Educators and Administrators Overview
The PLTW Innovation Zone (aka the classroom) is an engaging and thought-provoking place, where students develop critical thinking skills through hands-on project-based learning, preparing them to take on real-world challenges. Students will have the opportunity to create, design and build things like robots and cars, applying what they are learning in math and science to the world’s grand challenges.
PLTW programs are designed to serve middle school and high school students of diverse backgrounds from those already interested in STEM-related fields to those who are more inspired by the application of STEM than they are by traditional mathematics and science courses.
PLTW classes are taught in school during the school day, and every instructor of PLTW courses receives extensive training as well as ongoing support in the courses they teach. While the STEM subject matter is rigorous, the approach is never rigid. That’s because the PLTW program provides a flexible curriculum platform schools can customize to meet the specific needs of their academic environments.
Over the last several years, numerous academic institutions have released reports confirming PLTW’s success in engaging the hearts and minds of students through STEM education. The studies are all unique in how they were conducted. However, the results say the same thing: PLTW is igniting the imagination and innovation of students through learning. In addition, assessment and evaluation are critical components of PLTW’s program, which PLTW uses to improve its course offerings.
PLTW’s comprehensive curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, innovation, and real-world problem solving. Each course curricula represents a complete package, which allows the instructor to focus on teaching, student achievement, assessment and professional development.
The hands-on, project-based program engages students on multiple levels, exposes them to subjects that they typically would not pursue, provides them with a strong foundation for achieving their academic goals in any chosen field of study and, if pursued, establishes a proven path to college and career success in STEM related industries.
Professional development for teachers is essential to the success of PLTW. All teachers complete a two-week training session for every PLTW class that they teach so that they are fully prepared to engage students in innovation. Since 1997, PLTW affiliates have trained more than 10,500 teachers to teach its courses.
PLTW's Virtual Academy provides ongoing professional development training, detailed materials for each lesson in every PLTW course; videos of PLTW Master Teachers teaching PLTW lessons; and, collaboration tools, including forums for teachers to ask questions and discuss PLTW lessons.
In addition, PLTW schools can tap into the generous support and active involvement of some of America’s leading corporations, philanthropic foundations and prestigious colleges and universities. The efforts of school partners help ensure PLTW classrooms have the latest technology, materials and equipment, and that PLTW students are learning the most up-to-date information found in such fields as information technology, engineering design, alternative energy and ecotechnology.