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Digital Technology and Engineering: Teachers’ Understandings, Beliefs, and Practices

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

32

Permanent URL

https://strategy.asee.org/36982

Download Count

74

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Paper Authors

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Amanda Gonczi Michigan Technological University

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Dr. Amanda Gonczi is an Assistant Research Scientists at Michigan Technological University. She conducts research in STEM education and has a particular interest in teachers' engineering and technology integration.

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Whitney Nicole McCoy University of Virginia

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Whitney N. McCoy, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Research Associate on the Making Engineering Real (ME-REAL) National Science Foundation Grant in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia. Whitney earned her Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Learning Sciences with a concentration in Educational Psychology from North Carolina State University. She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Winston-Salem State University. McCoy’s research explores identity development for Black girls in educational settings. Her research interests include critical race theory, racial identity development, self-efficacy, and STEM education. Her dissertation, Black Girls Accepting the Grand Challenge: A Qualitative Exploration of a Summer Engineering Program’s Influence on Black Girls’ Racial Identity, Engineering Identity, and STEM Self-Efficacy was awarded Outstanding Dissertation of the Year in the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences at North Carolina State University. Prior to her postdoctoral role, as a fully-funded doctoral student, she was a Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholar and a recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. She has a M.A.T. from UNC-Charlotte in Elementary Education and a B.S. in Biology from Winston-Salem State University.

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Robert M. Handler

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Jennifer L. Maeng University of Virginia

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Research Associate Professor; Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education; School of Education and Human Development

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Abstract

This poster presentation will present baseline data describing teachers’ understandings, confidence, and instructional practices regarding digital technology integration within engineering instruction. Data were collected for the “Digital Technology Integration and Engineering Contexts to Support Elementary Students Systems Thinking” project (NSF award # 1850296) prior to professional development. Participants included 27 elementary and middle school science teachers (grades K-8). Data sources included a validated survey that assessed participants’ engineering and technology understandings, confidence, beliefs, and practices on a 5-point Likert Scale (1 = not confident/appropriate; 3 = somewhat confident/appropriate; 5 = extremely confident/appropriate). The survey asked participants to rate their confidence using and perceptions of appropriateness to integrate seven digital technologies (static digital images, computer simulations, interactive visualizations, spreadsheets, videos/animations, computer assisted design software, programming technologies). Participants also responded to a prompt in which they described an engineering lesson they integrated the previous year. A subset of participants (n = 12) were interviewed to elaborate on their survey responses and to better understand their classroom integration of engineering and technology. Results indicated that of the technologies to support engineering included on the survey, the teachers reported greatest confidence integrating static digital images (M = 4.0, SD = 1.0) and presentation software (e.g., PowerPoint; M = 4.0, SD = 1.1). In contrast, participants were least confident incorporating CAD software (M = 1.7, SD = 0.8) and probeware (M = 2.2, SD = 1.1). Participants’ endorsed integration of most of the targeted technologies to support engineering lessons (M > 4.0 for all but CAD and programming technologies). However, when asked what technologies they had integrated into their instruction, teachers reported including static images and animations into engineering instruction most often (approximately 75% of engineering lessons) and spreadsheets, probes, and CAD least often. Lesson descriptions confirmed this result. Of participants, 21 of 27 described using technology in their engineering lesson. In 17 of these lessons, the technology described was static images or animations. In these lessons, participants described using digital technology to either introduce a design challenge to students or document/communicate final designs; no participant indicated using technology to support the design/development of a solution. These findings demonstrate that while participants generally endorsed technology to support engineering instruction, they had a limited understanding of how digital technology could be used for this purpose, and limited experience incorporating technology to support engineering instruction. Results indicate a need for professional development to help grade K-8 teachers to better understand how technology can be used to support engineering and to facilitate technology use more authentically within an engineering design process.

Gonczi, A., & McCoy, W. N., & Handler, R. M., & Maeng, J. L. (2021, July), Digital Technology and Engineering: Teachers’ Understandings, Beliefs, and Practices Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://strategy.asee.org/36982

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