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Autodesk pledges AUD 25 million to make our kids smarter (than they already are)

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Ever been outsmarted by a kid with a smartphone? Marvel at the way a toddler uses an iPad like it’s second nature while you occasionally fumble with it?

Well, the kids of today would graduate into a world so technologically advanced that we probably can’t even imagine.

And, with Autodesk’s recent announcement, I’d say your fresh-faced colleagues of the future aren’t coming into office as helpless little young professionals.

What’s an educational pledge worth? $25 million AUD, that’s what.

Autodesk is one of the world’s leaders in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software and services.

The company will now offer secondary schools, vocational institutions and universities in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) free* access to the company’s professional 3D design software and creativity apps. Autodesk has also launched Design the Future — a program that provides secondary school teachers with free software training, and project-based curricula that integrates software and apps into standard lesson plans.

Autodesk’s pledge is valued at over $25 million AUD. It is expected to help educators at more than 3,400 schools teach critical problem-solving skills and prepare students for careers in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) fields. With this move, secondary schools can more easily offer a multi-disciplinary approach to education; while Universities can immerse students in a broad range of leading 3D design tools and workflows that are used across 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 revolutionising 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,” added Brenton Wyett, manager of Education programs at Autodesk.

Autodesk not new to Aussie students

In case you were wondering, Autodesk is not a stranger to Aussie schools. Autodesk 3D design software, creativity apps and learning resources are already being used in schools to advance learning outcomes. For example, Melbourne secondary school, The King David School, has incorporated Autodesk tools into classwork, and also uses the software to support its FIRST Robotics and CanSat programs, which have inspired an increasing number of students to consider a career in engineering.

According to Milorad Cerovac, science and technology educator at King David School, the school has recently expanded the use of Autodesk software in their Physics curriculum by having students design, 3D print and present a space-based observatory as part of their study in multi-wavelength astronomy. Cerovac added that these hands-on learning activities, made possible by partnerships with industry, provide students with important skills valued by prospective employers.

No kidding! Secondary school students are already using 3D printers.

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

At the vocational level,  University of Technology Sydney uses Autodesk software as the platform for its Digital Design and Construction stream in their Bachelor of Construction Project Management program. The software apparently enables students to think seamlessly in multiple dimensions, and allows for more detailed critique and enhanced learning.

Get ready for the next generation of super- employees, I say.

*Free Autodesk software and/or cloud-based services may only be used for educational purposes and are subject to acceptance of and compliance with the terms and conditions of the software license agreement or terms of service. Details and restrictions available at http://usa.autodesk.com/legal-notices-trademarks

To request free* access to Autodesk software for schools, visit www.autodesk.com/academic.

Image: sheknows.com

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