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An Interview with Camile Caron, Autodesk
July 8, 2015
Back in mid-June we learned about Project Ignite which was announced in conjunction with the declaration of the National Week of Making (June 12-June 18, 2015) by President Obama and his staff at the White House. Project Ignite is the brainchild of popular, leading 3D design firm Autodesk. The platform provides a means for educators nationwide to incorporate 3D printing into their respective curricula. The project is browser-based, so users can get started with the design process with any laptop or computer. We reached out to Autodesk and had the opportunity to speak with Camile Caron, Sr. Business Development and Product Manager, Project Ignite, to get some more details. The interview was conducted via email and the transcript is below.
1) Can you provide a brief history of Autodesk and what the company does?
Customers across the manufacturing, architecture, building, construction, media and entertainment and 3D printing industries use Autodesk software to design, visualize, and simulate their ideas before they're ever built or created. From blockbuster visual effects and buildings that create their own energy, to electric cars and the batteries that power them, the work of our 3D software customers is everywhere you look.
Through our apps for iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Android, we're also making design technology accessible to professional designers, makers, students, and anyone who wants to create and share their ideas with the world.
2) When and how did the idea for Project Ignite come about?
Last year, we launched efforts around Spark, the first open 3D printing software platform to drive innovation, and recognized that the future of making things not only involves changes in the way we design and consume, but also in the way we learn.
So we set out to build an open platform that could help build creative confidence; bridge digital and physical with end-to-end design experiences. We talked to teachers across the globe, and one key theme emerged: they all wanted help getting started. Without the ?secret sauce? of compelling projects, 3D printers would sit idle at the back of the class, and our free software would not be put to use.
And thus, Project Ignite was born.
3) Is this the first time Autodesk has tried a project like this?
4) Is there any level of expertise suggested or assumed for a teacher joining in? What kinds of technology should someone already have in place, if any?
5) What is the timeline for this project? How long to educators and individuals have to choose to get involved?
6) How long does the curriculum take to complete? Is it designed to span a normal academic year? Or is it really a matter of which projects someone would choose to do?
We are aiming to make this flexible and help enhance learning experiences. For example, having students make their own measurement tools before completing math problems, or learning how to form basic circuits while learning about electricity.
7) Besides using a computer to complete work for these types of lessons, are there companion mobile apps for the project or for interacting with Autodesk and Tinkercad software?
8) What has been the reaction to Project Ignite since it was announced?
9) What do you think schools and universities can do to better (if anything) to foster STEM efforts related to 3D printing? What do you think are the biggest barriers to a novice getting involved with the field and the technology?
1) Schools need to give kids room to iterate and fail. So much of their education experience is based on taking tests, filling in the blanks. Students need the white space?room to think creatively?about how to solve problems. And mess up a few times on the way to success.
2) Trying science and math to real world, relevant-to-the-students, examples and projects. How can we couch serious academic topics within fun and engaging experiences?
3) Making 3D design and printing more accessible. If you ask a student or teacher to draw a picture, they may say they are not an artist (and that?s another problem), but they won?t be confused as to what tool to use. That?s not the case for 3D design/printing. It would be great to have schools build that key 21st century digital literacy skills: understanding how to work in 3D and what?s under the hood of the devices they use (electronics).
10) Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about Project Ignite or Autodesk?