Educator Highlight: Eddie Mull
Dennis Edward "Eddie" Mull is a Drafting and CADD teacher at Sun Valley High School in Monroe, North Carolina.
What led you to design education?
When I was thirteen years old I was given a set of house plans. Fortunately, they were fairly well done and I learned a lot from analyzing them, and with a little help from a couple books and some insightful inspiration from a couple aunts and uncles, I also learned how to read a scale. The next year I ended up with an old drafting table and started designing. The funny part was that I knew nothing about wall thicknesses, building codes, or design standards.
I have been using AutoCAD since the mid-eighties. As a Chief Draftsman in the U.S. Navy, I became a mentor and a trainer. My vocation and education and interest has always been architectural drafting but working in the industry for more than thirty-five years resulted in a lot of structural and mechanical work and a degree in Civil Engineering. Aside from a constant effort to stay current in a dynamic industry I have had the opportunity to become proficient with sustainable design, building performance analysis, and get professional level certifications in Autodesk software and BIM (Building Information Modeling).
After I left the Navy I taught AutoCAD at the college level for more than ten years before returning to the industry to work for a few Autodesk resellers and Authorized Training Centers where I personally conducted webcasts on emerging technology.
Now I am teaching drafting and CADD at Sun Valley High School in Monroe, NC.
What is the most rewarding thing about being an educator?
The most rewarding thing about being an educator is seeing what students can do and seeing them develop and seeing the satisfaction they have in their accomplishments.
How do you encourage creativity in your classroom?
Encouraging creativity in the classroom is easy. The first step is to explore students’ individual interest. Design projects inspire students to think about possibilities and explore new technologies. Students have the opportunity to learn industry best practices and set up and use A360 accounts. One of the things we do is project-based learning where they actually design and develop a residential plan. From a sketch to a 2D plan in AutoCAD and then importing it into Revit Architecture and then further refinement into detailed model and renderings. Each student is coached and encouraged to apply their best effort and make it better.
Their achievements are highlighted, recognized and shared with other students and administrators, sometimes getting public recognition on the school website and in the paper.
How do you bring innovation into the classroom?
We spend a lot of time discussing new technology and industry trends. One of our favorite lessons is one called The Future of Design Technology. In this lesson we talk about all kinds of interesting technology like BIM, BPA (building performance analysis), 3D Laser Scanning and Point Clouds, Cloud Services, BIM360, Rapid Prototyping and 3D Printing, rules based model checking (Solibri), robotics in construction (Theometrics), and a few others. SVHS students actually take their virtual models and run them through a game engine and can demonstrate their designs on their smartphones in Augmented Reality.
The process we use emulates as closely as possible true industry standards, best practices and the full Building Design Suite workflow.
How do you use Autodesk Design Academy in your classroom?
The Autodesk Design Academy is a great resource to supplement the industry standard software suites that is provided free to schools. It has highly developed curriculum on just about everything from conceptual design to computation and simulation. It contains Instructor Manuals, PowerPoint presentations, Student Manuals, and datasets. My favorites are the project-based resources for BIM and Sustainable Design.