Crystal City, Virginia
April 29, 2018
April 29, 2018
May 2, 2018
Diversity and Pre K-12 Education
To increase the participation of student populations historically underrepresented in engineering, schools, museums, after-school programs, and other organizations are implementing innovative engineering activities to tackle issues of access, representation, and exposure. These engineering activities vary from single-day to multi-week units implemented in both formal and informal settings. Many of these activities ask students to design and build something. However, in many cases, there is little to no meaningful, relevant context for students to authentically engage in problem scoping. In these cases, students are not asked to situate their solution in a context or learn more about that context to succeed. As a result, educators focus on the building and constructing aspects of engineering. Unfortunately, this may result in reinforcement of negative stereotypes of engineering, a narrow view of the engineering discipline, and increased disengagement due to lack of alignment with student interests.
In this paper, we summarize research findings that help us understand student interests as well as the different problem solving and design skills students might develop through pre-college engineering experiences. We then describe examples of activities that we have used that connect with students’ interests and help students develop design skills. Finally, we provide an example of an existing activity that we have modified to add an engaging and relevant context. We expect this paper to contribute practical teaching strategies that educators can use in formal and informal learning environments to introduce engineering with an emphasis on the social connections of the discipline with society.
Maxey, K. R., & Leeker, J. R., & Cardella, M. E., & Hynes, M. M. (2018, April), Integrating Social Context in Engineering Experiences to Promote Interests of Diverse Learners Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://strategy.asee.org/29549
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