Lee Priestley is a Lecturer in 3D Computer Animation at Fife College. He uses the WorldSkills UK 3D Digital Game Art competition to help shape his lessons and develop his students' skills.
Why did you choose to get involved in skills competition activity?
The competitions were brought to my attention when I was a college student – I competed in the 3D digital game art competition in 2014. I later started teaching the same course I had graduated from and knew it was a valuable experience that my students shouldn’t miss out on.
What practical things did you do to embed skills competition activity into the curriculum?
One of the things I’ve tried is to replicate the competition format in our class. Having mini class competitions every few weeks helps prepare people for the high standard of work in short periods of time. It also helps to motivate the students and increases the amount of feedback given between classmates.
How do you ensure equality of opportunity when selecting participants for your competitions?
Everyone gets a fair shot - the mini competitions we do in class are judged blind with a focus on constructive feedback not mistakes. Everyone has areas of study they excel in and it’s important to appreciate each individuals' talents regardless of the overall quality of work.
What have been the main challenges you encountered in relation to organising and delivering skills competition activity?
Access to the necessary software is our biggest struggle. As our industry changes so quickly, it’s often difficult to keep up to date with the latest tools. We currently don’t have educational licenses for the tools required in this competition, so I try to go over the theory of each tool and process in class and have the students practically apply what they’ve learned at home.
How have you overcome these challenges?
I try my best to support my students when learning the tools required for this competition whether we have access to it in college or not. This often means taking time out of my lunches or hosting online classes in the evenings – competitions like this are important, anyone who wants extra help or guidance gets it.