June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
23.838.1 - 23.838.21
Elementary Teachers’ Evaluations of Professional Development in Engineering (research-to-practice)Bringing engineering into elementary-level classrooms is desirable because it opens a window ofopportunity not only to learn about engineering but also to reinforce STEM learning1. However,elementary teachers, as well as students, know little about engineering due to a lack of formalinstruction2. Thus, teacher professional development (TPD) in engineering is essential to enrichteachers’ pedagogical content knowledge and to improve their teaching practices, so they can besuccessful at teaching engineering3. When TPD is provided, however, there has rarely beenresearch to investigate teachers’ evaluations of their engineering TPD. Thus, this study examinesteachers’ feedback on engineering TPD by utilizing post-TPD survey data.An institute established by a midwestern university has offered one-week engineering TPD forelementary teachers since 2006. Following each TPD week, the institute administered a survey toinvestigate the impact of the program on teachers. The research questions for this study are: (a)what are the most important things teachers learn from the engineering TPD?; (b) which aspectsof the engineering TPD motivate teachers?; (c) what are teachers’ plans to integrate engineeringinto their instruction?; and (d) what are teachers’ suggestions to improve engineering TPD?From 2008 to 2011, 302 elementary teachers, who received engineering TPD for the first time,responded to the survey consisting of ten 5-point Likert-type questions and seven open-endedquestions. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses confirmed that the Likert-type questionsindicate two latent constructs (Overall satisfaction with the engineering TPD and EngineeringTPD effect on teachers’ instructional strategy) which quantify teachers’ perceptions regardingthe engineering TPD. To analyze the seven open-ended questions, an inductive approach wastaken to examine teachers’ qualitative evaluations of the engineering TPD4. Two researcherscoded the teachers’ raw responses to the open-ended questions, which inquired about teacher’splans for future classroom instruction, their motivations, and suggestions for improving theengineering TPD.The preliminary results using the ten-Likert type questions show that, overall, teachers weresatisfied with the engineering TPD program. They rated the program Good (N = 302, M = 4.26,SD = 0.73) with indications of meaningful and motivating learning compared to other TPDprograms. Regarding the effect on teachers’ instructional strategies, teachers rated the programGood (N = 301, M = 4.34, SD = 0.94), meaning that the engineering TPD contributed to theirgrowth in using new instructional strategies with confidence.Fourteen themes concerning teachers’ learning were identified from the qualitative data.Teachers highly valued learning about the engineering design process, engineering andtechnology, and integration of engineering. The data suggests that teachers would like to teachengineering and technology and integrate engineering activities into their classroom. Teachers’responses also indicated that they will motivate their students to learn about engineering anddevelop students’ thinking and problem solving abilities through engineering activities. Whileteachers’ engineering experience is limited to the program offered by the institute, we expect theresults reveal the effect of the engineering TPD from the teachers’ point of view.Bibliography1. Katehi, L., Pearson, G., & Feder, M. (Eds.). (2009). Engineering in K-12 education: Understanding the status and improving the prospects (Committee on K-12 Engineering Education, National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council). Washington, DC: National Academies Press.2. Author, et al. (2011). Journal of Engineering Education.3. Darling-Hammond, L. (1996). The quiet revolution: Rethinking teacher development. Educational Leadership, 53, 4-11.4. Thomas, D. R. (2006). A general inductive approach for analyzing qualitative evaluation data. American Journal of Evaluation, 27, 237-246.
Yoon, S. Y., & Kong, Y., & Diefes-Dux, H. A., & Strobel, J. (2013, June), K-8 Teachers’ Responses to Their First Professional Development Experience in Engineering Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19852
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