Inspiring Student Learning through Technology

An October 2016 study by the Erikson Institute on “Technology and Children in the Digital Age” illustrates just how pervasive technology is for today’s children. Of the 1,000 parents of children ages 6 and younger surveyed, 85 percent said their children use technology on a regular basis. Most parents – 86 percent – said their reason for exposing their children to technology is that they believe it increases early learning and positive development.

With technology now so prevalent in the way children live and learn, schools are increasingly using technology in the learning process. As part of our mission to provide transformative learning experiences for K-12 students and teachers, all of our K-12 pathways integrate technology as tools for learning and provide students with the latest technology, software, and real-world learning opportunities.

If you work in a PLTW school as a classroom teacher or administrator, you know how incredibly inspiring it is to walk into a PLTW classroom and see these tools at work, engaging students even deeper in their learning. We are proud to share that this experience you help to create is continuing to generate national recognition. On January 20, the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training (NCTET) awarded PLTW President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Vince Bertram with the 2017 NCTET Community Builder Award, recognizing PLTW’s leadership and commitment to technology in teaching and learning.

Throughout our K-12 pathways, students use today’s latest, cutting-edge technologies, including tools and software programs used by industry professionals. But it’s about more than simply learning to use these technologies – it’s about helping students develop the skills to learn new technologies as they evolve throughout their lifetimes. There is also a shift in mindset – not using technology as a consumer, but rather as creators, innovators, and builders. PLTW also helps students

For example, students in PLTW Launch regularly use iPads. But they aren’t merely consuming content such as videos; instead they’re using the tablet to make podcasts, take photos, and build programs. They’re using interactive apps that allow them to hold the tablet up to the sky to view the stars. They’re experimenting with robotics equipment to learn about simple and complex machines, and then eventually program those robots in fifth grade. Students move beyond being consumers of technology and find themselves working together with technology to problem-solve, create, and innovate.

Throughout middle school and high school, students continue to use technology as tools to create and learn. They use industry-standard technology – like Autodesk for Computer Aided Design, giving them an advantage when they enter college and their careers. Learning to use a mill in Computer Integrated Manufacturing or how to run a gel electrophoresis and use Vernier sensors in PLTW Biomedical Science give them real-world experience and comfort with technologies used by professionals in their fields.

And as industries project a skyrocketing need for graduates with in-depth computer science knowledge and skills, we’ve used our more than 20 years of experience with curriculum development and teacher training to build out the most comprehensive K-12 Computer Science pathway available, offering age-appropriate computer science courses for each grade level with accompanying teacher professional development. Through PLTW Computer Science, students aren’t only learning how to code; rather, our computer science pathway helps students develop in the areas of sequential logic, computational thinking, game design, programming, and digital citizenship and security. As with other successful PLTW programs, students learn computer science in the context of real-world scenarios and make an impact on their communities. As computer science evolves and changes rapidly, PLTW is responsive, enhancing curricular offerings, validating in-demand knowledge and skills with industry leaders, and providing updated resources and technologies.

But this work is only possible with the more than 35,000 teachers, administrators, and school leaders who partner with us and are committed to providing students with transformative learning experiences. We are extremely proud and humbled to be nationally recognized by NCTET as a Community Builder. This award is not only our award, but your award as well.