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Students given design tools of the future

Annie Blatchford

Schools say goodbye to shoe box dioramas and hello to 3D robots, space observatories, mini satellites and race cars.
Students given design tools of the future

'New program helps schools prepare an industry-ready workforce for the future.' Image: Autodesk

Australian and New Zealand educational institutions will be given free access to 3D design software and creativity apps as part of a $25 million commitment from Autodesk.

Autodesk is a US-based company known for its world-leading software including AutoCAD and 3DS MAX used by design, engineering, architect, digital art professionals and, now, students.


Manager of Education programs at Autodesk, Brendan Wyett, said: ‘Today’s students will shape tomorrow’s industries. With free access to Autodesk software, schools can expose students to the technological advancements that are revolutionising the professional world – from cloud and mobile technologies to 3D printing.’

Secondary school teachers will also be given free software training and project-based curricula that incorporates software and apps into lesson plans.

Melbourne secondary school, The King David School, is already using the software to support their FIRST Robotics and CanSat classes, where students are challenged to build robots and soft drink can-sized satellites. These classes have encouraged an increasing number of students to consider careers in engineering.

Science and technology teacher Milorad Cerovac said they have also expanded the use of the software to their Physics curriculum by having students design, 3D print and present a space-based observatory as part of their study in multi-wavelength astronomy.

‘These hands-on learning activities, made possible by partnerships with industry, not only prepare them for the demands of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) based courses, but also provide students with important skills valued by prospective employers,’ Cerovac said.

Autodesk software has allowed the University of Technology Sydney to continue delivering skills at the leading edge of Australian construction, said Associate Professor and Head of the School of Built Environment, Heather MacDonald.

‘Students are able to render their designs as immersive, photorealistic, 3D environments…Working with Autodesk has transformed the way we teach cost management and construction technologies, enabling students to think seamlessly in three, four, and five dimensions,’ said MacDonald.

Merewether High School in Newcastle also uses the software to support their participation in the international F1 in Schools design competition.

‘One of our teams 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. It gives our future designers and engineers a tremendous head start,’ said Merewether High School technology teacher, Michael Patt.

About the author

Annie Blatchford is a Masters of Journalism student at the University of Melbourne.