It’s that time of year and love is in the air. 

Today, we’re sharing what we love about our education community – the students and educators around the world who have made Onshape their CAD platform of choice. 

They come from a variety of backgrounds, ages, skills, interests, and institutions. Some are outfitted with nothing more than a Chromebook and some ideas, while others work in state-of-the-art STEM labs complete with CNC machines, laser cutters, 3D printers – the works. Some are designing functioning sailboats, others are exploring solutions to sustainable product design, and some are just starting to build their CAD muscles by creating simple Valentines. 

(Here’s a Valentine-themed lesson idea, too!)

Whatever their makeup, we are continually inspired by them and their creations, and today seems like the perfect opportunity to celebrate them. 

Without further ado, here are 5 reasons we love our education community:

(We’ll try not to get too mushy on you, but no promises.)

They’re Innovative and Creative

With a free education plan available for all students and a free educator plan for our educators, we see students from elementary all the way through graduate school leveraging Onshape to bring their ideas to life. And they are creating some pretty cool things!

Check out just a few of their innovative projects below:

They’re Giving

When we talk about our “community” of education users, we don’t use that term lightly. This is a community of people who are eager to exchange ideas, provide support, answer questions, and share insights and tips. 

A great example of this is the MKCad parts library, a collection of over 1,000 components commonly used for the FIRST Robotics Competition. Originally released by Team 1836 The MilkenKnights at the end of 2017, MKCad has grown to be a large team of volunteers who aim to make the MKCad library as complete and accurate as possible.

The giving nature of our education community also manifests in the types of projects that they engage in. In many cases, educators lead their students in design work that contributes to their local school or community. You can see a great example at Providence Engineering Academy in California, where educator Rodney Meadth chooses class projects that have a charitable focus, such as designing accessible computer desks for wheelchair users. And the charitable focus is not lost on the students: 

“Being able to turn a creative idea into making a tangible difference in someone’s day-to-day life is the most exciting aspect of engineering,” says Eva Kilpper, a graduate from Meadth’s program who now studies mechanical engineering at Oregon State. 

providence students showcasing a robotic hand.Providence students demonstrate their 3D-printed robotic hands.

Whether it’s finding ways to share their learning with fellow users or focusing their design work on meeting the needs of community members outside the classroom, our Onshape education community is a generous group. 

How can we not love a community that is so focused on giving?

They’re Energetic

Our education community is energetic, and they love a good challenge – or competition, as the case may be. All you need to do is check out Twitter to see their excitement for all things design, CAD, and engineering. They present at symposia, compete in national and international STEM events, volunteer to mentor student teams, and persist in the face of unimaginable adversity, among so many other activities and demands on their time. 

Educators and students are enthusiastic about all that they create with Onshape, and how they can help others create, too – and their energy is contagious.

SWWC CAD students grouped together holding awards.South and West Washtenaw Consortium (SWWC) CAD students after the MITES competition in 2019. (Photo courtesy of Steve Vasiloff)

They’re Active

We don’t just have a lot of students and educators around the world who use Onshape, we have students and educators around the world who use it a lot. Our community is certainly active when it comes to CAD – you might even say prolific. 

In fact, on average our education users collectively spend over 20,000 hours a day making and modeling in Onshape, and create even more Onshape documents in the process! 

Whether they’re creating underwater robots, cars, toys, rockets, or a host of other designs, there’s no ignoring just how active this community is. 

a group of engineering students putting together a part of a ROV.Putting together the ROV during a championship competition. (Courtesy: Alnis Smidchens)

They Make a Difference

Their creativity, generosity, energy, and activity – all of these characteristics combine to make a community of difference-makers. Students helping students, educators helping students and fellow educators, and educators and students helping those in need are all hallmarks of this wonderful community that we have the privilege of working with and supporting every day. When recognizing teachers and colleagues as part of our annual Onshape Educator Awards, students and teachers shared things like:

  • “Not only did taking her class completely transform my view of engineering, she made me believe in myself and have confidence in my abilities…”

  • “He motivates me so much, he is one of the reasons that I realized that I like designing…”

  • “She has used Onshape to develop a sense of creativity and accomplishment in her students. Her assignments are always unique or engaging in some new way that causes all of us to think about things differently…”

  • “He has made his life and others’ lives better by designing 3D projects. His kindness and enthusiasm towards CAD helps students stay engaged in designing their projects. Under his instruction, dozens of students have all designed unique projects using Onshape…” 

  • “He has changed my life, and changes more every day…”

  • “Her patient instruction and helpful knowledge has really made me the confident CAD engineer I can proudly say I am today…”

Reading these, is it any wonder we love our education community? (I’m not crying, you’re crying….) 

A stock image of Valentine's Day candy. (The chalky kinda)( / @pixel7propix) 

Crazy 4 the Onshape Community

Being part of an education community of millions of students and educators inspires us on the Onshape team to continue building connections and reaching out to share the many amazing stories happening in the classroom right now. Students from elementary school to post-graduate are building the future one step at a time by tackling problems that seem too big to handle, but with a CAD community to back them, nothing is impossible. 

Onshape Live ’23

Join our community by attending dedicated education sessions (and more!) at Onshape Live ’23.