New Training Model Focuses on Filling Shortage of Qualified STEM Teachers

PLTW has recently partnered with Ball State University to provide the new PLTW Launch Pre-service Faculty Training. Through this partnership, PLTW invited faculty from colleges and universities across the country to attend this valuable training at Ball State. The result – faculty from institutions of higher education will be able to deliver PLTW Launch Classroom Teacher Training at their own institutions, and pre-service elementary education students who complete the training will receive the PLTW Launch credential. Upon graduation, those new teachers will begin their careers ready to implement the PLTW Launch program. 

Making high-quality STEM programming accessible to all students requires more than creating curriculum with real-world, applied learning experiences. PLTW also provides professional development that prepares educators to lead the activity-, project-, problem-based instructional design at the heart of its programs. The PLTW Launch Pre-service Faculty Training model enables colleges and universities to provide these sought-after professional development opportunities before a teacher’s career has even begun, addressing the shortage of qualified STEM teachers in the U.S.   

"Ball State University's partnership with Project Lead The Way has created some very exciting opportunities for our faculty, Ball State students, and elementary-age students of our community,” said Ball State University’s Teachers College Interim Dean Roy Weaver. “One of our university's enduring values is to be innovative and to commit our efforts in being creative, responsive, and progressive. PLTW's Pre-service Launch training, which incorporates the activity-, project-, problem-based approach, is an excellent support in our efforts to shift the paradigm from traditional teaching and learning to innovative teaching and learning.”   

The PLTW Launch Pre-service Faculty Training provides college and university faculty members with the PLTW Launch Faculty credential. 

“Our faculty with the PLTW Launch Faculty training credential have facilitated multiple trainings and classes with pre-service elementary educators,” said Weaver. “These soon-to-be teachers now hold a PLTW Launch credential and a toolbox of strategies and resources that will benefit them when they lead their own classrooms. We appreciate our partnership with PLTW and look forward to more collaborations in the years to come."

Faculty from colleges and universities in Arkansas, California, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas attended the inaugural offering of the PLTW Launch Pre-service Faculty Training in September.

“(I valued) learning from others about implementing PLTW in pre-service programs,” said University of Montana Professor of Teaching and Learning Dr. Georgia Cobbs, who attended the September training. “The presenters shared information in a user-friendly manner. All are passionate about PLTW.”

The university faculty-led “train-the-trainer” model empowers the credentialed faculty members to embed the PLTW Launch Classroom Teacher Training into their colleges of education, enabling their pre-service elementary education students to earn a PLTW Launch credential as they earn their teaching certificate.

PLTW will offer two more opportunities to attend the training this school year – one in February and one in April. By continuing to implement this model and increasing the number of colleges and universities offering PLTW Launch Classroom Teacher Training, the pool of teachers nationwide ready to implement PLTW Launch upon graduation will continue to increase.

In response to the demand for the PLTW Launch Pre-service Faculty Training across the country, PLTW is developing plans to increase the number of training opportunities for 2020-21.