June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Increasing student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is a recurring theme among the research community. The goal of these efforts is to create the next generation of diverse STEM professionals. Similarly, reform efforts have also focused on improving the quality of STEM education. While students’ interests in engineering disciplines are shaped by a variety of factors, parents play a substantial role in enhancing children’s interest. It is critical to understand parents’ knowledge and awareness of the engineering concepts that will translate into their attitudes toward engineering. Parents’ attitudes have a direct impact on students’ attitudes toward engineering.
In this study, 32 middle-school student parents’ knowledge and awareness with regards to engineering and engineering concepts are examined. Specifically, parents’ knowledge of building automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) are explored. Data were collected at four different summer camps. In a three year long and NSF funded project, a research team of engineers and learning scientists designed four summer camps for middle grade students and implemented them in two different cities in Texas. At these camps, that each lasted one week, students planned, designed, and established a “Smart Home” by using 3D printers, computer-aided design (CAD) tools, and the IoT technologies. Parents were involved in the summer camp activities at different occasions. For example, parents brainstormed with their children and conducted research with them to complete the take-home assignments on engineering concepts and cutting edge technologies. Parents participated in the STEM Competition Night where the student groups presented their smart homes and their engineering designs.
To explore parents’ knowledge and awareness of the engineering concepts, the Parents’ Engineering Awareness Survey (PEAS) was administered to all parents who consented to participate. The PEAS survey included three constructs; engineering knowledge, attitudes toward engineering, and engineering behavior. The survey was a five-point Likert-scale instrument with twenty-five items. Eight items of the PEAS instrument focused on engineering knowledge. Ten items focused on attitudes toward engineering. Seven items focused on engineering behavior. This work reports the descriptive and inferential quantitative findings and meaningful correlations that emerged among the parents’ knowledge and awareness of engineering and their students’ summer camp learning experiences and outcomes. Because this study explores’ parents’ knowledge and awareness of engineering concepts, it is unique and has the potential to generate new questions in engineering education research.
Cevik, E., & Johnson, M., & Yalvac, B., & Kuttolamadom, M., & Whitfield, J., & Porter, J. R., & Morgan, J. A. (2019, June), Exploring Parents’ Knowledge and Awareness of Engineering through Middle School Students’ Summer Camps Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32809
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