Teachers Complete PLTW Professional Development Ready for the Classroom

This summer, more than 9,000 teachers completed nearly 11,000 credentials at over 600 Core Training sessions across the country.

Teachers play an immeasurable role in the classroom, and PLTW Professional Development empowers them to lead student learning – a shift from the traditional model in which the teacher is a disseminator of knowledge.

“Teachers perform one of the most important functions of our society,” said Vince Bertram, president and CEO of PLTW. “There is nothing as important as preparing our next generation. That’s why we place such a high value on teachers and their professional growth.”

For many teachers, PLTW Professional Development is the first interaction with PLTW’s activity-, project-, problem-based (APB) instructional design. Using this approach, PLTW scaffolds student learning through structured activities and projects – followed by more open-ended problems – that are directly related to the real world.

Through PLTW’s training, K-12 teachers take on the role of the student, working through the curriculum they’ll teach once they return to the classroom. Throughout this process, they face the same challenges their students will face, like finding solutions to open-ended problems and overcoming the fear of failure. The training is immersive, which can be challenging, but teachers often say that the real-world connections and direct application to their classrooms are what make the training an unparalleled experience.

The teacher is at the center of what we do.

“If we are providing curriculum that is activity-, project-, problem-based, then teachers have to be effective at delivering that kind of content.” – Vince Bertram

Darrell Frazier completed PLTW’s Design and Modeling Core Training at Purdue University. This school year, he will teach both Design and Modeling and Automation and Robotics at Tri-North Middle School in Bloomington, Indiana. He said that even though the intensity of Core Training is challenging, he loved the practicality of what he learned and felt encouraged by the network of support, especially from Master Teachers. PLTW Master Teachers are an experienced and passionate cohort of PLTW teachers who are dedicated not only to teaching PLTW students, but also adult learners. They lead PLTW Core Training sessions across the U.S. each year and provide ongoing support and training to classroom teachers throughout the school year.

“Doing everything hands-on made the material easier to understand and helped me plan how I will teach my students,” he said. “The Master Teachers were superb. The knowledge and encouragement they offered during training was great, and knowing that they are there to support me going forward is huge.”

Teachers who complete PLTW Professional Development leave not only with the tools to be successful in their classroom, but also with access to collaboration and encouragement through virtual communities. In myPLTW, the teachers can continue the conversations from Core Training, share ideas, and learn from peers.

New this year, PLTW is an Accredited Provider of the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and awarded all teachers who completed PLTW Core Training with IACET Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

Bertram visited PLTW Core Training at Purdue University and spoke to the teachers who were on campus completing training courses in the PLTW Engineering program.

“The instructional core is what truly affects student learning, and that is the student and teacher in the presence of content,” he said. “Unless you influence all three of those, learning doesn’t take place. At PLTW, we are fortunate because we get work every day with some of our nation’s best teachers, from our Master Teachers to those trained in PLTW. They are extraordinarily talented.”