June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
12.706.1 - 12.706.13
Expanding Engineering Diversity by Teaching Engineering to Counselors and Teachers Introduction
The future of America’s global competitiveness depends upon a well-educated, technologically literate workforce. However, if proactive measures are not taken in the near future, the United States will face a serious shortage of scientists, engineers, technologists, and mathematicians because high school students, especially those from underrepresented groups, are increasingly losing interest in these subjects.1 The key in reversing this trend lies in our ability to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects and professions in a more socially relevant, real-world context and to recognize the differences in learning styles and self-efficacy between males, females and minorities.2,3,4 As STEM teachers and school guidance counselors will be the catalysts for introducing students to engineering and technology subjects and careers, the Teaching Engineering to Counselors and Teachers (TECT) professional development workshop is being developed by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to strengthen the way in which high school teachers and counselors approach the integration of engineering based materials into their courses and counseling. It is believed this improved pedagogy will convince a broader, more diverse range of students to pursue engineering and technology careers.
The TECT workshop, a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded proof-of-concept project, incorporates the well-established STEM model that hands-on activities improve student learning and comprehension. To reinforce this approach, the project builds upon a successful existing NSF sponsored project that funds high school clubs and summer camps focused on students who are underrepresented in engineering related majors. The TECT workshop will make use of the summer camps as a time to conduct concurrent teacher and counselor in-service education and promote best practices that reach across the diversity of student learning styles and interests. In the TECT workshops the teachers and counselors will be observers of students, learners of new engineering and pedagogical content and participants in teaching the summer camp activities.
As the project is currently on-going, empirical data concerning the effectiveness of the approach is not available. Rather, this paper focuses on some of the lessons-learned by the project team during the development of the materials for the workshop. The paper first presents the framework for the project and how its methodologies are grounded in the research literature. Next, the paper discusses some of the innovative materials and content developed with particular emphasis on efforts made to tie the content to curriculum standards and everyday high school classroom realities. As the project leadership involves a diverse multi-disciplinary team of faculty from the College of Engineering, College of Education, and College of Arts and Sciences as well as high school teachers and guidance counselors, the paper also discusses some of the benefits (and challenges) associated in bringing such a diverse team together. Finally, the paper concludes by highlighting the future direction of the research and project.
The Challenge: Bridging the Engineering Awareness Gap
According to Thomas L. Friedman, in The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century, America now imports foreigners to do the scientific work that its citizens no longer want to do or
Gehrig, B., & Abrams, L., & Bosley, D., & Conrad, J., & Kuyath, S., & Denney, D., & Teague, K., & Welch, B. (2007, June), Expanding Engineering Diversity By Teaching Engineering To Counselors And Teachers Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1795
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