PLTW and Partners Team Up at Education Technology Conference

ATLANTA (July 1, 2014) – Project Lead The Way (PLTW) teachers and staff were among over 18,000 educators and technology leaders at the ISTE 2014 Conference and Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, June 28-July 1. Many of PLTW’s partners, including Autodesk, were also in attendance, demonstrating a shared commitment to using leading-edge technology in the classroom and teaching industry-relevant skills to students.

ISTE, which stands for the International Society of Technology in Education, hosts one of the largest and most interactive technology expos in the world. For Garrison Hall, ISTE 2014 attendee and PLTW Gateway teacher from Gable Middle School in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the event was a prime opportunity to learn about innovative technologies and tools that his district can use in the classroom.

“I would have to stay up 24 hours a day, day after day, to learn about everything here,” Hall said. “I love to learn, I love to teach what I learn, and technology makes it more fun. Seeing everything [at ISTE] makes me wish I had 30 more years to teach.”

A first-year PLTW Gateway teacher, Hall said that he was eager to become certified to teach PLTW because of PLTW’s hands-on, activity-, project-, and problem-based approach, and he is proud of what his middle school students have been able to do at the intersection of PLTW curriculum, Autodesk software, and 3-D printing equipment. Towards the end of the school year, the high school IT department – knowing that Hall’s class had experience with 3-D printing – posed a challenge to Hall and his students: the receivers on telephones in the high school were not staying on the hook properly, and the IT department needed a specially shaped part to solve the problem. Hall’s sixth-grade students used Autodesk software to design a part at the precise dimensions required and printed it using their 3-D printer. The high school was so pleased with the outcome, they installed the new part on every phone with the issue.

During the three-day ISTE expo, PLTW team members demonstrated an activity from PLTW curriculum that incorporates professional Autodesk 3-D design software and VEX Robotics to teach students about forces and interactions.

“Autodesk is committed to equipping students and educators with 3-D design tools and knowledge to ensure that students are not just prepared for the future, but that they’re helping to shape it,” said Peggy Snyder, director of Autodesk Education. “By working with PLTW to integrate industry-standard design software into the classroom, we are providing students with opportunities to learn about complex STEM concepts in hands-on and visual ways that were not possible before.”

In the 2013-14 school year alone, students from more than 4,300 schools across all 50 states had access to and used professional Autodesk 3-D design software, including Autodesk® Inventor® and Autodesk® Revit®, as part of PLTW’s Gateway and Engineering programs. Such courses include Introduction to Engineering Design, Aerospace Engineering, Civil Engineering & Architecture, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, and Green Architecture, to name a few.

 “We are so pleased to be joined at ISTE 2014 by some of our great partners – Autodesk, Instructure, Vernier, and VEX Robotics,” said Dr. Andrea Croslyn, executive vice president and chief operating officer of PLTW. “Together, we comprise a strong ecosystem of support for our fantastic teachers with the common mission of growing our students to be the technical citizens of tomorrow. We provide technical experiences in a variety of ways to ensure that students are ready for the challenges of the future job market.”

According to Hall, whose district will offer the full continuum of PLTW programs from kindergarten to grade 12 starting this fall, PLTW programs represent opportunities to challenge his students and have fun in the classroom. “I tell my students, ‘You’re going to have fun, but you’re going to be thinking.’”

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About PLTW

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading provider of STEM programs. PLTW’s world-class, activity-, project, and problem-based curriculum and high-quality teacher professional development model, combined with an engaged network of educators and corporate partners, help students develop the skills needed to succeed in our global economy. More than 5,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are currently offering PLTW courses to their students. For more information, visit www.pltw.org.

Autodesk, Inventor, and Revit are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document. © 2014 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.