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Board 66: Results from the Implementation of Culturally-relevant Engineering Design Curriculum for the Navajo Nation and Future Directions

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Shawn S. Jordan Arizona State University, Polytechnic campus Orcid 16x16

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SHAWN JORDAN, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. He teaches context-centered electrical engineering and embedded systems design courses, and studies the use of context in both K-12 and undergraduate engineering design education. He received his Ph.D. in Engineering Education (2010) and M.S./B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University. Dr. Jordan is PI on several NSF-funded projects related to design, including an NSF Early CAREER Award entitled “CAREER: Engineering Design Across Navajo Culture, Community, and Society” and “Might Young Makers be the Engineers of the Future?,” and is a Co-PI on the NSF Revolutionizing Engineering Departments grant “Additive Innovation: An Educational Ecosystem of Making and Risk Taking.” He was named one of ASEE PRISM’s “20 Faculty Under 40” in 2014, and received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Obama in 2017.

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Courtney A. Betoney Arizona State University, Polytechnic campus

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Courtney Betoney is from Ganado, Arizona and is studying Mechanical Engineering Systems at Arizona State University. Since January 2014, Courtney has been an undergraduate researcher for Engineering Design Across Navajo Culture, Community, and Society. She has enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate within the engineering community and now hopes to continue towards a graduate degree for Mechanical Engineering.

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Tyrine Jamella Pangan Arizona State University, Polytechnic

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TYRINE JAMELLA PANGAN is a senior majoring in Software Engineering at Arizona State University with a primary focus in Embedded Systems and a secondary focus in Social Entrepreneurship. She is a member of Barrett, the Honors College, a Broadening the Reach of Engineering through Community Engagement (BRECE) Scholar, and a participant in the National Academy of Engineering (NAE)’s Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) with a research theme in Education. She intends on pursuing a Ph.D. in Engineering Education after finishing her undergrad.

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Ieshya Anderson Arizona State University

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Ieshya Anderson is Naakétł’áhí (Tohono O’odham), born for Tł’ááshchí’í. Her cheii is Naakétł’áhí and her nálí is Tódích’íi’nii. Ieshya graduated from Arizona State University, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, emphasis in electrical systems. She is pursuing her PhD in Engineering Education Systems and Design at Arizona State University. Ieshya also continues to work with Dr. Shawn Jordan to develop engineering design curricula for middle school students on the Navajo reservation and facilitates Dr. Jordan's STEAM Machines™ outreach camps across the Navajo Nation with the ambition to expand to Tohono O'odham Nation.

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J. A. Fernandez Arizona State University

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The purpose of the (BLINDED) study is to develop an understanding of the intersection between Navajo culture and engineering design and use it to inform the creation of culturally-relevant engineering design curriculum for middle schools on the Navajo Nation (BLINDED). The initial culturally-relevant curriculum modules piloted in 2017 included (1) an Introduction to Engineering Design, (2) Solution Dissection, (3) Distance Between the Sacred Mountains: A Lesson in Scale and Proportion, and (4) The Great Animal Escape: Portable Livestock Corral Design Project.

This paper reports on the results from the initial curriculum pilot in 2017, and discusses the curriculum modules to be piloted in spring 2018. The curriculum was piloted with 59 students and two teachers across two middle schools on the Navajo Nation. Pilot results showed that students had a better understanding of what engineers do, knew what they needed to learn to become an engineer, are aware of how their Navajo values and teachings can be used to better solve engineering problems, how the engineering process relates to the way that the students think as Navajo, how engineering can provide solutions for future generations of Navajo, and how their experience growing up in the Navajo Nation would be helpful to them as engineers. Some students expressed concern that engineering requires too much paperwork, and therefore they were less interested in pursuing engineering as a career.

In this design-based research study, results from the first pilot were used to create improved versions of the existing curriculum modules and to inform the development of several new curriculum modules that will be piloted in spring 2018. The paper will describe the new curriculum modules and review changes made as a result of the pilot feedback. The results of this paper could inform the creation of culturally-relevant curriculum and showcase best practices.

Jordan, S. S., & Betoney, C. A., & Pangan, T. J., & Anderson, I., & Fernandez, J. A. (2018, June), Board 66: Results from the Implementation of Culturally-relevant Engineering Design Curriculum for the Navajo Nation and Future Directions Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30081

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