What makes a kid want to become an engineer?

For me, it was robots.

I grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii – and contrary to popular belief, we don’t all surf 24/7!

Unfortunately, my public high school classes alone did not adequately prepare me for the academic challenges I would face later in life. However, I found the technical challenges and personal growth I hungered for in my school’s robotics club.

As part of the Hilo Viking Robotics club, I learned how to solve problems, build mechanisms, write code, work with teams, give presentations, and lead others. The skills my teammates and I gained were applicable towards not only engineering, but nearly every other aspect of a successful life, too.

Creative Learning Without the Cost

Plenty of schools have extracurricular activities and clubs. But it’s my hope that more teachers can infuse some of the enthusiasm and energy from these after-hour extracurriculars into the classroom. Not just by focusing on new fun and creative approaches to learning, but also by incorporating the latest tools, technologies and techniques.


One of the reasons why schools have difficulties using modern tools is a simple one: it’s expensive. Some technologies, however, have come down in price and are opening up vast possibilities within education. A prime example is 3D printers.

3D printers have opened up the world of design, prototyping, and engineering to students all around the world but even so, many overlook the fact that to 3D print something, you first have to design it. Computer-aided design (CAD) software does just that. Unfortunately, most CAD programs cost more than the 3D printer itself! Some companies offer free or discounted educational versions, but they are often limited in scope and can be hard to set up and learn.

Cloud-Native CAD for Education

Onshape is doing for CAD what 3D printers did for the manufacturing industry – drastically reducing the barrier to entry and making it a viable option for schools and education.

At Onshape, we’re passionate about bringing STEM concepts – science, technology, engineering and math – to the classroom in a pragmatic, real-life context. Here’s how we’re doing it:

    • Free Professional-Grade 3D CAD: Onshape offers a completely free version of its software with all the same functionality as the professional version – and it’s engineered to be easy to set up and get started.
    • Immediate Access: You and your students can go here and set up your free account in less than 2 minutes! 
    • Use On Any Device: Because Onshape is cloud-native, you no longer need to invest in expensive computers and manage complicated installs. Your time is best spent working with students and delivering engaging lessons on any device, including Chromebooks. Let Onshape remove those distractions so you can teach.
    • Curriculum Guidance: Onshape is creating curriculum for teachers to use in their classrooms. We’ve created the course Intro to CAD, which is everything a teacher would need to get started teaching CAD. The five-unit course contains videos, exercises, and quizzes and covers everything that first-time users need to know to learn CAD. 
    • Onshape Learning Center: Find self-paced courses and modeling exercises to assign to students or use yourself to build your skills.
    • Onshape Certification: Onshape provides certification for students and professionals alike. The Certified Onshape Associate program sets students up for success in the industry and can help schools secure valuable career and technical education funding. Find out more about certification.

    For Onshape, this is only the beginning of a long-term commitment to bring STEM curriculum to schools.

    Are you a teacher interested in bringing cloud-native CAD to the classroom? Learn more about Onshape for Education.

    onshape for education
    (Updated March 4, 2022)