Project Spectrum was created to give people with autism the opportunity to express their creativity and develop a life skill using Google SketchUp 3D modeling software.
This video shows 3D models created by 4 children on the autism spectrum. Three of the models are of the child’s dream house. All are very interesting! Some of the children made paper sketches before trying SketchUp. Narration explains the children’s experience with the software compared to their experience with the paper sketches.
I wish there was something like this around when I was a kid! I wonder if it could be used to create 3D mind maps. I have found it helpful on occasion to use mind mapping software to translate the multi-planed thoughts in my head into the pictures and shapes of a mind map, and then have the software convert them to an outline of words that can be used in a way that I imagine is how “regular” people just use them automatically. Adding a 3rd dimension to a mind map would definitely make it more intuitive to use, as thoughts could be placed where they belong, rather than using lines that are too long to show a distance that would better be described by showing the thought’s proximity in space to the other thoughts.
Of course this kind of software will not benefit everyone on the autistic spectrum, but it is nice to know that a special effort is being made to give these children a new way to express themselves, especially one that is visual and 3 dimensional, AND teaches them a marketable skill in a growing industry.
For more information, go to http://sketchup.google.com/spectrum.html.