Teaching with passion in Singapore

3dsense Media School

I'm currently in Singapore, preparing to teach a one-day workshop tomorrow called PixelReloaded that was arranged for me by the 3dsense Media School.

From the moment I arrived, Hu Shunjie, the head of the Interactive Media devision, and Arul Kumaran (who lives in Singapore) made me feel completely at home. Yesterday, I met the directors of the school, Justin Chua and Sen Lai, the two young entrepreneurs who founded the school and are entirely passionate about creating a truly modern and pragmatic learning space for students. They took me on a tour of their facilities and I was impressed to say the least. Their school is the opposite of everything I despise in certain traditional higher education institutions that hold relevance only within their own insular academic bubbles:

The 3dsense Media School is staffed by industry professionals, some of whom teach part time, alongside their real-world work. They fly in guest lecturers from Pixar and other companies to teach there. This is such a key point: Actual animators, designers and developers teach classes. Furthermore, although there is a huge emphasis on practical work and portfolio-building, they place equal (if not more) emphasis on theory and building strong foundations. All students take fundamental art classes in drawing and illustration for example, in a classical studio setting, during their eleven month degree. In the last three months, they choose a specialization (modeling, animation, etc.) I saw some of the portfolios produced by their latest batch of students and was floored.

During the tour, I kept thinking of how much they have in common with the dynamic, passionate faculty of Hogeschool West-Vlaanderen Departement PIH; my friends who organize the excellent MultiMania conference in Belgium. (You guys definitely have to get together and have a talk -- expect an email from me!) :)

It's so refreshing to see such passion in the educational field. Keep an eye on these guys -- they're doing great things!