June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
Pre-College Engineering Education
Out-of-School Time (OST) programming provides time and curricular flexibility for youth to explore engineering design. OST programs serve significant populations of youth underrepresented in engineering fields and may be able to reduce the opportunity gap for these youth. High-quality OST engineering curricula can enhance youth learning and engagement, and are important tools for OST educators. However, little is known about how educators implement curricula in OST settings. In order to understand the experiences of youth during engineering design activities, it is important to determine how these materials are being implemented.
Educators in OST settings come from a variety of backgrounds, with a range of teaching experiences and understandings of engineering. Local context, educator experience and knowledge, and personal and program goals are some factors that may influence educator decision making during implementation. Analyzing educator’s curricular implementation from both an integrity of implementation and an actor-oriented perspective illuminates both how educators’ implement curricula and why they make implementation decisions. Understanding these factors can influence the design of engineering curricula and professional development for OST educators.
As part of a multi-year planetary science focused engineering project, we conducted a needs assessment to identify the education backgrounds and demographics of OST STEM educators and OST program contexts. Curricula was developed concurrently. Enactment was then studied in OST settings. Development of professional development, which utilizes both the needs assessment and research findings, is currently underway.
In this study, we examined how educators used OST engineering curricula to support youth development. Our overarching question was: To what extent did educators implement the curriculum with integrity? This study of integrity of implementation shifts the focus from exact replication (fidelity), to implementation that meets the learning goals of the curricula and enables students to achieve intended outcomes. An actor-oriented perspective was also examined to determine how and why educators adapted the curriculum. Participants in the study were four educators and 53 participating youth in four OST settings across the US who engaged in one of two planetary science-focused engineering curriculum units, each consisting of eight one-hour activities. Methods for data collection included educator background surveys, videotaped observations of each activity, educator reflections completed after each activity, and educator interviews conducted at the end of the unit. Data related to integrity were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and data related to educator decision making were analyzed using inductive methods of qualitative analysis.
Findings identify that educators modified the curricula across dimensions of both structure and purpose. For example, one educator in a community youth program consistently shortened activity introductions and post-activity student reflection and writing because the educator felt students needed to be kept active and engaged in hands-on activities. The educator used coaching and questioning to support student understanding of the goals and learning outcomes of the activity. Our paper will provide findings as well as implications for curricular designers, educators, and PD providers as they further develop effective OST learning environments for youth.
Bloom, N. E., & Roberts, E., & Rubino-Hare, L., & Archer, H. N., & Cunningham, C. M., & Clark, J. (2019, June), How Educators Implement Engineering Curricula in OST Settings (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32894
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