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Board 234: ChangeMaker K12: A Platform To Support Teacher Candidates in Systems Thinking, Engineering Education, and Change

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors

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Douglas Charles Williams University of Louisiana, Lafayette

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aimee barber

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Introduction There is an increased, international need for professionals with skill in systems thinking, creative problem solving, and communication. This need is deeply felt in education as teachers, families and children find themselves part of educational systems that do not always address their diverse needs. Also, the systems that prepare teachers struggle to develop individuals that view themselves as innovators with the skills and passion to affect positive change in their careers and communities.

As communities push for rich innovative experiences for K12 students, some have begun to add maker spaces, robotics clubs, and/or innovation labs. And even though more states have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) it is not the norm to prioritize engineering design experiences for students.

It is in this context that the ChangeMaker K-12 project was born, to develop materials for use in teacher education programs that (1) support elementary education undergraduate teacher candidates (TCs) in teaching engineering and human-centered design and (2) engages TCs in employing systems thinking and change processes to improve their own practice. ​​ChangeMaker K-12, accessible at, is currently under development with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), award # 2044358.

This proposed poster session will share the design and evaluation of ChangeMaker K12. ChangeMaker K12 engages TCs in systems thinking for themselves as well as materials for TCs to facilitate rich field experience in four progressive stages: design awareness, design for function, design with empathy, and design for change.

Methodology This is a mixed methods study that includes qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis to provide information on the quality of the materials, the design iterations, perceived impacts on TCs, and strengths and challenges associated with implementation of the newly developed materials. Data sources include TC pre and post surveys and TC interviews.

TCs who were enrolled in the Becoming a Changemaker engineering education course in fall 2021 (Cohort 1) and those enrolled in spring 2022 (Cohort 2) were invited to participate in a focus group following their participation in the Becoming a Changemaker coursework in December 2021 (2 focus groups, N = 21 PSTs) and in April 2022 (1 focus group, N = 9). TCs were asked about: their experience with project materials and curricula; participation in Becoming Changemaker coursework; involvement in the Design and Innovation camps; perceived outcomes for themselves and their potential students; and strengths and challenges of the project. Baseline and followup surveys were administered to all TCs enrolled in the Becoming a Changemaker course in either Fall 2021 (N=23) or Spring 2022 (N=10) at the beginning and end of the semester. A second follow up survey was administered following participation in the summer camps in June and July 2022.

Qualitative data collected through interviews and focus groups were analyzed using an approach that closely follows methods explicated by Miles, Huberman, and Saldaña (2020). The qualitative data were analyzed for trends, and were used to validate and extend understanding of survey data, probing complex issues in greater depth. Issues examined using qualitative data included factors that facilitate or impede progress, factors associated with sustainability, and program impacts that are less likely to be documented using survey data.

Quantitative data collected from participant surveys were analyzed and presented using descriptive statistics (e.g., frequencies, means, and standard deviations). Frequencies of response categories were presented for baseline and follow-up to provide additional information of interest to project leaders. Paired-samples t-tests were conducted to assess change in outcomes for those who complete both a baseline and a followup survey. A Bonferroni adjustment was used to account for multiple statistical tests.

Analyses and findings will be shared at the conference.

Williams, D. C., & barber, A. (2023, June), Board 234: ChangeMaker K12: A Platform To Support Teacher Candidates in Systems Thinking, Engineering Education, and Change Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--42675

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