Perspectives from the Field: Autodesk & Team4Tech Project

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It’s been a busy few days at Makupula High School in South Africa. The Autodesk team of volunteers has been leading and learning, adapting and attempting to make the most of every interaction with educators in the community. The experience thus far has been rich and even surprising at times. Here is a peek into reflections from the team for days 1-4 on the project:


From John Helfen:

Favorite Moment: “4c's workshop where teachers realized simple changes to their process can make a difference.”

Most Surprising: “The amount of community pride.”

From Sarah O’Rourke:

Favorite Moment: My favorite moment so far was the visit to the Kayamandi Township before we started our project with the school. I appreciated how open the residents and community were to us. As we were on our tour I loved seeing how creative, warm and connected all the residents were. The children running to give us a hug or shake our hands was also a top moment for me too!"

Most Surprising: "The part I find most surprising is how excited they are about learning new things. The teachers we are working with have varied skills, from just setting up an email account to wanting to learn advanced developer questions in excel, but despite the range they are curious learners at heart."

From Stacy Doyle:

Favorite Moment: "The “fast friends” mentality of the Autodesk team. Essentially strangers, then quickly bonded through a unique experience–it’s never been a question of what but how. The warmth of the team extended immediately to the community, teachers and learners. And CAKES with the schoolyard crew!"

Most Surprising: "The willingness to embrace change and technology for the betterment of the community. What seemed daunting to most on day one was easily conquered by Day 2 and 3."

Jaime Perkins:

Favorite Moment: "I have been blown away by how quickly the instructors grasped design thinking and project based learning. This morning we participated in a group activity to engage the teachers in collaborative teaching methods, so they can foster a cross discipline approach to the curriculum. My group, comprised of a geography, science and business teacher, very quickly identified the lack of access to fresh produce as a community problem they wanted to address. From that, they collaborated on making a connection between their 3 lessons: the healthy food pyramid taught in science, budget planning taught in business and soil analysis taught in geography."

Most Surprising: "The willingness of the instructors to work differently in their classrooms. At the start of the workshop on day 2, several teachers came back and shared that they had already changed the layout of their classrooms to foster communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity among their students. It was an awesome start and they have only been more impressive in their willingness to try new things each day."


Sunand Bhattacharya:

Favorite Moment: "All my days in Kayamandi have been very special here right from walking through the township residences made of corrugated tin and wood to my fourth day here when one of the teachers (Nobi) walked up to the brainstorming wall with post-its and offered a very well-articulated design thinking response. This was a result of our morning’s session. It is always heartwarming for a teacher to see the fruits of their labor getting through – in this case the design learning process."

Most Surprising: "How excited the community is to embrace design technology."

Tracy Kostiuk:

Favorite Moment: "Impromptu concert after school at Makupula High School."

Most Surprising: "How quickly stereotypes disappear with a single conversation."

Brad Avery:

Favorite Moment: "There have been many spectacular moments; I quite honestly don’t know where to start. It has been a privilege to work with the teachers and to meet the children of Makapula High. I think the walking tour a Kayamani was one of many high points, and one that I am likely to remember long past this trip."

Most Surprising: "How warm and gracious all the people we have met have been."


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