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Equity in Collaboration: My Ideas Matter, Too! K-12 Students' Negotiation of Social Status in Collaborative Engineering Teams (Fundamental Research)

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Underrepresented Populations

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Kayla R. Maxey Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Kayla is a doctoral student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research interest includes the influence of informal engineering learning experiences on diverse students’ attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions of engineering, and the relationship between students’ interests and the practices and cultures of engineering. Her current work at the FACE lab is on teaching strategies for K-12 STEM educators integrating engineering design and the development of engineering skills of K-12 learners.

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Morgan M. Hynes Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Morgan Hynes is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University and Director of the FACE Lab research group at Purdue. In his research, Hynes explores the use of engineering to integrate academic subjects in K-12 classrooms. Specific research interests include design metacognition among learners of all ages; the knowledge base for teaching K-12 STEM through engineering; the relationships among the attitudes, beliefs, motivation, cognitive skills, and engineering skills of K-16 engineering learners; and teaching engineering.

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With the changing landscape of engineering education to provide more opportunities for students to develop engineering skills within the context of the profession, there has been an increase in the integration of collaborative engineering activities within learning spaces at all educational levels. In practice, collaboration is a skill developed through engineering design projects completed by heterogeneous teams. Successful projects require students to work together with others from different social classes, genders, ability levels, and cultural groups. In this context, research suggests that the collaborative nature of the learning experience will have a positive impact on students' academic achievement. The measures for academic achievement are often changes in students' content knowledge and their grades. However, the dynamic nature of working in teams allows for the evaluation of students' development of engineering habits, like teaming behaviors, to best prepare students for a future in engineering.

The objective for this study is to understand how students’, from low socioeconomic backgrounds, social positioning influences peer-to-peer relations and their status within an engineering team. Furthermore, we aim to explore how this position relates to their engagement with engineering concepts, practices, and habits. We expect the rich examples of how K-12 students experience status in collaborative engineering projects to inform curriculum design and instructional practice.

The methods applied follow a case study approach where video-recorded observations of peer interactions and one-on-one interviews comprise the data in this case. The case is a ten-day summer engineering workshop for 8-14-year-old students. In this case study, we conducted interaction analysis of the video data by coding peer-to-peer exchanges and the associated impact on the students’ engagement in the engineering task.

The results show that social standing within collaborative teams impact whose ideas are shared and implemented by the group in their project. The value placed on knowledge shared by team members influenced how the students engaged with the project. In addition, the results suggest that the teams’ perceptions of each other impacts who is viewed as a competent knowledge contributor.

The findings from this work inform instructional practices to assist the development of respect for diverse perspectives and ideas within the classroom when working in collaborative teams. It provides recommendations to increase engagement of all students, manage status conflicts, improve team performance when students work with their peers on engineering design activities.

Maxey, K. R., & Hynes, M. M. (2018, June), Equity in Collaboration: My Ideas Matter, Too! K-12 Students' Negotiation of Social Status in Collaborative Engineering Teams (Fundamental Research) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30437

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