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Board 124: Examining the Literacy Practices of Engineers to Develop a Model of Disciplinary Literacy Instruction for K-12 Engineering (Work in Progress)

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29905

Download Count

18

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Paper Authors

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Theresa Green Utah State University

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Theresa Green is a graduate student at Utah State University pursuing a PhD in Engineering Education. Her research interests include K-12 STEM integration and improving diversity and inclusion in engineering.

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Angela Minichiello P.E. Utah State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-4545-9355

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Angela Minichiello is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Utah State University and a registered professional mechanical engineer. Her research examines issues of access, diversity, and inclusivity in engineering education. In particular, she is interested in engineering learning, problem-solving, and the intersections of online learning and alternative pathways for adult, nontraditional, and veteran undergraduates in engineering.

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Amy Wilson-Lopez Utah State University

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Amy Wilson-Lopez is an associate professor at Utah State University who studies culturally responsive engineering and literacy-infused engineering with linguistically diverse students.

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Abstract

Despite efforts to diversify the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce, engineering remains a White, male-dominated profession. Often, women and underrepresented students do not identify with STEM careers and many opt out of STEM pathways prior to entering high school or college. In order to broaden participation in engineering, new methods of engaging and retaining those who are traditionally underrepresented in engineering are needed.

This work is based on a promising approach for encouraging and supporting diverse participation in engineering: disciplinary literacy instruction (DLI). Generally, teachers use DLI to provide K-12 students with a framework for interpreting, evaluating, and generating discipline-specific texts. This instruction provides students with an understanding of how experts in the discipline read, engage, and generate texts used to solve problems or communicate information. While models of disciplinary literacy have been developed and disseminated in several humanities and science fields, there is a lack of empirical and theoretical research that examines the use of DLI within the engineering domain. It is thought that DLI can be used to foster diverse student interest in engineering from a young age by removing literacy-based barriers that often discourage underrepresented students from entering and pursuing careers in STEM fields.

This work-in-progress paper describes a new study underway to develop and disseminate a model of disciplinary literacy in engineering. During this project, researchers will observe, interview, and collect written artifacts from engineers working across four sub-disciplines of engineering: aerospace/mechanical, biological, civil/environmental, and electrical/computer. Data that will be collected include interview transcripts, observation field notes, engineer logs of literacy practices, and photographs of texts that the engineers read and write. Data will be analyzed using constant comparative analytic (CCA) methods. CCA will be used to generate theoretical codes from the data that will form the basis for a model of disciplinary literacy in engineering. As a primary outcome of this research, the engineering DLI model will promote the use of DLI practices within K-12 engineering instruction in order to assist and encourage diverse, underrepresented students to engage in engineering courses of study and pursue STEM careers.

Thus far, the research team has begun collecting and analyzing data from two electrical engineers. This work in progress paper will report on preliminary findings, as well as implications for K-12 classroom instruction. For instance, this study has shed insights on how engineers use texts as part of the process of conducting failure analysis, and the research team has begun to conceptualize how these types of texts might be used with K-12 students to help them conduct failure analyses during design testing. Ultimately, this project will result in a list of grade-appropriate texts, evaluative frameworks, and activities (e.g., failure analysis in testing) that K-12 engineering teachers can use to prepare their diverse students to think, act, read, and write like engineers.

Green, T., & Minichiello, A., & Wilson-Lopez, A. (2018, June), Board 124: Examining the Literacy Practices of Engineers to Develop a Model of Disciplinary Literacy Instruction for K-12 Engineering (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29905

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