Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is a not-for-profit secondary school pre-engineering program. Its cornerstones are contemporary technical curricula grounded in relevant project-based learning, and rigorous and ongoing professional development for teachers. Its mission is to create dynamic partnerships with America’s schools to prepare an increasing and more diverse group of students to be successful in engineering and engineering technology programs. First developed in the 1980’s, the PLTW school network is booming and it can be now be found in over 1200 schools across 45 US states and the District of Columbia.
Edgecam’s partnership with Project Lead the Way began in Spring 2004 and has resulted in the use of Edgecam software in its Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) 2004-05 course for high school students. The transition to Edgecam went forward seamlessly, thanks to the cooperation and responsiveness of Edgecam, program instructors and school district computer technicians.
“With Edgecam, our students benefit from using a CAM system that is the most advanced solids based machining system available today. Edgecam is so easy to use and is clearly the best integrated CAM software for working with Autodesk Inventor. Our teachers and students have benefited greatly from our decision to switch,” noted Tom White, PLTW Director of Technology.
“In Edgecam, Project Lead the Way has a partner which shares its vision and goals for pre-engineering education,” noted Dick Blais, Executive Director. “The beneficiaries are countless students in the PLTW network whose preparation for real world manufacturing engineering is greatly enhanced.”
“At Edgecam, we’re excited to play our part in encouraging young people to choose a career in engineering. Our relationship with Project Lead the Way has been a real success story for all concerned. Many businesses and parents across the U.S are now demanding that their local schools get on board with Project Lead the Way,” added Steve Sivitter, Sales Director, Planit Metals Business.
PLTW is now aiming to expand its program worldwide. St. Benedict Catholic School and Performing Arts College in Derby, UK, will be the first school outside of the US and Canada to join the program. St. Benedict launches its first set of PLTW courses to 13, 14, and 16-year-olds in September, 2005.
“England, like America, suffers from a lack of talented, qualified engineers,” says Peter Thraves, Assistant Head Teacher at St. Benedict. “Our school is using different ways to help students reach their maximum potential. We teach them how to think outside of the box to achieve their goals.”
These pilot courses will be reviewed and evaluated in 2006, with the goal of bringing PLTW to other schools in the UK. The school curriculum in England is set nationally, so both PLTW and St. Benedict foresee expanding the program to the rest of the country, and eventually to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
To discover more about Project Lead the Way and how to join the program, please visit the Project Lead the Way web site.