June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
15.764.1 - 15.764.14
Integrating Graduate Student Research into K-12 Classrooms: A GK-12 Fellows Project
In recent years, the importance of development of soft skills to the professional vitality of engineers has been recognized by, among others, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) via its criteria 2000.1—3 Thus, in order to satisfy the ABET 2000 criteria, many undergraduate engineering programs in the U.S. have pursued various curricular strategies to provide opportunities for developing such skills in their graduates.4—6 While the traditional academic preparation of graduate engineering students imparts to them a deep understanding of their disciplinary focus, formal efforts have rarely been devised to develop and enhance their soft skills. Yet, the marketplace demands graduate engineers who not only have the disciplinary expertise but can also communicate complex scientific and technical concepts effectively to a variety of stakeholders. For example, many graduate engineers are often called upon to educate others. While some may do this in a formal educational setting, many others do so informally, for example, to train co-workers or clients in the use of new devices or computer programs.
Using the model of National Science Foundation’s Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) Program, Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) is broadening the training and preparation of graduate engineering “Fellows” to allow them to become effective communicators and practitioners of their disciplines. Specifically, a summer workshop, conducted by a science education expert, introduces to Fellows fundamental concepts, tools, and strategies in teaching and learning so that they may develop effective teaching skills. Furthermore, the workshop develops Fellows’ skills as mentors and leaders, and in communication, teamwork, and creativity. During the academic year, under the supervision of a partner teacher, Fellows serve as engineers-in-residence in local area elementary, middle, and high schools. The project allows the Fellows to connect their research with societal needs, become stronger scientists and engineers, and in the process, help improve teaching of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses in K-12 environment.
This paper provides an overview of the program’s structure and activities. In addition, illustrative examples of Fellows’ research and its classroom integration are given. Early results of project’s impacts on three key constituencies, viz., Fellows, students, and teachers, are also included.
Kapila, V., & Iskander, M., & Kriftcher, N. (2010, June), Integrating Graduate Student Research Into K 12 Classrooms: A Gk 12 Fellows Project Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16007
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