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Engineering Related Activities Using Digital Fabrication in an Instructional Technology Course For Preservice Elementary Teachers

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Pre-Service Development Initiatives

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.517.1 - 23.517.15

Permanent URL

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Paper Authors

author page

Daniel Tillman The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)

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Fostering Preservice Teachers Science Teaching Efficacy: Results from an Instructional Technology Course Integrated with Engineering Related ActivitiesEnsuring K-12 teachers are comfortable with teaching inquiry and design focused instruction is key inpreparing them to teach engineering. [1] However, very few undergraduate programs prepare teachersto engage in engineering instruction, and it is important that programs or professional development thatdoes aim to help teachers with this area has strong and specific content and concepts of focus. [2]Regular professional development can help preservice and inservice teachers become better able toteach the several skills and content areas necessary to prepare students to enter engineering and relatedareas. [3] Professional developments that focus on helping teachers feel comfortable with related areassuch as science and technology can prepare them for teaching design based engineering activities, aswhen teachers have anxiety toward a subject, they often do not cover areas in depth or in ways that gobeyond the content’s surface. [4] This study focused on the impact of an instructional technologycourse that integrated 3D printing through digital fabrication activities on (1) preservice elementaryteachers' efficacy beliefs about teaching science, and (2) their attitudes and understanding of effectiveapproaches to integrating technology and digital fabrication into teaching science.Both sections of a required introductory teaching with technology course were utilized in the currentstudy. One section was randomly assigned to integrate digital fabrication activities within anengineering education framework, while the students in the other section experienced a media cycleframework. [5] At the start of the course, all teachers took the Science Teaching Efficacy BeliefInstrument (STEBI) answered open-response questions about technologies they plan to use in theirsubsequent teaching. After three class meetings, all students retook the STEBI and answered questionsabout how they would integrate technology into their teaching. Results from a dependent t-test andcounting the responses to the open ended questions yielded one main finding: Students in the sectionthat featured digital fabrication reported statistically significant overall gains in science teachingefficacy. When asked to describe their future plans for using instructional technologies in theirteaching, the top five most mentioned by the 28 participants in the digital fabrication sections were:interactive whiteboards (25 participants mentioned), video (16), class website (9), interactive onlinetimeline (9), and digital fabrication (8). Of the eight participants who mentioned digital fabrication, thetop content areas mentioned were: history (4) and social studies (4). These results suggest thatinstruction in digital fabrication can help preservice teachers become more comfortable with teachingscience and can provide them with ideas for how to integrate technology into their instruction in newand creative ways. The paper concludes with a discussion of ways in which these results might provideguidance for further research and professional development.[1] Brophy, S., Klein, S., Portsmore, M., & Rogers, C. (2008). Advancing engineering education in P-12 classrooms. Journal of Engineering Education, 97(3): 369-387.[2] Committee on Standards for K-12 Engineering Education. (2010) Standards for K-12 engineeringeducation? Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.[3] Nadelson, L., Seifert, A., Moll, A., & Coats, B. (2012). I-STEM Summer Institute: An integratedapproach to teacher professional development in STEM. Journal of STEM Education, 13(2): 69-83.[4] National Research Council. (2007). Taking science to school: Learning and teaching science ingrades K-8. Committee on Science Learning, Kindergarten Through Eighth R. A. Duschl, H. A.Schweingruber, and A. W. Shouse, Editors. Board on Science Education, Center for Education.Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. DC: The National Academies Press.[5] Bull, G. & Bell, L., Eds. (2005). Teaching with Digital Images. Eugene, OR: ISTE Publications.

Tillman, D. (2013, June), Engineering Related Activities Using Digital Fabrication in an Instructional Technology Course For Preservice Elementary Teachers Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia.

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