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Inservice Teachers And The Engineering Design Process

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Inservice Teacher Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.772.1 - 10.772.24



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Paper Authors

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Erin Cejka

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Chris Rogers

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Inservice Teachers and the Engineering Design Process

Erin Cejka, Chris Rogers

Tufts University’s Center for Engineering Educational Outreach

Driven by its prestigious academic institutions, high-tech companies, and commitment to superior education, Massachusetts became the first state in the country to adopt technology/engineering standards as part of the state curriculum frameworks in 2001. This significant policy change has produced an increased need for professional development and teacher education efforts in engineering and technology. The overall lack of content knowledge and experience in engineering and technology among teachers, especially at the elementary level, will impact the ways these teachers address the frameworks in their classrooms. Previous research in this area has shown that perceptions about engineering and technology can change positively after preservice teachers took on their own design projects1. Little, however, is known about the design processes that teachers use in such projects. Additionally, there is a significant lack of research in this area regarding inservice teachers. Knowing more about these processes, as well as effective methods of supporting teachers during the learning process, will help to inform teacher education efforts.

This paper outlines a research project aimed at developing an understanding of the design process of inservice teachers. This project focuses on twelve Massachusetts teachers in grades 3 to 8 who participated in a professional development workshop in engineering design. Their learning process and concerns about implementing engineering design activities in the classroom are studied through analysis of video taped design sessions and survey data. Directions for further research in this area, as well as preliminary conclusions to inform teacher education, are presented.

Literature Review

Though the benefits of engineering design in the classroom have been theorized and championed, actually including design in the everyday classroom provides many challenges that teachers, administrators, and those involved with professional development must address. For professional development to be effective, it must address the teachers’ concerns and help them to become comfortable implementing engineering design activities in the classroom. Ultimately, the goal of any teacher education program is create a classroom change to improve the learning environment for the students. To do this, professional development in engineering needs to enhance teachers’ content knowledge, discuss conceptions of engineering (held by students and adults alike), and delve into constructionist pedagogy.

The Engineering Design Process

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Cejka, E., & Rogers, C. (2005, June), Inservice Teachers And The Engineering Design Process Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14552

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