This international design technology company was the original PLTW corporate partner. In 1999, Autodesk generously supported PLTW by providing fundamental software packages for PLTW courses. Since that time, Autodesk has increased its support for PLTW by making its highly advanced digital prototyping solutions available through substantial discounts, subscriptions, grant programs, training curriculum development, and community resources. These resources include the Autodesk Student Engineering and Design Community for middle and high schools. This free social networking website for students in the fields of architecture, construction, civil engineering, and mechanical engineering provides access to free product downloads and learning tools. For example, students can download free student editions of Autodesk software, find jobs, discuss projects, share work, learn from experts, and communicate with other students, teachers, and industry professionals who use Autodesk. Through the Autodesk Design Academy, PLTW schools can obtain licenses for the same cutting-edge 3D design tools used by professionals around the world.
Parallax Inc. designs and manufactures microcontroller development tools and small single-board computers. Its current product line consists of BASIC Stamp microcontrollers and development software, SX chips and programmers/debuggers, Propeller chips and tools, project boards, robotics kits, educational tools, and sensors. Parallax's mission is to provide the electronics industry with products that are technically innovative, unique, and economical. This is achieved by a combination of thoughtful, creative design and quality workmanship.
Since 1980, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Education Foundation has been offering scholarships, grants, educational programs, and support to help transform manufacturing education in North American colleges and universities. To attract more women and minorities to engineering fields, SME Education Foundation funded the first STEPS (Science, Technology, and Engineering Preview Summer) program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 1997—the same year PLTW was founded. Today, PLTW partners with SME Education Foundation on the Gateway Academy summer day camp, a co-ed day camp for middle school students. Gateway Academy camps offer fun and challenging hands-on, high-tech projects using a curriculum developed by PLTW. Gateway Academy camps help middle school students explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and encourage them to enroll in the PLTW Gateway To Technology (GTT) curriculum. Each summer, hundreds of Gateway Academy camps are held across the United States.
A generous grant program sponsored by Dimension, a business unit of Stratasys, is helping bring PLTW students’ designs to life. Through the program, as many as 20 PLTW network schools have been able to purchase state-of-the-art Dimension BST 768 3D printers—an opportunity that otherwise might have remained out of reach.
Dimension worked with PLTW’s regional directors to identify outstanding schools that would benefit from the $10,000 grants. The nominated schools applied for a grant to be used toward the purchase of a three-year comprehensive Dimension printer package valued at more than $32,000 yet priced at only $16,500. The grant program fit the shared mission of Dimension 3D printers and PLTW: to foster student interest in engineering. With access to the state-of-the-art 3D printers, PLTW students at selected schools can build physical, ABS-plastic models of their designs that they can test for form, fit, and function.