Q&A with Siggraph 2015 Programming Chair: Jean Kaneko

June 9, 2015 1:16 am

Tags: Art Education, Jean Kaneko, Making, Siggraph

SIGGRAPH 2015, the annual interdisciplinary education experience and conference in the latest computer graphics and interactive techniques, will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, 9-13 August 2015, in Los Angeles, CA. A new program will be introduced at this year’s SIGGRAPH show called Making.

We sat down with Jean Kaneko, Program Chair for Making @ SIGGRAPH, and she told us about what to expect from participating in the program, the tools and products attendees will take with them and how to apply them in the classrooms, and what she’s most excited about Making @ SIGGRAPH this year.

Short Bio

Jean Kaneko is a sought after program/curriculum developer and speaker in the world of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) education and Making. An early adopter of Making as an engagement strategy,  she has been teaching STEAM subjects in formal and informal education programs such as after-school, in-class and camps to both children and educators since 2011 and has created curriculum for HeadStart Schools to bring STEAM into early childhood education.  Kaneko has consulted with and provided professional development workshops to thousands of educators and librarians throughout the years on Design Thinking, incorporating growth mindset skills, making skills and STEAM subject learning. 



Q: This is the first time Makingwill be at the SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles.  How was it born?

Jean Kaneko: We recognized that there is a need for more innovation and Making has become a vehicle for that. We’ve created an environment to inspire educators to use more computer graphics, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) in classrooms, while at the same time encourage students to become interested in the computer graphic and interactive techniques and start thinking about careers in those fields.

As a result, Making is becoming a unique venue for creativity, ingenuity, critical thinking and STEAM.

Q: What can we expect at Making? What kind of tools and programs will stem from the collaboration of artists, educators, scientists, developers, and students?   

Jean: Primarily, Making is a collection of talks, classes and interactive installations where various players interact and collaborate. Essentially what Making provides is a hands-on-experience that ties into K-12 and post-graduate standards and provides opportunities to “think” with your hands in the topics of computer graphics, digital arts, digital storytelling, and others. Making helps develop products and tools that further innovation for artists as well as educators. Interactive content, design and development transform classrooms and make them smarter.

Birds of a Feather sessions will be held which include six panels and workshops on integrating 3D modeling and printing into the classrooms which is one example of how schools are using Making in unconventional ways to reach students.

Beyond that, Making inspires more students to see real world applications of STEAM subjects.

Q: What kind of audience should we expect Making to attract?

Jean: Making attracts a diverse group of people ranging from artists, educators, scientist and developers but most importantly, it attracts students who are interested in careers in computer graphics, digital arts, special effects and STEAM.

Q: How does Making tie in to SIGGRAPH 2015’s theme “Xroads of Discovery”?

Jean: The main focus is the collaboration of individual disciplines that come together to encourage and inspire others. Making ties in perfectly with that overarching theme. Specifically, Making connects art with technology such as 3D modeling from computer generated imagery (CGI) to physical prototyping. Furthermore, Making provides the tools to integrate CGI and interactive techniques into education.

Jean: Artists and works that participate in Making are selected and organized by the General Submissions and Making Chairs. They are not selected by a jury.

Q: Encouragement, inspiration, self-expression, ownership of future are all goals of this program.  How do you envision Making achieving that?

Jean: There are many ways Making can achieve those goals. Students get the opportunity to interact with influencers and experts in their fields of interest. Students’ inventions are showcased where teachers can be inspired and motivated to add these types of challenges into their respective schools and libraries. Making also brings to the attention of educators the latest tools and techniques of interactive techniques and technology.

We also show SIGGRAPH attendees that their skills in technology do not have to be limited to films, they can invent education applications, techniques and curriculum. We provide a forum where SIGGRAPH attendees can see Making as a way for them to become entrepreneurs and open doors for them in the computer graphics field as many computer graphics jobs have left the country.

Q: What would you want participants to take away from the experience?

Jean: Everyone who participates in Making receives an extraordinary and enriched experience. Most attendees will be able to get ideas to innovate. Students and educators will be empowered and obtain the confidence they need to utilize Making and 3D in the classrooms. For teachers specifically, they will be able to develop lesson plans for K-12 classrooms, in addition to attaining lesson plans and examples that can be used in actual classrooms. Expert teachers who have used Making in their classrooms will able to provide ideas and encourage others to integrate Making. 

New connections can be made not only to new software, hardware and techniques that will enhance and revolutionize learning but also with other schools and teachers in this space.

Q: What are you most excited about regarding Making @ SIGGRAPH 2015?

Jean: What I’m most excited about is the way we’ll be able to bring together the more traditional SIGGRAPH attendees in computer graphics and interactive techniques for films with the new attendees who see SIGGRAPH as an annual conference to attend to get informed in new educational strategies and professional development. We are able to encourage computer graphics professionals to apply their design, creativity and technical expertise to building learning opportunities for our future generations. That is very powerful.

Visit Jean Kaneko's website: theexploratory.com

About Making @ SIGGRAPH 2015

Making is a vehicle for innovation where students and educators can showcase their projects and share what they have learned and how they use their creativity, ingenuity, and critical thinking to inspire others.


SIGGRAPH is the world's largest conference on computer graphics. It takes place once a year in a city somewhere in the U.S. or Canada, and is attended by tens of thousands of computer graphics professionals. SIGGRAPH 2015 will be held from August 9 through August 13 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California.

SIGGRAPH is one of the most highly respected venues for the presentation of new computer graphics technology and research.

For more information about SIGGRAPH 2015, go to http://s2015.siggraph.org/.

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