June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
15.667.1 - 15.667.16
Impact of a University-School Division Partnership on Professional Development of Graduate Students
This paper documents the development, implementation efforts, and results of SUNRISE (Schools, University ‘N’ (and) Resources In the Sciences and Engineering-A National Science Foundation (NSF)/George Mason University (GMU) GK-12 Fellows Project), a unique graduate Fellowship program at GMU that targets graduate students working in the grade 4-6 school environment. SUNRISE is a new GK-12 project aimed at partnering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) graduate students (fellows) with school teachers from three different school divisions in Northern Virginia. The project builds a unique model of collaboration among elementary and middle schools, school division administration, and GMU to foster systemic efforts in implementing Information Technology (IT) rich STEM content- knowledge into grades 4-6 education by graduate fellows, with the potential to enhance the delivery of science instruction and provide long term professional development for teachers. This is achieved by constructing a framework that provides training, exchange of information, and integration of scientific research from diverse STEM disciplines with teaching to make science exciting for students. Sponsored by NSF's GK-12 program, the GMU implementation serves as an exemplary model for the emerging trends in STEM education at the elementary school level. One of the objectives of this project is to provide professional development opportunities to fellows, particularly, communication and teaching skills. This paper presents project evaluation evidences (quantitative and qualitative) of the impact of the project on the professional development of its participants, particularly the graduate fellows. The data and the results indicate that the fellows significantly improved their communication skills, which include communicating their research to public including K-12 children, confidence in public speaking, and writing skills. The project serves as one source of evidence that demonstrates the importance and the process of building partnerships among university’s engineering/technology departments, schools of education, and the K-12 STEM education that would strengthen the nation’s educational enterprise.
Several reports indicate lack of proficient performance of America’s children in science and mathematics. The reports also indicated the need to give teachers the tools they need to enrich the learning opportunities for K-12 students in science and mathematics. Particularly, these tools include the professional development and training on content materials to the teachers. Below, we first summarize a few of the findings from these reports which motivate our educational research. Further, we provide details of our research and observations.
“Recent reports of the performance of America’s children and youth from both the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS, 19991 and 20042) and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, 20003) echo a dismal message of lackluster performance” 4. For example, TIMSS (2004 2) report “suggests that the performance of U.S. fourth-graders in both mathematics and science was lower in 2003 than in 1995 relative to the 14
Ganesan, R., & Henning, P., & Sterling, D. (2010, June), Impact Of A University School Division Partnership On Professional Development Of Graduate Students Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16903
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