is offering 6 per day.

    Last year, I presented Blender in Baltimore at the International Technology Education Assoc. annual conference. They charged about $300 to attend the 2-day conference and even as a presenter, I still had to pay (well, the district did). It was a great experience and it helped spread the word about Blender, but for the price, I don't think I'm doing that gig again anytime soon.

  9. I would think that $150 for three days worth of training is cheap.

    I would and have paid much more for training.

    I guess it is the value one holds on the course.

  10. Thats neat I wish I had a Class for blender when I went to high school, SO I pretty much started my own little Blender group in my drafting class cause our new teacher was shitty after our good one left and he never gave out assignments. so it was pretty much a Blender and Unreal Tournament class for that year.
    Luckily the next years kids got a proper drafting teacher though. I should go back to school and introduce them to Blender too, cause most of them can't afford auto desk to use at home and that way they can still make things at home too.

  11. i have seen training courses that were up to $350 a day.... so $50 is cheap.

    just because blender is free doesnt mean that other educational means should also be free. its sad to say, but most people are in it for money, thats why there are so many maya and max training books and courses.

    $150 is worth it for a 20-24 hours of training.

  12. I think we are spoiled by blender being free. $50 a day is definitely cheap, but I also suspect most blendernation readers are beyond the noob stage and this course sounds like it is directed to new or newer users. It wouldn't help me out, but I'm glad the blender user base will be growing from classes like this.

  13. I figure that most of us geeks that read blendernation 10 times a day wouldn't really benefit from these classes..... but it helps to spread the word :-)

    I get paid a flat rate by the district whether I have 5 or 15 people in the class so by getting a few "outside the district" participants, it helps them offset costs and helps with administration allowing me to offer the classes to individuals other than district employees. This is the first year to attempt this. Usually the classes are closed.

  14. btw Jim, thanks for the Blender Basics guide. I'm a teacher and have used it for teaching and also direct anyone new to blender to it. Keep up the good work

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