June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Pre-College Engineering Education
As STEM and computational thinking (CT) concepts are included in standards, veteran teachers have to develop new pedagogical content knowledge for these unfamiliar topics. In order to support teachers as they integrate these new concepts into their classrooms, we need to develop a better understanding of the actions of experienced teachers who are successfully engaging their students in these new topics. To do this, we qualitatively analyzed the actions of experienced teachers implementing an integrated STEM and CT curriculum across two years to address the following research question: How do first grade teachers’ classroom actions change as they gain experience with STEM and CT? Three first grade teachers from the same school who had implemented the same integrated STEM and CT curriculum and followed the curriculum closely for at least two years in a row were the focus of this study. The longitudinal data included classroom video for each lesson across the 13 lessons included in this STEM and CT curriculum unit and a semi-structured teacher interview with each teacher following completion of the unit. Data was collected for each of the three first grade teachers across two years of implementation to allow for comparison between the first and second year and between teachers. Researchers analyzed the video and interview data with the help of a veteran teacher who had implemented the same curricular unit in their classroom to identify teacher and student actions and talk across the curriculum. Using an iterative process of coding that started with open coding to capture similarities and differences across lessons and classrooms, one researcher and the veteran teacher coded each lesson within the first-grade unit. Interviews with each teacher following completion of the unit were also used to assess experience with CT and engineering design and reflections on their teaching of the unit. Preliminary results from the video analysis show that the types of examples used by teachers and the extent to which the teacher is able to communicate these examples at an appropriate level across the curriculum was a good indicator of teacher experience. The more relatable the example is, the more likely the student were to use and repeat the concept being taught later in the class. Another interesting difference that was seen from year one to year two was the extent to which the teachers let students ramble until they come up with relevant ideas versus when the teachers’ decided to intervene or redirect conversation to keep the lesson moving. Analysis of the interview data revealed that teachers felt more comfortable and even willing to make small modifications to the curriculum and their teaching in the second year. Developing a better understanding of how veteran teachers engage their students with computational thinking and EDP lessons can provide insight for professional development and for supporting early elementary teachers when implementing STEM and CT curricula.
Haluschak, E. M., & Tank, K. M., & Moore, T. J., & Johnston, A. (2019, June), Actions and Approaches of Teachers Communicating Computational Thinking and Engineering Design to First Grade Students (RTP) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32028
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