How This Florida Educator Prepares Students in the Classroom to Excel in Engineering Careers

To teach a new curriculum, this middle school engineering teacher needs to quickly master SOLIDWORKS

Initially a history teacher, Curt Palermo was asked to teach an introductory engineering class at W.C. Pryor Middle School in Fort Walton Beach, FL because he had a background in mechanics while serving for the military. After teaching that intro engineering class, the school wanted to expand its engineering courses by introducing a SOLIDWORKS 3D printing class into their curriculum the following school year. The school wanted Palermo to teach that class, too.

However, Palermo had never touched a 3D printer, and he had never used SOLIDWORKS or any other CAD software for that matter. But he needed to learn it quickly so he could teach the course in the fall and ensure that every middle school student left the 3D printing class with a strong foundation in SOLIDWORKS and engineering design.

While looking for solutions for how he could learn SOLIDWORKS quickly, he turned to SolidProfessor.

Incorporating the same online video lessons he used to teach himself SOLIDWORKS into his engineering classroom

SolidProfessor is an online learning platform for all-things engineering design. With more than 250 SOLIDWORKS courses, Palermo was able to learn the CAD software with expert-guided videos and practice exercises.

“Over the summer, I took courses from SolidProfessor. I got my CSWP using the Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional (CSWP) Prep course,” explained Palermo. He found the SolidProfessor curriculum so useful that he incorporated it into his SOLIDWORKS course in the fall and has been using SolidProfessor for five years.

Now, Palermo has increased his knowledge in SOLIDWORKS and engineering design so much that he is a full-time engineering instructor at the postsecondary level. He teaches advanced SOLIDWORKS classes at Northwest Flordia State College using a custom SoildProfessor course with CSWA and 3D assignments to guide his classes.

The SoildProfessor curriculum serves as “an ancillary for students to use when they’re not in class to do extra learning.”

Palermo explains how SolidProfessor has catered to students who are interested in learning above and beyond what he teaches, describing how when “students are interested in something past my skill level, there’s something in SolidProfessor that will help them get there.”

When students develop a new design idea that they want to build, Palermo can quickly find a video lesson in SolidProfessor for them to watch to help them construct a 3D model.

Giving students the tools to succeed in the classroom and in the engineering workforce

Within a couple of years of middle schoolers taking the CSWA exam, 90% of his class was getting certified. This success resulted from SoildProfessor’s K-12 self-paced education curriculum, the SOLIDWORKS Beginner to Certification course, and practice exams.

Now that Palermo is teaching at the postsecondary level, he explains how “most of my students have outgrown my skill level because of SolidProfessor.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and distance learning hasn’t stopped Palermo’s students from elevating their skills in SOLIDWORKS, as he now uses video conferencing to present during class time and uses SolidProfessor’s online platform in replace of a textbook. Since his college students have access to SolidProfessor throughout their tenure at Northwest Florida State, they can use SolidProfessor in their other engineering design classes as well.

After graduation, Palermo’s explains that his “students who get certified are very marketable. Certification means a lot, so they’re much more likely to land a job in the industry.”

Palermo says that “SolidProfessor is the best way I’ve seen SOLIDWORKS taught” and knows that it helps get his students prepared for careers.

Zoe Metalios
About the Author

SolidProfessor Marketing Intern and a certified foodie!