Author: Melanie Sanchez
As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, many of us have come to a stand still in
terms of our productivity. However, many companies and organizations have begun to
tailor to the growing need of new ways to learn while at home. Nevada Robotics
understands that it is essential to keep our students engaged and still actively learning,
not only as it applies to robotics but in general. As we continue to transition into online
learning ourselves, we have compiled a short list of software downloads and other
online resources for students of all ages and grade levels.
Computer-aided Design (CAD)
Multiple CAD softwares have adjusted the accessibility of their applications in order to
promote learning at home. One notable software that has always made an effort to
ensure students and others can utilize their software from home is Autodesk. Autodesk
is a known world leader in softwares for 3D design, engineering, architecture and much
more. Students can access up to 6 different products with just a valid student email!
Through this link, you are able to access Inventor, Fusion 360, and AutoCad to name a few.
If your student has a passion for STEM and plans to pursue a career in an engineering field, beyond their
time in robotics, I would definitely recommend becoming familiar with these software
and those similar to it. If you are a robotics coach, you can also encourage your team
members to start learning to ensure a smooth transition back into build season! In
addition to improving your season, gaining experience and even possibly a certification
in one of these products increases chances for internships and other professional
opportunities. If your student has taken the time to learn and enhance their skills,
Autodesk offers two certification options – Both can be found here.
Along with CAD software, students also have a chance to pick up graphic design. If you
have a student interested in graphic design, then I would recommend checking out the
following web-based applications. First and foremost, we have Adobe. Although Adobe
does offer a reduced price to their cloud for students, we know that may not be doable
for all students. Thankfully, Adobe has released a free online app, Adobe Spark. Spark
makes it easy to design with little to no experience. Spark also has a massive library of
starting templates and inspiration to look to. To get started follow this link.
If you would like to access all of Adobe Creative Cloud go
Another honorable mention in graphic design is Canva.
Canva is a fully online tool that allows you to create flyers, posters, brochures, invites,
and anything you can really imagine to print or share. Canva is designed to be easy to
use for students at all skill levels with their drag and drop feature. If you are pressed for
time or simply want to create an awesome graphic with ease, Canva is a great tool for
you. Many of our local robotics teams have used Canva for fundraising flyers and
Coding & Programming
Another essential skill for any STEM interested student is programming. As automation
and an understanding of computers rises, knowledge in a programming language has
become vital as it can be applied to a variety of fields. With that in mind, we have
selected three different resources that provide lessons, tutorials, curriculum and mini
projects all related to coding. To start us off we have EdX. Edx is an online education
platform that has redefined learning by removing challenges that previously stood in
students’ way such as location, access and cost. Edx offers a plethora of courses in
various programming languages from highly accredited institutions like MIT, Harvard
and Georgia Tech. Students can find courses in Java, Python, and C++, all of which can be
used towards developing a high performing robot for your season! Click the link to access these
Moving on, Scratch and Code.org are both leading websites that offer students a fun way
to learn programming through challenges, drag and drop lessons, games and projects.
Both have features that work for all grade levels! In high school, I used both to develop
games and simulations that kept me actively engaged while also perfecting my skills. It
brings joy back into traditional programming.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the pandemic, multiple applications have
made it their mission to continue educating STEM students. Through student trials,
online videos, and critical thinking challenges STEM students were given the
opportunity to hone their skills or develop new ones online.