June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.788.1 - 15.788.19
Intensive Immersive Research Experiences for Undergraduates and Teachers: Undertaking Creativity and Innovation, Diversity of Thinking, and Entrepreneurship
One objective of National Science Foundation efforts is the training of the future work force in scientific and technical fields. In summer 2009 research experiences for undergraduates (REUs) and teachers (RETs) were developed and implemented introducing participants to leading edge research currently underway. These experiences were intended in part to fulfill the mission to create a diverse pipeline of future practitioners and educators in the Biomaterials field.
The Research experiences for undergraduates and teachers were six weeks in duration and ran concurrently. K-14 teacher participants derived from middle schools and community colleges, and undergraduate participants came from both the lead home and partnering institutions. Each REU and RET was teamed with a research mentor (i.e., lead researcher) and an graduate student. REU and RET participants had primary research responsibilities which were carried out over a five-week period. In the remaining sixth week, participants rotated through each laboratory to gain familiarity with all research areas. In addition to scientific research; weekly technical programs, enrichment activities, and trips were conducted, the goals of which were to foster creativity and innovation, diversity in thinking, and entrepreneurship; and to broaden participant imagination in the area of Biomaterials.
RETs also participated in professional development sessions centered on classroom instruction and designed to help them translate their new scientific knowledge into a one-week inquiry-based teaching module. Modules were aligned with the state's K-12 Science Curriculum introducing K-12 students to the basic concepts of bioengineering. Additional module goals included increasing K-12 student 1) knowledge of math and science; 2) awareness of and appreciation for the field of engineering; 3) ability to link this knowledge to real-life experiences; and 4) capacity for scientific engagement in the classroom. RETs were able to implement a portion of the module with high school students at the end of the summer.
Entrance and exit interviews were performed to assess the impact of the intensive research experiences upon REU and RET understanding of the Biomaterials field and upon their ways of thinking about creativity and innovation, diversity of thinking, and entrepreneurship. Seven REUs and five RETs participated in the entrance interviews; five REUs and four RETs participated in the exit interviews. Survey questions were subdivided into five topics: bioengineering, diversity, innovation, entrepreneurship, impressions from the research experience, and short-/long-term career and academic goals. A sixth topic addressed participant individual learning goals, quantified on a goal attainment scale of -2 to +2 (M = 0). Parsimonious interpretation of assessment data suggests that REU/RET research activities netted gains in participant understanding of bioengineering, diversity of thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship, including a significant change in self-assessed proficiency levels relative to individual learning goals (t (.05, 6) = 2.9).
Dunn, D., & Liles, R., & Lee, C., & Watlington, S., & Lambeth, C., & Pai, D. (2010, June), Intensive Immersive Research Experiences For Undergraduates And Teachers: Undertaking Creativity And Innovation, Diversity Of Thinking, And Entrepreneurship Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16680
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