PLTW is a nonprofit organization that provides science, technology, engineering and math curriculum and professional development opportunities to K-12 teachers. WVU has been an affiliate of the program since 2006.
Twenty teachers from West Virginia, Virginia, Utah, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Illinois will receive core training in one of three areas: design and modeling, engineering design and development and computer science principles. According to Ali Anderson, program coordinator for curricular outreach in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, WVU hosts PLTW core training every summer, but the courses offered change from year-to-year.
“We see teachers from a variety of backgrounds,” Anderson said. “As schools are challenged to stretch their dollars and prepare their students for the 21st century, some of the shop classes are being replaced with these hands-on engineering courses like the ones PLTW offers. Even libraries are being transformed into resource centers with maker spaces.
“We see a lot of math and science teachers attend training, but we also see shop teachers and librarians coming,” Anderson added. “This training allows teachers from all backgrounds to work through the course themselves before teaching it, which helps them see where their students might struggle. They also build a network of teachers across the state and the county. You can't always do that with an online-only training or through webinars.”
Tailored to middle school teachers, design and modeling will be held June 12-16. Teachers will learn how to apply their knowledge of activities, project and problem-based learning and STEM education, as they engage in activities such as designing and building a playground, aided by Autodesk Inventor software. Participants will get the chance to demonstrate their project on the final day of class.
Engineering design and development and computer science principles will be held July 10-21 for high school teachers. Participants in EDD will identify a real-world challenge and then research, design and test a solution, ultimately presenting their unique solutions to a panel of engineers. WVU also offers an online add-on course for students enrolled in EDD to earn college credits.
Using the programming language Python as a primary tool, registrants in CSP explore and become inspired by career paths that utilize computing, discover tools that foster creativity and collaboration, and use what they’ve learned to tackle challenges like app development and simulation. This course is endorsed by the College Board, giving students the opportunity to take the AP CSP exam for college credit. West Virginia teachers completing CSP training through PLTW are exempt from AP training for three years.
Teachers are eligible to receive Professional Development credit from WVU for their participation in the training courses.
“PLTW is an excellent curricular program to help students learn about engineering,” said Robin Hensel, assistant dean for the freshman experience and affiliate director of PLTW. “The hands-on nature of the curriculum lets students gain experience in doing the work of an engineer as they use the engineering problem solving process to solve real-world problems. Core training helps to create a network of teachers that form to support all teachers as they implement what they’ve learned throughout the academic year.”
WVU also hosts an annual state conference for all current and future PLTW stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, counselors and students. Attendees learn more about the program, meet other teachers and share best practices for their courses, discuss new funding opportunities, see current student work and more.
For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources:
College Relations office: 304-293-4086
Office of the Dean: 304-293-4157
Other College administrative and department offices: Administration