Have you heard of the new Sibelius cloud sharing feature?

According to an article recently posted on Avid’s blog, Sibelius’ latest cloud sharing feature gives music educators and students a revolutionary way to share their content with the world. According to the chief production office at Avid, the new version of Sibelius is part of Avid’s commitment to providing the most comprehensive tools and workflow solutions that make the entire music writing, collaboration and delivery experience easier than ever.

You can receive a major discount on Sibelius 8 by purchasing our academic version. It’s the same as the regular version for almost half the price. You’ll find the academic version on our website here.

Where to find creative inspiration for your Adobe apps?

If you’re using Adobe creative cloud and struggling for inspiration, check out Adobe’s forums. You’ll find like-minded users engaging in discussions over anything and everything Adobe. You can also chat with experts and find helpful video tutorials.

The only thing you won’t find are the non-profit discounts we offer. For that, you’ll have to head over to our website. Just click here!



Good programming languages (like BlocksCAD) support recursive programming. Instead of looping a single set of commands, a recursive module uses replicas of itself as a part of the module definition. Once a module is called, the values of variables are local to that instance of the module. The result is the ability to create complex objects that can’t be made with simple loop instructions.

In celebration of this capability, we’ll create a famous recursive structure, a fractal tree. Fractals are complex structures in which any part of the structure is a replica of the structure as a whole. An entire branch of mathematics (chaos and complexity theory) is devoted to the exploration of these structures.

Consider a tree, for example, branches are similar to each other, but their size changes as smaller branches grow out of larger ones.

A similar pattern is found in ferns where the whole structure is similar to the smaller parts that make up the plant.

I became so engaged by these structures that I wrote a couple of books on the topic back in the 1980’s: Discovering Apple Logo : An Invitation to the Art and Pattern of Nature, Addison Wesley, 1983.

The language I wrote about, Logo, supported recursion so it was a natural choice. Of course, in those days, the graphics were low resolution 2D images on an Apple II computer ― a far cry from what we can do with BlocksCAD and a 3D printer today.


As our tree is being built, the size and length of branches will change, just as they do with real trees. We start by creating a set of global variables used in our structure.

Next we define a recursive module called tree. This module uses three local variables ― the starting branch length and width and the depth (number of levels) of the tree. These three variables will have their local values changed during use of the module. All other variables will keep their global values.

There are two things to notice in this module. First, you’ll see that we don’t use the Centered option for the cylinder. This makes it easy to get all the branches connected. Second, the cylinder is tapered from its previous radius at the bottom to the new one at the top ― just like the branches of many real trees.
Once this module has been created, we can create our final instructions.

When this BlocksCAD program is run, it produces the following tree. I changed the rendering color by clicking on the Render window box with the color swatch and choosing green as the new color since it looks more tree-like. Of course the color of your printed object will be chosen by the filament you use.

Here’s our printed tree.

This tree also looks like a stalk of broccoli. You should do some research to see why this is.

What’s the best software for 3D printing and 3D design?

If you teach a 3D printing or 3D design class and the software you use needs an upgrade, check out TurboCAD Professional Plus 2017. This recently updated version comes with loads of new and advanced features, and we offer a license that is specifically discounted for schools. Sheet metal tools, as well as features like Bend by Sketch, New Gusset tools and new Unbend tools are just a few of the new additions and improvements that have been added to the 2017 edition.

You can find our educationally discounted version here. Give us a chat if you have any questions!

4 Ways to Protect Kids from Cyberbullying with GoGuardian

The beginning of October marks the start of Cyberbullying and Mental Health Awareness month.  At this time, teachers, administrators and school systems are taking time to reflect on the epidemic of cyberbullying, and rethink ways to combat it. Educator Todd Whitaker once said, “The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.” In any organization, including schools, behavior is clearly shaped by culture. Here are a few ways we can all come together to create more inclusive cultures in our classrooms, and better ensure the wellbeing of our students.


A first step towards finding solutions for cyberbullying and online harassment is becoming more aware of the problem. Parents, teachers, and other adults who live or work closely with kids should be educated about cyberbullying so they can both assist children who encounter it, and better prevent it from happening. According to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, American kids spend 7.5 hours per day in contact with others via electronic devices, and unfortunately, many of these interactions could be categorized as cyberbullying. One only need look at the statistics to understand the breadth of the problem:

  • 1 in 3 young people report having experienced threats online.
  • 4 in 10 teens say they have been cyberbullied more than once.
  • 1 in 5 cyberbullied teens contemplate suicide.
  • 1 in 10 cyberbullied teens attempt suicide.
  • Only 10% of victims inform a parent or adult of their cyberbullying abuse.

While traditional bullying is sometimes easier to observe, online harassment or other cyberbullying incidents are often more difficult to detect. The more aware we are of the problem, the more we can take steps to combat it. For more information on how to define peer victimization and address bullying, check out Connect Safely and StopBullying.gov.

The Upside of Technology

Another powerful recourse when it comes to cyberbullying are alerts. There are several online tools that can alert administrators when students are being victimized online. Alerts can be set up when students access certain language online, whether they are perpetrating it, or being victimized by it. GoGuardian’s Smart Alerts is one such technological tool that can monitor online behavior, and ensure students are engaging in ethical interactions and exercising good digital citizenship. Currently, the majority of the usage for Smart Alerts has been related to self-harm and suicide prevention, but we are currently developing a capability for cyberbullying prevention. Alerts and innovative technologies can help intervene in online bullying, alert the appropriate school stakeholders to take action, and make students more responsible digital citizens in their interactions.

Inclusive Teaching

A key way to protect students from cyberbullying is to create a culture of inclusion in your classroom from the get-go. Cyberbullying and other forms of harassment do not take place in a vacuum. When we condition students to treat each other with respect, and model inclusive behavior, we can replace bad behaviors with good ones. One way to do this is through inclusive teaching. Inclusive teaching and learning means lessons are designed to actively engage, include, and challenge all students. According to Pew Research Center, there will be a 64% increase in minority school-age children projected by 2100. With increasing diversity in our schools, inclusiveness and social cohesion will be more important than ever before. The practice of inclusive teaching can help students broaden their own perspectives and be aware of the perspectives of others, creating a healthier and emotionally safe environment for kids.

Diversity of Content and Ideas

Another way educators can help create an inclusive culture and combat bullying is by including a diversity of content, perspectives and ideas in their curriculum. During lectures or discussions, encourage a variety of opinions. It’s also helpful to include language, socio-cultural contexts, and images that reflect diversity. Help students understand that knowledge is often gained through conversation and collaboration among disparate points of view. By encouraging differences, and including a variety of perspectives, teachers and educators can model inclusive behavior that will then carry over to the culture of the classroom.

By becoming more aware of cyberbullying and mental health, setting up alerts and leveraging technology, as well as creating a culture of inclusion, schools can stem harassment and better protect students’ well-being. This month, it is of particular importance that we all take time to recognize the seriousness of this problem, and find innovative ways to solve for it. Students can’t learn in a stressful environment. By taking the right measures, and creating a more responsive and inclusive culture in the classroom, we can help all students succeed academically as well as thrive socially and emotionally.  And most of all, as leaders in THE education space, we must model the power of standing up for others. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said,“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Check out our prices on GoGuardian.

Struggling with integrating your 3D printer into your curriculum?

Check out this article on Steamtrax blog; it addresses the common challenge of what to do with a 3D printer once it’s in the classroom.

If you’re struggling with this problem, check out Steamtrax. Steamtrax is a software that will help you build your STEM and 3D printing technology curriculum by providing digital 3D printing modules and projects for both middle and elementary schools. Check out our Steamtrax page here: