CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. – Project Lead the Way (PLTW) announced a new partnership with VEX Robotics last week that gives current and future PLTW schools cutting-edge opportunities with robotics both inside and outside the classroom.

PLTW schools may begin using VEX Robotics’ equipment during the 2011-2012 school year.

Under the agreement, the VEX Robotics Design System will be the exclusive robotics platform offered to PLTW schools, bringing new opportunities for students including the chance to take PLTW’s courses that have been updated with rigorous hands-on, project based robotics lessons.

In addition, every PLTW classroom will have access to participate in the VEX Robotics Competition, the largest and fastest growing middle and high school robotics competition in the world, allowing students to apply their robotics knowledge from the classroom in a unique, problem-solving environment.

“Robotics is not only an important field of study for students interested in pursuing careers in STEM-related fields but also integrates the critical and innovative thinking skills that are the foundation for any intellectual pursuit,” said John Lock, CEO of PLTW.

“The majority of robotics programs for students are either after school or during weekend competitions, but now PLTW students have the opportunity to experience the hands-on, project based robotics curriculum in the classroom just like math or science,” added Lock. “These problem-solving skills are exactly what students have to develop to be successful in today’s 21st century economy.”

The program offered by the national non-profit shows students the real-world relevancy of what they are learning in the classroom and gets them excited about solving the world’s grand challenges.

PLTW began in 1998 in 12 high schools in upstate New York as a program designed to address the shortage of engineering students at the college level and has grown to a network of approximately 4,000 middle and high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

More than 350,000 students are expected to take a PLTW course during the coming school year.

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