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EEE (Elementary Engineering Education) Adoption and Expertise Development Model: Conceptualizing, Assessing, and Tracking Elementary Teachers’ EEE Adoption and EEE Expertise Development

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

K-12 Teachers: PD, Implementation, and Beyond

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.497.1 - 25.497.28



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Paper Authors


Yan Sun Purdue University

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Yan Sun is a Graduate Research Assistant of INSPIRE (Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning) at Purdue University, and a Ph.D. student of learning, design, and technology at Purdue University.

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Nikki Boots Purdue University


Johannes Strobel Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Johannes Strobel is Director of INSPIRE, Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning, and Assistant Professor of engineering education and learning design and technology at Purdue University. NSF and several private foundations fund his research. His research and teaching focuses on policy of P-12 engineering, how to support teachers and students' academic achievements through engineering learning, the measurement and support of change of "habits of mind," particularly in regards to sustainability and the use of cyber-infrastructure to sensitively and resourcefully provide access to and support learning of complexity.

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EEE (Elementary Engineering Education) Adoption and Expertise Development Model: Conceptualizing, Assessing, and Tracking Elementary Teachers’ EEE Adoption and EEE Expertise Development In various fields, research has shown that innovation adoption and skill acquisition isdevelopmental and individual differences exist at a given time in these two domains. Teachingengineering in elementary classrooms is an educational innovation. Previous research on participatingelementary teachers of elementary engineering education (EEE) professional development revealed thatEEE adoption and EEE expertise development by elementary teachers will be a process over time andthere existed individual differences among elementary teachers in their perceptions and attitudes toward,and their capabilities in, teaching engineering. However, comprehensive and systematic investigationaimed to describe this process and to capture these individual differences is missing in the researchliterature of elementary engineering education. Informed by Rogers’s diffusion of innovation model, the Concerned Based Adoption Model(CBAM), and Dreyfus sill acquisition model, the present study investigated elementary teachers’ EEEadoption and EEE expertise development based on the assumptions that EEE adoption and expertisedevelopment is a staged development process, and elementary teachers synchronically stand in differentEEE adoption and EEE expertise development stages and individual elementary teachers diachronicallyprogress along the stages. The purpose of this study was to construct an evidence-based EEE adoptionand expertise development model to describe the staged development process of EEE adoption and EEEexpertise development and to capture individual elementary teachers’ differences in this process. Data of this study were collected through face-to-face interviews (in 2008, 2009, and 2010) andopen-ended online surveys (in 2009 and 2010) conducted among 73 elementary teachers who receivedone-week EEE training from an EEE professional development program. An analytic induction approachwas adopted in the data analyses. Findings of this study confirmed the theoretical-derived assumptionsand an EEE adoption and expertise development model was constructed based on the data analyses resultsof this study. This model is two-dimensional including the EEE adoption dimension and the EEEexpertise development dimension. There are four classificatory categories in the EEE adoption dimensionand three classificatory categories in the EEE expertise development dimension. The staged descriptivecharacterizations falling under each of the classificatory categories delineate respectively what the fourEEE adoption stages and the five EEE expertise development stages are like. This study revealed the “synchronic differences” and the “diachronic progression” existingamong the elementary teachers in their EEE adoption and EEE expertise development. While the“synchronic differences” indicated these elementary teachers’ different standings in the EEE adoption andEEE expertise development stages at a given, the “diachronic progression” indicated their progress alongthe stages overtime. The EEE adoption and expertise development model constructed in this study isinstrumental in helping EEE professional development providers conceptualizing, assessing, and trackingtheir elementary teacher learners’ synchronic differences and diachronic progression in EEE adoption andEEE expertise development. Information thus yielded would facilitate EEE professional developmentprograms’ planning for program improvement and for providing effective and on-going support for theirteacher learners.

Sun, Y., & Boots, N., & Strobel, J. (2012, June), EEE (Elementary Engineering Education) Adoption and Expertise Development Model: Conceptualizing, Assessing, and Tracking Elementary Teachers’ EEE Adoption and EEE Expertise Development Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21255

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