Teaching STEM subjects can come with a host of challenges, from working with school-provided equipment to developing lesson plans that captivate students' attention.

Between these challenges, research must be done on resources available to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) educators. Which STEM curriculum is the best? How can you make the class more hands-on and engaging? What are the best STEM teaching tools? Should students be taught how to use computer-aided design (CAD) software? If so, which software is the best?

In the webinar, "Onshape in Engineering byDesign with ITEEA," speakers Ryan Novitski and Brad Fessler, both from ITEEA, join McKenzie Brunelle of Onshape to discuss how educators can give students a jumpstart in STEM.

ITEEA, the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, supports STEM educators and provides resources to better teach technology, engineering and related subjects. 

Webinar speakers bring in years of professional experience and share advice on the more practical ways to teach STEM. Novitski and Fessler also discuss resources available to create a more engaging classroom experience. Let’s recap:

The Pros of a CAD Curriculum

Not all STEM classes need CAD. But if you want to give real world experiences to students interested in, for example, robotics or engineering, CAD is the way to go.

Using CAD in your classroom will help students build skills needed for successful careers in machine or industrial design, engineering services, creating medical devices, consumer products, electonical, fabrication and more.

As Brunelle said, “Getting those skills, in addition to the engineering mindset, is really going to set your students up for success when they get into the workforce.”

The benefits for students pursuing a career in STEM are obvious when we look at the numbers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the number of STEM occupations will continue to grow and have higher wages than non-STEM careers.  

Since CAD can be fun, too, it’s the perfect way to encourage students to go down this lucrative pathway.  

But, as mentioned before, picking the right CAD platform can be a challenge in itself.  

Choosing Onshape for Education

There are many CAD platforms students can learn, so research is integral to your big CAD decision. 

There are also many factors at play for educators, like cost, equipment requirements and ease of use. Some CAD platforms can only be used on one device or on one type of computer. Many come with high yearly costs. And plenty have complicated interfaces that will likely frustrate students and teachers alike. 

There’s one CAD platform that skirts all of these issues: Onshape. 

Because of its cloud architecture, Onshape can be used on any device with a web browser, has a transparent subscription plan and has an intuitive interface anyone can use. 

Educators from all over the world are already using Onshape in the classroom, igniting students' interest in STEM careers. You can read some of their stories here. Or if you're ready to sign up, head to our Onshape for Education page

CAD Resources for Educators

Choosing the Onshape route doesn’t have to be complicated. Onshape and partner ITEEA have developed resources to ensure the school semester goes by smoothly for teachers and students.

For educators who want to prepare for teaching Onshape, ITEEA offers three learning opportunities:

  • ITEEA Scholastics: Take the semester-long Engineering byDesign course online, earn college graduate credits and professional learning hours, as well as a voucher to take the Onshape Associate Exam.

  • Authorized Trainer Institutes: In one to three courses, become a certified coach on any course topic. This will allow you to train other educators in your state.

  • Engineering byDesign Workshops: ITEEA will set up an individualized one- to four-day workshop on Engineering byEducation.

For more information on any of these programs, send an email to rnovitski@iteea.org.

Bringing CAD into the Classroom

Some of the projects students will work on in the Engineering byDesign curriculum. 

Now it’s time to develop lesson plans for your students. Luckily, in a partnership with Onshape, ITEEA has developed a curriculum that can be easily implemented. By the end of the curriculum, students will be ready to take the Onshape Associate Exam and earn Onshape certification.

There are two pathways in the Engineering byDesign curriculum, both leading to the Onshape Associate Exam: 

  • Standalone Course: This standalone course is designed to last one semester, or longer, depending on the plan set by the educator.

  • Onshape byDesign: The Onshape Certification byDesign course is the newest addition to ITEEA’s Engineering byDesign curriculum. The coursework for this plan is divided into three units over the span of three years. Each unit has five learning cycles with lessons, activities and more.

With these resources, developing an interesting and engaging CAD course will be easy. Get more details on courses created by Onshape and ITEEA by watching the full webinar.