June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
11.1087.1 - 11.1087.17
Research of Project Lead The Way® (PLTW) Curricula, Pedagogy, and Professional Development Abstract
Pre-college students must be educated to make informed decisions in our technology-based world. Project Lead The Way® (PLTW), a pre-engineering curriculum, focuses on producing secondary graduates with an enhanced level of technological literacy and competency. The research activities regarding increasing engineering and technological literacy of K-12 students in the PLTW network will provide a perspective of how well pre-college students are learning about technology and engineering, and becoming technologically literate. This paper will discuss the recent research gathered by three independent sources. First, a research brief1 by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) High Schools That Work (HSTW) shows the achievement of PLTW students compared to the achievement of other students in the HSTW network. Second, TrueOutcomes2 research will provide data on the curricula integration and outreach for greater diversity and access of the PLTW program. Last, the ongoing research of John Hansen3 and colleagues from the University of Texas at Tyler will provide data on the PLTW Professional Development model.
Project Lead The Way® (PLTW) is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit national organization, established in 1997 to help schools give students the knowledge they need to excel in high-tech fields, such as engineering and engineering technology. PLTW is committed to preparing an increasing and more diverse group of students to successfully pursue these fields at the post-secondary level. To accomplish this goal, PLTW has created two programs. The first is Gateway To Technology, a five-unit middle school program designed to help students explore mathematics, science, and technology. It is taught in conjunction with rigorous, academic, middle school courses and adheres to the national standards in mathematics, science, technology, and English. The second is Pathway To Engineering, an eight-course high school program that centers on developing better problem-solving skills by immersing students in real-world engineering problems. Each of the eight challenging courses taken in conjunction with college-preparatory level academics is designed to prepare students for postsecondary studies in engineering and engineering technology and other high tech, high wage careers. The courses are in alignment with the national standards for mathematics, science, technology and English and use activities, projects, and problem-based learning with hands-on experiences to teach students the key knowledge and skills of engineering and technology-based careers.
For the past eight years, the PLTW network has grown to encompass 1,300 schools in 45 states, including the District of Columbia. Over 175,000 students are currently enrolled in PLTW courses. Currently, 21 affiliate colleges and universities across the U.S. work with PLTW to train middle and high school teachers in the challenging curriculum. Several of these universities offer transcripted credit to PLTW students who maintain an 85% or better cumulative average and pass the end-of-course exam with a minimum 70% score. Teachers are offered continuous, just- in-time professional development through the PLTW Virtual Academy. The Virtual Academy is
Newberry, P., & Grimsley, T. R., & Hansen, J., & Spence, A. (2006, June), Research Of Project Lead The Way (Pltw) Curricula, Pedagogy, And Professional Development: Activities Regarding Increasing Engineering And Technological Literacy Of K 12 Students In The Pltw Network Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/648
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