A Shared Vision for the Future of Engineering Education

Tony Glockler is the CEO & co-founder of SolidProfessor, a PLTW partner that offers more than 5,000 online training courses and software tutorials focused on engineering and architecture.

I’ve loved engineering all my life. As a child, I used to tinker in the garage with my dad, fixing things, building things, and figuring out how things worked. This inspired me to pursue an engineering degree and, eventually, I co-founded SolidProfessor, a company dedicated to providing online engineering, architecture, and manufacturing training.

Why have I dedicated my life to this complex, sometimes thankless field? Because engineering is all around us all the time, and it’s responsible for almost every aspect of our modern world. Did you grab orange juice from your refrigerator this morning? You can thank an engineer for keeping that OJ cold. Did you jump in a car to get to work? Yep, a team of engineers designed that vehicle. Everything circles back to engineering — pretty exciting, right?

As a self-proclaimed engineering nerd, I’m always excited when I come across an opportunity to share my love of engineering with the next generation of students. We need smart, educated engineers to solve those big daunting problems that challenge our society, and it’s our job to inspire today’s students to develop a passion for this important field. PLTW shares this desire to foster students' love of STEM subjects and prepare them for careers in an evolving world; this shared vision has brought us together as partners in engineering education.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers

What’s the best way to inspire students? Excellent teachers. Dozens of studies (like “Linking Teacher Evaluation and Student Learning”) show that more effective teachers create better student outcomes. Through this partnership with SolidProfessor, PLTW is investing in the success of their teachers by ensuring they have access to the materials and resources they need to excel in the classroom.

To that end, PLTW is now giving teachers free access to SolidProfessor’s online Library of CAD, CAM, BIM and engineering theory training videos. SolidProfessor is also supporting PLTW teachers prior to PLTW Core Training for each of the following courses:

PLTW and SolidProfessor want teachers to feel confident in their CAD, CAM, and BIM skills, and providing flexible, online training is a great way to work with educators’ already busy schedules. With thousands of short videos, SolidProfessor makes learning design software easier than ever so teachers don’t have to spend countless hours researching these skills on their own. Plus, SolidProfessor provides Technical Certificates and certification preparation courses to help educators enhance their resumes!

Bringing SolidProfessor into the Classroom

I’ve spoken with numerous teachers across the country who have also opted to purchase a Schools Membership with SolidProfessor to bring our online training videos into their PLTW classroom to create an incredibly robust curriculum. SolidProfessor complements PLTW’s excellent curriculum and teacher training with additional software and certification prep training for their students.

For some, like PLTW Master Teacher Cliff Greer, SolidProfessor helps students quickly get up-to-speed in their design software. This ensures that students who want to pursue a career in engineering have the technical software skills they need to be successful in college and the workplace. Plus, it gives students the ability to find answers when they’re stuck on a particular design problem. Greer explains that SolidProfessor helps his students learn Inventor and Revit, as well as AutoCAD, a program that’s used by numerous industries in the area. He says, “Many of our juniors and seniors get internships that use their Inventor, Revit, or AutoCAD experience, and it’s really fulfilling to see them do real CAD work in the industry.”

Greer also leverages SolidProfessor’s certification preparation courses in his classroom to provide more certification-specific training on top of his PLTW assignments. “We also use SolidProfessor for certification preparation,” he said. “My students typically spend at least a month and a half preparing specifically for the exam in addition to their work on projects.” 

Certification is a powerful way for students to show off their hard-earned skills and build their engineering resume. Industry-recognized certifications are quickly becoming a key requirement for students graduating high school programs, and they prepare students for college and the workplace. SolidProfessor has helped thousands of students from middle school to high school earn an industry certification and launch their engineering careers.

Let’s Get Started

Now, it’s time to get to work! We’re excited about this opportunity to join the talented PLTW team and achieve our shared mission of inspiring and educating the next generation of engineers. To learn more, visit solidprofessor.com.

PLTW’s blog intends to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of each guest author.