PTC Onshape

The Design and Technology Association’s acclaimed initiative, Blueprint 1000, is helping connect students and educators with industry. One of our Blueprint 1000 members PTC Onshape has been leading an online training group with teachers who wishing to improve their use of the cloud-based CAD platform. The free software can be used by students and educators alike and can be accessed on any device.

Onshape is a Computer-Aided Design program that combines CAD, built-in product data management, real-time collaboration tools, and business analytics. As well as the software itself; learning resources are available to help bring engineering design into the classroom.

This software is offered free for the education sector, is already being used in various schools and is in the hands of millions of students worldwide.

Integrated organisational tools enable educators to share documents, create teams, and keep track of progress quickly and easily. These training group is led by the Education Programs Lead, McKenzie Brunelle from Onshape who has been highly knowledgeable and welcoming to attendees. She has been able to explain the learning resources, processes for planning lessons, setting up classes, and discuss feedback for the development of further resources for educators.

During the sessions, she has discussed some of the key features available which have been developed to create an easy-to-use package that can be taken straight into the classroom. Work can be corrected within the platform quickly and easily, with teachers able to add comments throughout the design process. Students can also be tagged so that they get a notification of any amendments to be made.

Digital folders offer the capacity for work to be grouped into different projects and shared with pupils. Examples of work can also be made readily available for students to view as a basis for design work. Helpfully, the software also keeps a history of modifications so students will never accidentally lose work.

Onshape lets everyone design together in real-time, enabling students and teachers to work together and keep track of progress. This aspect of connectivity has been a real hit with the training group who comment that this visibility has been amazing.

Some of the discussion points included how to weave CAD into lessons. Educators were able to share ideas and discuss their thoughts throughout the sessions as well as obtain answers to various queries.

This forum facilitated the sharing of tips and tricks to organise student assignments and deliver projects including designing Scalextric cars, modelling mechanisms and mechanical movements or even creating a Lego Man.

Other lessons have been built around electronics and other project ideas include speakers and lighting and electric circuits for flashlights. If time is tight, it is recommended to use a mix of some predesigned elements and new elements to ensure tasks are achievable in different timeframes.

The most recent session covered how to use Onshape with 3D printers and also touched on laser cutting.

Overall, the feedback has been positive and the online meetings informative and helpful in the development of ideas. We have recorded the previous discussions. Contact amelia.wright@data.org.uk for more information about taking part or find out more about Onshape for education by visiting their website.

Onshape also have a library of helpful videos which can be viewed online.