As the academic year comes to a close, the PTC Education Team is excited to celebrate Educator Appreciation Week with all of the educators who have incorporated Onshape into their classrooms, student teams, media labs, and elsewhere.

To commemorate these educators, we highlighted some of the Education Team’s blogs that give insight into how educators enforce Onshape’s mission to enable and support access to CAD education.   

Making a Global Impact

Because Onshape allows students and educators to work from anywhere, the impacts aren’t limited to the classroom. 

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Onshape has highlighted many different initiatives spearheaded by educators to support displaced Ukrainian students in continuing their studies. 

In 2022, we spoke with Professor Viacheslav Kharzhevski from Khmelnystskyi National University in Ukraine seven months into the conflict. After inviting members of the Education Team to the university to help judge a national CAD and Computer Modeling competition, which received 19 projects from 12 Ukrainian universities, Kharzhevski shared unfortunate news: one of the winners had recently passed away in the bombings, and one student in addition to two judges had recently been displaced.

Professor Viacheslav Karzhevski. Professor Viacheslav Karzhevski next to a 3D printer as students work.

The unpredictability of the situation meant that relying on in-person education or traditional teaching methods became obsolete. By implementing Onshape across the university, Kharzhevski was able to not only sustain the academic experience for students but also increase the number of courses and opportunities available to students.

“We plan to enlarge the usage of Onshape in our University,” he explained, “Firstly, we plan to run an additional educational course on Onshape for our students that will cover a number of topics about advanced functionality, including laboratory work and 3D printing. Secondly, such an educational course is planned to be sufficient to prepare our students for Onshape Associate Certification. We also plan to enlarge the usage of Onshape by our students during the completion of course papers that require CAD modeling in the field of mechanical engineering.” 

Across the world, in California, a student robotics team was also planning a strategy to help with the war effort. Abha Bosworth, the lead mentor of FIRST Robotics Team 16884, supported her son and his teammates in sharing their newly created Onshape lesson plan with displaced Ukrainian students in Poland.
FIRST team Abha Bosworth, left, and her FIRST Robotics team.

“Their whole world has been turned upside down. They don't have regular school. They don't even have their homes,” Bosworth said. “They're completely displaced, so this provided a little bit of excitement, distraction, something that felt normal. Connecting with kids, kids teaching kids just in itself is a very special experience.”

To learn more about educators making an impact: 

CAD is for Everyone

The features that make Onshape special – improving connectivity and accessibility – also allow educators to address the challenges of working with traditional, file-based CAD, which could often be exclusive due to the need for expensive hardware. Dependent on the financial and environmental restraints of downloading clunky software onto computers and exclusively having access to CAD in certain contexts, many educators recognize that cloud-native SaaS CAD opens the doors for students to engage with the technology no matter where they are. And best of all? Onshape is free for students and educators!

In 2021, we highlighted educator Karen Kutz for her work integrating STEM-hesitant students into the program, recognizing that her school experience had made her skeptical of her abilities. 

“When I was growing up, I never thought I was good at mechanical stuff,” she explained, “I always thought physics and engineering were not for me.”

Educator working at her desk Karen Kutz at her desk in a maker space.

This previous mindset made it of the utmost importance to Kutz that her students felt empowered and supported, regardless of their abilities or experience. When COVID-19 affected classroom learning, Kutz switched to Onshape to ensure her students could continue their projects from home.  

Her approach to teaching CAD and the opportunities enabled by Onshape allowed her students to rewrite the narrative of “who” CAD is meant for. By the end of the school year, students of all interests could complete many different projects, all with the added transparency and assistance that the previous Education Enterprise Plan, now the Educator Plan, provided for Kutz.

Another approach to making Onshape, a PTC company, accessible to everyone is prioritizing people who have historically faced challenges entering STEM fields, including women. In 2023, McKenzie Brunelle, Education Programs Lead at PTC, and Naomi Edwards, Education Curriculum Development Specialist at PTC, shared how their own experiences as girls studying traditionally male-dominated subjects inspired them as adults to become mentors.
The edu girlies at an event. PTC’s McKenzie Brunelle and Naomi Edwards at ITEEA 2024.

Brunelle described how having a female mentor early on impacted her ability to envision a future for herself in STEM, and later to become a mentor for a local FIRST robotics team and to continue empowering students and educators through her work with Onshape. 

“She encouraged me to learn more about biomedical engineering after visiting a local hospital and watching a robotic surgery,” McKenzie wrote. “She helped me with my courses and my college applications. If I hadn’t had such a strong female mentor I’m not sure whether I would have followed my same path into technology.”

Learn more about educators using Onshape to make CAD accessible to everyone: 

Preparing Students for the Future

Educators are aware that students need to be prepared for an ever-changing world. Onshape reflects how quickly technology changes, with regular updates and features installed automatically (so no upgrades, downloads, or purchases are necessary).

In 2022, we interviewed Kevin White, a Gateway to Technology teacher at De Portola Middle School in Tierrasanta, California, who recognizes this reality. White is a teacher committed to teaching STEM to all students and anticipating what skills will allow them to become competent thinkers and innovators of the future. In addition to exposing his students to the opportunities presented by the technologies that will allow them to prepare for careers, such as Onshape, White has also prioritized sharing his knowledge and passion for technology with other educators through his blog, Teacher Tech Rescue.

Kevin White Kevin White prepping for a lesson using Onshape.

“Teachers need to understand that technology is a part of what we do as educators. STEM can happen in every class, and it should happen in every class. And that’s coming from a former history teacher,” he said.

His apt observation two years ago continues to ring true today, as well as around the world.

Last year, we spoke with Stephane Duchemin, a technology teacher at the Jules Verne High School in Mondeville, France, and a contributor to the éduScol platform, a resource directory run by the French Ministry of National Education where he uploads tutorials and articles on Onshape. He explained that part of the reason he had transitioned all of his courses to Onshape was that its many features made it the optimal platform to buoy students’ understanding of technical projects they would encounter in their careers, saying that “our goal as teachers of technical subjects is to get as close as possible to the techniques and practices of the industrial world.”
Educator Stephane Duchemin Educator Stephane Duchemin in the classroom.

Onshape also helped the students complete a mandatory prerequisite for employment in the robotics field in France, “le Baccalauréat,” which they passed by designing and building a robot arm with Onshape.  

To learn more about how educators are preparing their students for the future with Onshape, click on the links below: 

A Big Thank YOU!

At PTC, we are grateful to work with an incredible network of dedicated educators passionate about making a global impact, supporting all students, and preparing the next generation of creators through Onshape.  

Find more resources for educators teaching Onshape:  

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Onshape for education brings CAD out of the computer lab and into the modern era.