Purdue’s annual Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Core Training, a professional development opportunity for K-12 teachers, has moved to West Lafayette for the first time. Since the inception of Purdue’s PLTW partnership, the training had been held at Purdue Polytechnic’s Kokomo location.
“PLTW was first brought to Kokomo in 2002 to help teachers become more familiar with our programs there and to increase awareness of STEM education,” said Rene Bailey, PLTW program assistant. Three classes were offered to 29 teachers that first year; it has expanded to 13 classes for as many as 200 teachers. “Faculty in West Lafayette have been hoping to showcase their labs to K-12 teachers in the hopes of making new partnerships.”
“There is an economy of scale we can achieve by holding Core Training in West Lafayette,” said Kevin Kaluf, K-12 STEM education director. “During the last 12 months, a lot of my work has been educating faculty in Purdue Polytechnic’s six departments and schools as to what PLTW is and how it would benefit them. Quite a few faculty have reached out. They have really embraced the opportunity to meet with teachers while they’re here, to get exposure for their own research and programs here in the college.”
The training prepares teachers to introduce students to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) topics including engineering design, digital electronics, civil engineering and architecture, computer science, and automation and robotics. Elementary, middle, and high school teachers attend training for three, seven, or 14 days, respectively. About 60 percent of attendees are from the state of Indiana; the remainder come from K-12 schools nationwide.
Kaluf and Bailey have scheduled course-appropriate classrooms for the PLTW training when possible. “As examples, want computer science classes to be held in the Department of Computer and Information Technology’s labs and civil engineering and architecture courses to be in the building construction lab,” Kaluf said. “It improves the training and gives teachers more widespread exposure to Purdue Polytechnic. We hope teachers will go back and tell their students, ‘They have really great professors and facilities there.’”
Most of the 2016 Project Lead The Way Core Training sessions start on June 19 or July 10. See the full schedule.