June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Educational Research and Methods
This paper explores how a robotics-embedded professional development (PD) program effects teachers' self-efficacy, knowledge of different domains of TPACK (technological-pedagogical-content knowledge), and reflection on the PD program. Recent literature on STEM education attests that effective integration of robotics kits into K-12 education has the potential to promote students' engagement and their conceptual understanding of core concepts. This work is based on a recently implemented three-week summer PD program (15 sessions, 8h per session) for middle school science and math teachers. In this PD program, teachers are expected to deepen their TPACK, develop lesson plans by utilizing robotic kits for the underlying science and math curricula, and improve their students' STEM interest and achievement through classroom enactment of their new learning.
This paper is based on survey data collected from 20 in-service science and math teachers who participated in the PD program. The participants were asked questions about their self-efficacy towards robotics, content knowledge for robotics-based lessons, and reflections about the PD program, as well as personal demographic information. To analyze pre and post data of self-efficacy and content knowledge, a one-tailed pairwise t-test was used if the difference between dependent variables resembled a normal distribution while the non-parametric Wilcoxon Singed-Rank Sum test was performed if the difference between dependent variables did not resemble a normal distribution. A reflective survey comprised of 55 questions with a 5-point Likert scale provided exploratory results regarding the effectiveness of the PD program.
Analysis of the self-efficacy survey responses using either pairwise t-test or Wilcoxon Signed- Rank Sum test showed statistically significant differences between the means of the pretest and posttest responses for all the TPACK domains as indicated by the following: a) TK: p = 0.012; b) CK: p < 0.001, c) PK: p < 0.001, d) TCK: p = 0.003, e) PCK: p = 0.001, f) TPK: p < 0.001, g) TPACK: p = 0.012. The effect size, as determined by Cohen's d, ranged from 0.683 for the PCK to 0.525 for the TPK, indicating a medium effect size. Teachers' content knowledge increased after receiving the PD training from a score of 14.05 (SD = 2.72) at pretest to 18.45 (SD = 3.47) at post-test (t(19)=4.274, p < 0.001). The effect size was 0.700. Additionally, the analysis of reflection responses regarding the PD workshop revealed that the teachers had positive perceptions towards all the items: engagement, learning outcomes, satisfaction, facilitators' expertise, successfulness, and attitude. The mean value of all reflective responses was 3.87 ± 0.42 out of 5. Almost all teachers answered that they were highly engaged in the activities implemented during the PD workshop (4.46/5) and achieved positive learning outcomes towards robotics (3.88/5). Although some teachers indicated that facilitators' expertise needed further improvement (3.31/5), overall, the teachers were satisfied with their PD experience.
This study presents not only the evidence of benefits that can be gained by the PD but also the necessary components for the desirable qualities of the PD. In on-going work, teachers are developing and implementing math and science lessons using robotics based on their knowledge, beliefs, and practices gained in the PD to enhance students' interests and learning outcomes.
You, H. S., & Kapila, V. (2017, June), Effectiveness of Professional Development: Integration of Educational Robotics into Science and Math Curricula Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28207
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