Asee peer logo

Developing Transmedia Engineering Curricula Using Cognitive Tools to Impact Learning and the Development of STEM Identity

Download Paper |

Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Pre-college Engineering Education Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Page Count

20

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34438

Permanent URL

https://cms.jee.org/34438

Download Count

43

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Glenn W. Ellis Smith College

visit author page

Glenn Ellis is a Professor of Engineering at Smith College who teaches courses in engineering science and methods for teaching science and engineering. He received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and Operations Research from Princeton University. The winner of numerous teaching and research awards, Dr. Ellis received the 2007 U.S. Professor of the Year Award for Baccalaureate Colleges from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. His research focuses on creating K-16 learning environments that support the growth of learners’ imaginations and their capacity for engaging in collaborative knowledge work.

visit author page

author page

Jeremiah Pina Smith College

biography

Al Rudnitsky Smith College

visit author page

Al Rudnitsky teaches Introduction to the Learning Sciences; Thinking, Knowing and the Design of Learning Environments, How Do We Know What Students are Learning?, and instructional methods in elementary and middle school mathematics and science. He has authored books on curriculum design and teaching children about scientific inquiry. Current research interests focus on creating environments for “good talk” in elementary and middle school classrooms, and also on advancing the use of knowledge building pedagogy in higher education. His most recent article (2013) is entitled “Tasks and Talk: The Relationship Between Teachers’ Goals and Student Discourse,” in Social Studies Research and Practice.

visit author page

biography

Beth McGinnis-Cavanaugh Springfield Technical Community College

visit author page

Beth McGinnis-Cavanaugh is a professor at Springfield Technical Community College, where she teaches courses in physics, engineering mechanics, and structures and chairs the Civil Engineering Technology Department. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. McGinnis-Cavanaugh focuses on developing meaningful educational strategies to recruit and retain a diverse student body in engineering and designs innovative learning environments at all levels of the engineering pipeline. Her work in these areas is particularly focused on full inclusion and equity for community college women in engineering and related STEM fields.

Professor McGinnis-Cavanaugh is the 2014 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education Massachusetts Professor of the Year and recipient of the 2015 Scibelli Endowed Chair for Faculty Excellence and 2018 Outstanding Faculty Member Award.

visit author page

biography

Isabel Huff Springfield Technical Community College

visit author page

Isabel Huff serves as the Curriculum Designer and Training Specialist for the TEEMS Curriculum at Springfield Technical Community College. She has an M.A. in Education from Stanford University and a B.A. in Economics and Spanish from Smith College.

visit author page

biography

Sonia Ellis Smith College, Springfield Technical Community College

visit author page

Sonia Ellis is the lead instructional designer for TEEMS, Transforming Engineering Education for Middle Schools, an NSF-funded collaboration between Springfiel Technical Community College and Smith College.

visit author page

biography

Crystal M. Ford Smith College

visit author page

Crystal Ford is an experienced digital designer with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry.

visit author page

biography

Kate Lytton Collaborative for Educational Services

visit author page

Kate Lytton is the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Collaborative for Educational Services, overseeing program evaluation, strategic planning, and quality improvement projects across a variety of preK-12 educational contexts and community systems. Lytton brings experience in social research, including needs assessment, strategic planning, evaluation design, survey research, and mixed methods approaches to studies of educator professional development, teacher preparation, instructional innovation, inter-agency and community collaborations, and student engagement, among many other education, social service, and community health projects. Kate promotes participatory approaches that engage stakeholders in identifying and addressing questions that are critical for program improvement and that keep students at the center of educational improvement. She facilitates collaborative efforts that focus on collecting and using data to understand an educational challenge and to assess program effectiveness and outcomes. Kate has a BS in mathematics from Williams College and an MS in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

visit author page

biography

Kaia Claire Cormier Smith College

visit author page

Second year undergraduate researcher under Glenn Ellis at Smith College. Studying Computer Science and East Asian Languages and Literature.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Engineering is an important component of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). However, resources for supporting teachers in implementing these standards are scarce. Our paper will address this need by presenting an application of an innovative pedagogy called Imaginative Education (IE) to create NGSS-aligned middle school engineering curricula. In IE, cognitive tools—such as developmentally appropriate narratives, mysteries and fantasies—are used to design learning environments that engage learners and help them organize their knowledge productively. To fully exploit the potential of this pedagogy, the curricula we have developed combines IE with transmedia storytelling—an approach in which different elements of a narrative are spread across a variety of media formats to be more immersive than traditional delivery channels. Using this approach, we have developed a 2-3 week sixth-grade engineering design unit and three shorter 2-3 day mini-units in which students apply ideas from the design unit to explore sixth-grade science topics. In the main unit, learners:

• Participate in a multi-media narrative in which they design bio-armor to save a character trapped in a dystopian gaming environment; • Work with real-life hero, Isaac Gonzales, to solve the mystery of 1919 Boston Molasses disaster; and • Use the engineering design process to design and build a cell phone holder.

In the mini-units, learners explore sixth-grade science topics through the perspective of engineering design. In these units, learners:

• Explore how engineering design is like and unlike biological evolution by participating in a narrative in which a girl from the future tries to understand the content of a present-day smartphone. • Participate in a narrative in which they design a rescue kit to save the Apollo 13 astronauts. In this adventure learners are guided through the unit by videos featuring real-life hero Francis (Poppy) Northcutt--the first female engineer to work in NASA’s mission control. • Designing buildings to protect people from earthquakes.

The development of this curricula is part of a research study that is currently being implemented in six middle schools throughout the Springfield, MA public school system. Participating classrooms are randomly divided into treatment and control groups totally approximately 500 students per year. All participants are assessed to provide evidence of whether this educational approach impacts student learning and the development of STEM identity. Based on Schwartz, Bransford, and Sears’s transfer framework, we assess learning by measuring (1) students’ ability to directly use applicative knowledge and skills to solve engineering problems and (2) students’ ability to use interpretive knowledge in a multi-stage problem-solving task. The impact on developing STEM identity is measured using self-efficacy and personal interest sub-scales from the S-STEM assessment instrument. Both student learning and STEM identity data is currently being collected and analyzed for inclusion in the final paper.

Ellis, G. W., & Pina, J., & Mazur, R., & Rudnitsky, A., & McGinnis-Cavanaugh, B., & Huff, I., & Ellis, S., & Ford, C. M., & Lytton, K., & Cormier, K. C. (2020, June), Developing Transmedia Engineering Curricula Using Cognitive Tools to Impact Learning and the Development of STEM Identity Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34438

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015