www.homestyler.com is a great piece of software for budding architects. Learners can create their own dream home or redesign their current home/bedroom using an easy drag & drop menu . Teachers are able to assess how well learners use their design skills whilst solving technical and practical problems. This is a design package that I think learners will love! It could also be used to challenge learners to tackle all kinds of design briefs e.g. Design a house for paralympian or an elderly person that lives alone.
I’m also liking the idea of using it as a starter for maths- after they have designed their dream bedroom, I think I’d do something on working out how much floor covering they would need and how much it would cost (area of floor, what width carpet is available, what length do they need, how much per square metre, how much wastage, relative cost of carpet vs laminate floor etc) or how much paint would they need for the walls (coverage is on the tin). All this info available on web.
It’s also interesting to compare say UK estate agent websites (where they describe houses in terms of number of bedrooms) with most other EU countries (where they describe houses in terms of floor area.). If I see houses described as 1000 sq m I don’t have ANY idea, visually, of how big this is. If they could use the software to work out total floor area of their own house (or the one they design), they would have a very good idea of what, say, 500 or 100 or 1500 sq m actually looks like. This is REALLY useful for developing estimating skills.
I can also see it as a way to make vocabulary work more fun. Pupils can design their own room or house and then present it in a foreign language.