Cadalyst

AEC Tech News (#309)

19 Jan, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff


Get 'Em While They're Young

The latest efforts to shore up the nation's engineering base start with instilling a love for math, science, and technology long before students reach college.

By Heather Livingston

Once a tool that addressed a very specific professional need, CAD today is pervasive, touching just about everything that isn't created by nature. Although most think of CAD and 3D modeling as technology that's taught at the college or professional level, it is now trickling down to high-school and even middle-school classrooms. From software including Autodesk's TinkerBox app to in-school curricula such as Project Lead The Way, CAD increasingly is shaping the education of America's youth in ways that far outstrip its original application as a drafting tool. Its use is helping to shore up the country's supply of engineers by instilling a passion for technology use at a young age - and shoring up students' confidence in their ability to succeed. The latest efforts to shore up the nation's engineering base start with instilling a love for math, science, and technology long before students reach college.

Autodesk's TinkerBox app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch incorporates science and engineering principles into a game. It is one of several ways the company works to support the interest of young people in STEM pursuits. Image courtesy of Business Wire.
Autodesk's TinkerBox app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch incorporates science and engineering principles into a game. It is one of several ways the company works to support the interest of young people in STEM pursuits. Image courtesy of Business Wire.

CAD for the Young

When it comes to fostering students' interest in a subject — or stated differently, averting a disinterest in it — current wisdom says the window of opportunity is closing by the time students finish middle school. That, together with an emphasis on the importance of teaching process and critical thinking, is what's driving the push to introduce CAD technologies to students in the third through twelfth grades.

For the past couple of decades, the news media has loudly and repeatedly pronounced the decline of U.S. students' literacy in math and science. That lack of training in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects has led to a shortage of qualified workers in numerous science and technology fields that is projected to grow. Last year, President Barack Obama announced the Educate to Innovate initiative, which aims to improve STEM literacy in children. It provides federal funding for STEM teaching but also relies on support from companies, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and science and engineering societies.

Students in the STEM education program at Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami use CAD software to design solutions to the challenges they see in their communities and around the world. Among other humanitarian projects they have completed, students delivered a portable water purification system to a children's hospital in Haiti in July 2010. Image courtesy of Gulliver Preparatory School.
Students in the STEM education program at Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami use CAD software to design solutions to the challenges they see in their communities and around the world. Among other humanitarian projects they have completed, students delivered a portable water purification system to a children's hospital in Haiti in July 2010. Image courtesy of Gulliver Preparatory School.

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Cadalyst contributing editor Heather Livingston is a Wichita, Kansas–based freelance writer specializing in design, sustainability, and architectural technology.

   

User Profile: Designer by Destiny

Looking back, Dawid van Rensburg's unpredictable journey into architecture was always in the cards.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

Dawid van Rensburg, 28, had no idea his childhood dream of becoming an architect would ever come true. Today he manages a studio in association with his principal and is designing homes that are at the same time amazing and satisfying— all the while going easy on the Earth.

Cadalyst: Tell us about yourself.

Van Rensburg: I grew up in Pretoria, South Africa, just outside Johannesburg, and finished high school at John Vorster, a technical school. After a failed six-day attempt telemarketing, I joined my brother in starting a web company, and from there I entered the world of digital design. The year was 2002.

In early 2005, after a long deliberation, my wife and I decided it was time to follow our dream and move ourselves to the KwaZulu Natal region of the South Coast, just outside Durban. That turned out to be the best decision that I've ever made. About a year later, I answered an advertisement in the local newspaper for an architectural position that offered the opportunity of in-house training, and I got the job. My dream of pursuing architecture as a career started. Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is Cadalyst's editor in chief.
   

Paul Aubin

   

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events

 

Coordination Resolution
January 20, 2012
12 p.m. ET
During this webinar, Vico Software representatives will share examples from the company's coordination resolution work across multiple project types so attendees can better understand its place in construction practice. Read more »

Fiatech 2012
April 2–4, 2012
Miami, Florida
This year, the theme for Fiatech's Annual Technology Conference and Showcase is Fiatech Heat: Innovation that Builds the World. Read more »

RTC Australasia
May 24–26, 2012
New South Wales, Australia
RTC is an independent conference covering all things Revit and BIM (building information modeling). Business leaders, thought leaders, innovators, and implementers will share their secrets to aid in the quest for a better, smarter industry, and a stronger, more sustainable environment. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Cadalyst.com. Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to news@cadalyst.com.

   

What’s New at Cadalyst.com

 

CADspeed Blog Post:
WiFi for the CAD Workstation, Part 1: WiFi-G and WiFi-N

So the whole world has gone mobile. Where we once had been tethered to our desks, chained for productivity's sake, we are now free to roam the corporate wilderness. Read more »

CADspeed Blog Post:
Q&A with CADspeed: Remote Graphics versus Virtual Desktop

Could you explain the difference between remote graphics and hosting a virtual desktop by running a VM session from a server with MS server 2008 and RDP or Citrix? Read more »

Mass-Produced Design
Trendy crowdsourcing is fueling product innovation — and the disapproval of some professionals. Read more »

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Clean Up Your Network Drives
Just a few simple steps will put you on the road to better-organized shared drives. Read more »

2012 Predictions for CAD Managers
Identifying important technology trends now will help you prepare for the year ahead. Read more »


About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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