CAD software company Autodesk has announced that it will be offering not only free access to its programs for secondary schools, vocational institutions and universities, but also free software training for secondary teachers and project-based curricula that "integrates software and apps into standard lesson plans".
All this is provided as part of a program Autodesk calls Design for the Future, writes Stan Beer for ItWire. The value of this program amounts to Australian $25 million ($23.3 million).
Autodesk says that its free software pledge will help teachers at 3,400 schools assist their students in :
â¢ Learning critical problem-solving skills
â¢ Preparing for careers in STEAM ( Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics)
â¢ Learning by way of a multidisciplinary approach
â¢ Their introduction in college to a broad range of 3D design tools used in diverse professional industries
"Today's students will shape tomorrow's industries. With free access to Autodesk software, schools can expose students to the technological advancements that are revolutionizing the professional world — from cloud and mobile technologies to 3D printing. This will help to equip and inspire the next generation of creative leaders and innovators in [Australia/New Zealand]," added Brenton Wyett, manager of Education programs at Autodesk.
One school, Merewether High School in Newcastle, is already using Autodesk tools to support its participation in the F1 Schools design competition.
"One of our teams, âSouthern Cross Racing,' will be competing in the world finals of the F1 in Schools competition in Abu Dhabi this year. These kids are using the same 3D tools as professionals to design their projects, and they love it. As an educator it is really exciting to see students become proficient in industry standard tools at such a young age. It gives our future designers and engineers a tremendous head start," said Michael Platt, technology teacher at Merewether High School.
Another Melbourne school, King David School, added Autodesk to its Physics curriculum resulting in:
â¢ A project to design, 3D print and present a spaced-based observatory in their astronomy class.
â¢ Using the software to support its FIRST Robotics and CanSat programs
And in the higher education realm, the University of Technology Sydney uses Autodesk software for "its Digital Design and Construction stream in their Bachelor of Construction Project Management program".
Leon Spencer, reporting for ZDNet, writes that in May, Autodesk unveiled a new open platform for 3D printing called Spark, and an Autodesk-branded tabletop 3D printer.
Other offerings from the company, according to Fran Foo of The Australian, include AUTOCAD, many mobile creativity apps, cloud service, along with suites for product and building design. Also, in order to maintain continuity, students will have access to not only current products, but also three previous product versions.
Wyett added that not only will students be presented with products which can empower them to be the next generation of designers, engineers, and architects, but it also ensures that this exposure will definitely make them more creative. He believes that will keep Autodesk products relevant.