Monday, April 24, 2023

Published a New Series of Moment of Inspiration Lessons

I completed the first phase of a new Moment of Inspiration, Version 4, course for public release. 

It can be found at:

   3D Design for Fun & Life

Most of my readers know that ten years ago, while with YouthQuest Foundation, I created an original 3D design curriculum, around Moment of Inspiration (MOi3D), specifically intended to change the trajectory of young at-risk lives in National Guard Youth ChalleNGe programs we served.  We started with MOI3D Version 2.

 3D Systems made a huge contribution toward that initiative with the donation of 32 Cube2 printers.

The combination of creating a 3D design, seeing their design printed and then refining that design to make it better, brought a powerful and much needed message to the population we served.  "Your failures are not final." 

Along the way, we ended up using the curriculum to a much wider base of at-risk students, across four states and the District of Columbia, including those on the autism spectrum.

I am very thankful for having worked at YouthQuest and having seen so many young lives impacted.


But, YouthQuest was a very small not-for-profit that lacked the resources to expand  its reach.  A little over two years ago, it ultimately lost its primary funding and made the decision to shut down, transferring its property, including the 3D curriculum, to another not-for-profit.

At the time, we had hoped our relationship with the many groups we served would continue.  But, the successor organization had more localized interests and a very restrictive view of "intellectual property rights".

Based on the above video.  I am sure you can understand the sadness I feel about that loss.

I absolutely loved what I was doing through all of those years.  

But, in the back of my mind, I always thought that more should be possible.  I know the impact of Youth ChalleNGe programs and I know the impact  that learning 3D design has on at-risk students.  But, I always felt many more could be helped if the curriculum were released to a wider population.  That feeling became even stronger as 3D printers dropped in price from above $1200 to under $200.

The additional capabilities introduced with the release of Moment of Inspiration Version 4 makes it an even better fit for the classroom. And, which makes it a great time to bring the experience of learning Moment of Inspiration to, hopefully, many more at-risk young people.

I have been committed to creating an even BETTER 3D curriculum around the wonderful Moment of Inspiration V4 to be released on online learning sites at a very low cost.  It has been being designed from the ground up, taking into consideration all of my experiences learning and teaching 3D design and printing since 2012.

The course design is intended to allow ANY learner to become very proficient well within the free 90 day trial period for Moment of Inspiration.  The unique session organization takes into account those that need sparse information as well as those needing very specific step-by-step directions.

But, I immediately ran into a hurdle! 

At 78, I'm ten years older than the first video series.  And, that means my voice has a lot less stamina than the first time around.

Well Said Labs to the Rescue

The handwriting has been on the wall for a fairly long time.  So, I began to look into using AI Text-to-Voice to take some of the load off of my own voice about two years ago.

Of course, I immediately ran into the reality that most computer voices are just plain boring and annoying.

I first subscribed to Descript.  In fact, I even recorded my own voice using their "Overdub" technology, hoping that it would capture my emotion and inflections.  

It got the tonality right.  But, I never was able to get it to deliver the inflections so critical to holding onto interest in the content.

I then tried Speechelo.  Same result.

If push came to shove, there are some voices in both Descript and Speechelo that could be used in a pinch.  While it might be better than my tired old voice droning on and on, I don't think I would ever really be happy with the result.

Fortunately, my sister remembered an online site she had used during the Covid lockdowns.

It was

I have finally found some text-to-voice voices that come very close to expressing my thoughts very closely to how I would express them. 

While I wish every minute of my training could come from my own mouth, that is just not feasible at this point in my life.  I feel very blessed that I can still deliver the content that I feel could be so crucial in changing the trajectory of the lives of at-risk young people despite the limitations of my voice.

I am very grateful to WellSaid Labs for giving me the ability to complete this project and continue to add more content in the future.


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