Florida Gulf Coast University Trains Over 100 Teachers in Second Year of Core Training

Vince visited Core Training at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) in Fort Myers, where teachers from all over Florida came to campus to receive the hands-on learning experience they will lead in their Automation & Robotics, Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering, and Digital Electronics classrooms.

Each training experience engaged teachers in the mode of learning and activities that distinguishes PLTW as a world-class education provider. The activity-, problem-, project-based curriculum allows students not only to build skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), but also develop critical in-demand skills such as collaboration, communication, and problem solving.

“We achieve results with three critical pieces: We have to have great curriculum, and, second, we have to have great teachers. We never lose sight of that,” said Vince Bertram, president and CEO of Project Lead The Way. “And third is we need great partners like Florida Gulf Coast.”

FGCU will train over 100 teachers this year. This is the university’s second year to offer Core Training.

Lanny Wood, PLTW director of school engagement in Florida, says the university is a great partner with a strong state-wide reputation.

“Under the leadership of Dr. Lisa Zidek and Dr. Richard Behr, not only do they continue to be a tremendous partner in Core Training, but a tremendous advocate in the state,” Wood said.

Automation & Robotics Master Teacher Rob Harmon led a class of teachers as they wrote code for their robots. He explained how PLTW is not just about teaching content, but it is also about giving teachers the tools and resources needed to be successful in the classroom. For example, Christina Smith, a teacher learning Principles of Engineering, worked with another teacher on troubleshooting their automated robot programmed to sort different-colored marbles.

Teacher Katie Sullivan from Collier County said that while there was a lot of content to cover, she couldn’t wait to share it with her students.

“We’re all really fired up about becoming masterful with this,” she said. “It’s about helping kids know what opportunities are out there for them and helping them see the world differently.”

Vince went on to say that if students can understand how the world connects, then learning becomes very powerful.

“People talk about best practices; what we talk about is effective practices,” he said.

Vince will be heading to more of the hundreds of Core Training sessions happening this summer around the country.

Stay current on Vince’s travels – and the latest in education and workforce development news – by following him on Twitter at @VinceBertram.