IUPUI partnered with Project Lead The Way (PLTW) this summer to provide PLTW Professional Development for PreK-12 teachers. IUPUI is one of a carefully selected group of organizations across the nation chosen as a Training Partner for PLTW, a nonprofit organization that provides transformative learning experiences for PreK-12 students and teachers through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science.
IUPUI is located in one of PLTW's training hubs - selected based on ease of travel, convenient access to amenities, and opportunities like embedded industry experiences to enrich the training experience. This summer, 640 teachers from across the United States are completing PLTW Core Training at IUPUI, through 26 different course offerings.
PLTW Professional Development is a foundational element of PLTW programs, providing teachers with the support and resources they need to devote more time to inspiring students. It is a prerequisite for each teacher who instructs PLTW courses. While at PLTW Professional Development, teachers will learn from trained PLTW Master Teachers and gain the content knowledge and pedagogy to lead their students through PLTW's activity-, project-, problem-based curriculum. They will also connect with other teachers from across the U.S. and gain real-world business and industry experiences to take back to their classrooms.
Teachers work on a lab as part of PLTW training on the IUPUI campus. Image courtesy of Project Lead the Way (PLTW)
"We are proud to partner with IUPUI to empower teachers to lead students in real-world career learning," said PLTW President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Vince Bertram. "Together, we're helping teachers make connections between their classroom and careers so they can share that with students as they build transportable skills that will prepare them to thrive in our evolving world."
Since 2007, PLTW and IUPUI have partnered to provide PLTW Core Training for PLTW Biomedical Science at the Purdue School of Science at IUPUI, with more than 1,000 teachers across the country completing PLTW Core Training at IUPUI during that time. In 2019, PLTW launched a new model of professional development for teachers on through a national selection process for PLTW Hub Sites.
In addition to the high school biomedical sciences, IUPUI is now hosting a range of high school engineering courses and computer science courses such as cybersecurity. IUPUI is hosting gateway courses such as 'medical detectives' and 'app inventor' to promote engagement, collaboration and comprehension in middle school classrooms, along with the elementary school Launch curriculum, an integrated project-based approach to math and science for grades K-5.
"Project Lead the Way reinvigorates you as an educator and shows you different ways to teach lessons with activities and problem-based lessons," said Ruth Truluck, training success manager for PLTW. "I think it impacts teachers in any subject they teach as they start reflecting about how students learn and what really gets them excited."
Truluck is a high school science teacher in South Carolina who this summer served as the training success manager for PLTW's biomedical sciences program at IUPUI.
High school teachers at IUPUI can earn Purdue graduate credit for PLTW courses in Biomedical Sciences, Engineering and Computer Science, with a full tuition and fee rebate provided by the Hoosier STEM Academy, a partnership funded by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. High School students who enroll at IUPUI can earn college credit for successful completion of PLTW courses in high school.
"Project-based learning is a vital component in developing critical and creative thinking," said Kathleen A. Marrs. Ph.D., associate professor of biology for School of Science and PLTW Biomedical Sciences Affiliate Director. "Professional development offered through PLTW will not only help teachers across our state build their own skills but will also translate well into classroom instruction to help students succeed in school and in life. The School of Science and the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI are committed to increasing K-12 and college student access, engagement, and achievement in through our PLTW partnership."
Research demonstrates that PLTW students outperform their peers in school, are better prepared for post-secondary studies, and are more likely to consider careers as scientists, technology experts, engineers, mathematicians, healthcare providers, and researchers. In addition, PLTW high school graduates are nearly three times as likely to major in STEM versus non-PLTW graduates.
During Core Training at IUPUI, teachers learn from experienced PLTW Master Teachers and gain the content knowledge and pedagogy to lead their students through PLTW's curriculum. They also connect with other teachers from across the country to gain networking experiences to take back to their classrooms. PLTW's activity-, project-, and problem-based (APB) instructional design allows teachers to bring in hands-on, real-world activities, projects, and problems that help students understand how the knowledge and skills they develop in the classroom may be applied in everyday life.
"Having engineering as a part of our PTLW Core Training for the first time is very exciting, and we are looking forward to helping so many grade school teachers prepare to be an impactful part of their students future engineering endeavors," said Darrell Nickolson, assistant clinical professor of architectural technology for the School of Engineering and Technology and PLTW Engineering Affiliate Director. "The amount of work these core training attendees and master teachers put in during these one- and two-week sessions is very impressive, and I am honored to be a part of the process."
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for PreK-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW's teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. Approximately 11,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit pltw.org. For more information on PLTW Core Training at IUPUI, visit https://science.iupui.edu/project-lead-way-pltw. For more information about PLTW, visit https://www.pltw.org/.