I know you’ve had all you can take of the magical background music and gentle voice-overs coming from that Disney fairy app. It’s time to delete the horror that is dressing baby Tinkerbell (don’t ask me how I know so much about this) and give your children a good dose of science, tech, engineering and mathematics, erupting from the idea of making the mix more fun for kids and more inclusive of the artistic ilk. Autodesk has released a set of education apps for mechanics, design and measurement with the medicine going down all the easier with a little gamification.

Digital STEAM Apps

We totally missed these three iPad apps being launched by Autodesk over the past couple weeks. The Digital STEAM Visual Design app hit the app store March 5th with the Digital STEAM Measurement app and  Autodesk Digital STEAM Applied Mechanics app following on the 19th. All three take a more interactive approach to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), targeting students ages 11–18 (or parents ages 26-48.)

STEAM Visual Design
This app steps through a glossary of design topics, illustrating concepts like color, space and form andalong with principles like balance, proportion and contrast, all in a visual, interactive way.



STEAM Measurement
This app steps through a glossary of topics dealing with measurement, illustrating the concepts by allowing you to measure objects and interact with other objects to change the values.



STEAM Applied Machines
This is the app that bring true game mechanics into the learning. Once again, you go through different topics, from energy and forces to power and mechanism. In this one however, you have characters, levels and goals, whereas the two above do not.



All together these are pretty simple, bare-bones apps in themselves and really, could be single app as they all apply to topics you need to know about in design and engineering. It doesn’t explain the concepts with words, but Autodesk’s TinkerBox is a much more dynamic approach to learning a lot of these concepts in a really fun and challenging way. I say combine all three above into one Visual STEAM app and bring it to the level of TinkerBox, with the addition of how the topics apply to each. Gamification is a whole other topic to get into, but I often wonder if it’s really needed to present concepts to kids or if they just need a good clear explanation, a parts lists and some time away from the donkey kong.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.