Thursday, 14 August 2014 06:52

Autodesk gives Australian and NZ schools $25 million software gift Featured

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Leading CAD software provider Autodesk has announced free access for secondary schools, vocational institutions and universities in Australia and New Zealand to the company’s professional 3D design software and creativity apps.

The new give away policy is part of a program it calls Design the Future, which provides secondary school teachers with free software training, and project-based curricula that integrates software and apps into standard lesson plans.

Autodesk, an avaricious pursuer of illegal use of its software in the business world through its membership of BSA, values its pledge at more than AUD$25 million, based on its current software prices.

According to Autodesk, its free software pledge 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. The company says secondary schools can now 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 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.

Autodesk 3D design software, creativity apps and learning resources are already being used in many ANZ schools. For example, Newcastle-based Merewether High School has incorporated Autodesk tools into classwork, and also uses the software to support their participation in the international F1 in Schools design competition.

“One of our teams, ‘Southern 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.

In addition, 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.

"We’ve recently expanded the use of Autodesk software in our 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-based courses, but also provide students with important skills valued by prospective employers," said Milorad Cerovac, science and technology educator at King David School.

At the post-secondary 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.

“In addition to working through traditional applications of the software, such as scheduling and clash detection, students are able to render their designs as immersive, photorealistic, 3D environments. This allows for more detailed critique, and enhancing learning. Working with Autodesk has also transformed the way we teach cost management and construction technologies, enabling students to think seamlessly in three, four, and five dimensions,” said Heather MacDonald, associate professor & head of the School of Built Environment, Faculty of Design Architecture and Building, University of Technology Sydney.

“Autodesk’s commitment to offering free educational software access will ensure that University of Technology Sydney is able to continue delivering skills at the leading edge of the Australian construction industry,” added MacDonald.

Autodesk has created a special web page to request free access to Autodesk software for schools, visit www.autodesk.com/academic.

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Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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