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K-12 Teachers as Curriculum Designers in Engineering Professional Development

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Research to Practice: STRAND 4 K-12 Engineering Resources: Best Practices in Curriculum Design (Part 2)

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1050.1 - 26.1050.26



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Paper Authors


Ayora Berry Boston University

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Ayora Berry is a doctoral student of curriculum & teaching at Boston University. He received a B.S. from the University of Massachusetts, a B.A. from Portland State University, and a Master’s in Teaching from Boston University. His current research focus is on engineering education, teacher professional development, and curriculum development.

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Don DeRosa Boston University

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Donald A. DeRosa is a Clinical Associate Professor of Science Education at Boston University where he teaches science teaching methods for pre-service and in-service teachers. He is the director of CityLab, a biotechnology learning laboratory for K12 students and teachers at Boston University School of Medicine and a former high school science teacher. He co-authors Teaching Children Science: a Discovery Approach written as a textbook for pre-service elementary science teachers.

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K-12 TEACHERS AS CURRICULUM DESIGNERS IN ENGINEEERING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (RTP, Strand 4)This study investigates the effects of a curriculum design-based (CDB) professional developmentmodel on teacher attitudes and knowledge in K-12 engineering education. This model differsfrom other approaches to engineering professional development where teachers learn how to usea standard curriculum and adopt it in their classroom. In a CDB professional development modelteachers actively design lessons, student resources, and assessments for their classroominstruction. In other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, CDBprofessional development has been reported to (a) position teachers as architects of change, (b)provide a professional learning vehicle for educators to reflect on practices and develop contentknowledge, (c) give teachers a sense of ownership in curriculum decision-making, and (d) use aninstructional approach that is coherent with teachers’ interest and professional goals.Research and current trends in education identify a need to prepare teachers to design and useengineering curricula. Specifically, the Next Generation Science Standards include engineeringas a core subject-area; teachers are not adequately prepared to teach engineering; there is apaucity of engineering curricula in the K-12 community; and research on how people learnidentifies engineering instruction as an effective method to engage students in interdisciplinary,real world tasks. This study evaluates the effects of a CDB professional development program ontwenty-six K-12 teachers who participated in 62 hours of professional development over a 6month period. Participants learned about industry and education engineering concepts, testedengineering curricula, collaborated with K-12 educators and industry professionals, anddeveloped project-based engineering curriculum. Data was collected pre-, mid-, and post-program using teacher surveys and a curriculum evaluation instrument. Study results indicatepositive teacher reactions to the program, significant increases in teachers’ self-efficacy toincorporate engineering in their curriculum development, and analysis of teachers’ curriculumindicates alignment with NGSS practices and engineering core disciplinary ideas. Implicationsand directions for further research are discussed.

Berry, A., & DeRosa, D. (2015, June), K-12 Teachers as Curriculum Designers in Engineering Professional Development Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24387

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