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Board 109: Integrating a Teacher Professional Learning Experience into the GEAR UP Engineering Summer Camp (Work in Progress)

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Ryan Barlow Utah State University

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Ryan Barlow obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah in 2012 and his Master’s Degree in Science Education from the University of Maryland in 2016. He is currently a PhD student in Engineering Education at Utah State University where his research focuses on professional learning for engineering educators and K-12 STEM teachers.

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Max L. Longhurst Utah State University

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Dr. Longhurst is an Assistant Professor of Science Education in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership at Utah State University. His research focuses on the appropriation of professional learning in science education. He holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and instruction from Utah State University (2015), a Masters Degree in Instruction and Curriculum from Arizona State University (1995), a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Brigham Young University(1993). Dr. Longhurst has directed local and large scale professional development programs providing instructional learning experiences involving elementary and secondary teachers.  Currently he coordinates the Elementary STEM Endorsement program at Utah State University.

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Kurt Henry Becker Utah State University - Engineering Education

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Kurt Becker is the current director for the Center for Engineering Education Research (CEER) which examines innovative and effective engineering education practices as well as classroom technologies that advance learning and teaching in engineering. He is also working on National Science Foundation (NSF) funded projects exploring engineering design thinking. His areas of research include engineering design thinking, adult learning cognition, engineering education professional development and technical training. He has extensive international experience working on technical training and engineering educaton projects funded by the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and U.S. Department of Labor, USAID. Countries where he has worked include Armenia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, and Thailand. In addition, he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses for the Department of Engineering Education at Utah State University.

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Because of the need for more students in STEM disciplines, the STARS! GEAR UP Partnership grant, funded by the Department of Education to increase student interest in STEM fields is underway. This 7-year project is housed at Utah State University (USU), and during summer 2018, students and teachers from school districts throughout the state of Utah participated in the GEAR UP Engineering Summer Camp. The engineering camp targets 6th to 12th grade underrepresented students and science teachers to participate, and this past summer, 10th grade high school students and teachers participated. The main purpose of the camp is to increase interest in and knowledge about engineering in middle-school and high school students in the state of Utah. During the camp, secondary students and teachers work in teams to perform real engineering research investigations in collaboration with engineering research faculty to study the interaction of urban and natural areas, and their effect on water quality in a local watershed. With the introduction of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and the framework for K-12 science education, teachers are experiencing difficulties in incorporating the recommendations in those standards in their curriculum (Boesdorfer and Staude, 2016). Rather than have the teachers serve only as chaperones for the students, this years’ camp served as a professional learning experience for the eight participating STEM teachers. Throughout the camp, the STEM teachers engaged in professional learning discourse about the camp experience. They also participated in engineering education workshops led by the researchers which included discussion, activities, and time to work on a lesson plan related to engineering that they would implement in their classroom. The main purpose of the teacher professional learning was to help the participating STEM teachers incorporate the recommendations from NGSS and the framework for K-12 science education. During the academic year following the camp, the researchers observed the participating teachers in their own classrooms teaching the lesson plans that they created during the camp. The researchers also conducted follow-up semi-structured interviews with the teachers. Both the observations and the interviews help to determine what factors influence teacher transfer of learning from professional learning to the classroom, and to learn more about the impact of integrating professional learning into a student focused summer camp on teacher transfer of learning. The data collected this year serves as a pilot study to inform the research that will be performed in connection with the GEAR UP Engineering Camp that will be held in the Summer 2019, and in all remaining years of the Camp.

Barlow, R., & Longhurst, M. L., & Becker, K. H. (2019, June), Board 109: Integrating a Teacher Professional Learning Experience into the GEAR UP Engineering Summer Camp (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32182

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