3D design, engineering, and entertainment software developer Autodesk, Inc.  has announced that it will offer schools in the United States and Canada free access to its professional 3D design software and creativity applications. This represents the next step in the continued transformation of Autodesk’s education business model in order to fulfill its mission of helping students and educators imagine, design and create a better world. Autodesk’s pledge is valued at over $460 million, and empowers educators at more than 35,000 middle schools, high schools, and higher education institutions in the United States and Canada.
“Advances in accessible 3D design and fabrication technology are disrupting design, engineering and entertainment professions as we know them. The rise in mobile and cloud technology also means that it is possible to design anywhere, at any time. Nearly anyone with an idea can turn concepts into reality overnight, and we believe that today’s students will shape tomorrow’s industries,” said Tom Joseph, senior director of education, Autodesk.
“This is the second pledge we have made in North America in less than six months, and we are not stopping here. There is still work that lies ahead of us as we join forces with governments, institutions, and partners to prepare an industry-ready workforce around the world by removing the barriers to software access,” Joseph added.
Autodesk’s 3D design software, creativity applications, and learning resources are being used across the education continuum to advance learning outcomes, including:
- Building proficiency with young learners from middle schools and up to support science, technology, engineering, digital arts, or mathematics (STEAM) related subjects to solve real world challenges.
- Imparting industry-relevant knowledge and 3D design skills to give students a competitive edge to achieve their personal goals today, and career success in the future.
- Helping educators to inspire creativity and innovation through a project-based curriculum and a multidisciplinary approach to education; facilitating collaboration and hands-on problem-solving skills that reflect today’s business realities.
“At RIT, we are grooming our students for successful careers in industrial design, and teaching them to leverage advanced technologies to address global design challenges is integral. Having free access to advanced, professional design tools like Autodesk Fusion 360 ™ has empowered our students and taught them how to navigate changes in a fast paced industry. The cloud component of the product also teaches them how to collaborate with one another and communicate their ideas with other disciplines, which are critical skills that they will need when they graduate,” said Alex Lobos, assistant professor of Industrial Design, Rochester Institute of Technology.
In February, Autodesk pledged support  for President Obama’s ConnectEd  initiative by expanding its Design the Future  program in the U.S. to advance STEAM education and support the demand for related careers. Students and educators have also had free access to individual licenses of Autodesk software via the Autodesk Education Community  since 2006.
“We have seen firsthand how students have become more engaged in core subjects like math and science when they can experiment, model and animate in 3D with Autodesk® 123D® Design  and Autodesk® Maya® . The new focus of the national Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards are based on getting our students both college and career ready. By teaching them skills like 3D modeling and 3D animation using professional Autodesk products, we are giving both students and educators a real advantage,” said Kent Ganevsky, an educator at Theodore Roosevelt Middle School and Design the Future program adopter.
To request free access to Autodesk software for schools, please visit the company’s Academic page . Please note: Free Autodesk software and/or cloud-based services may only be used for educational purposes and are subject to acceptance of and compliance with the terms and conditions of the software license agreement or terms of service. Details and restrictions available online .