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Making Engineering Real: Elementary Teachers’ Virtual Engineering Instruction

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Jennifer Maeng

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Jennifer Maeng is a Research Associate Professor in STEM Education at the University of Virginia.

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Amanda Gonczi

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Robert Handler

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Hamid Nadir University of Virginia

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Whitney McCoy

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National and state science standards emphasize student understanding of and engagement in engineering. However, many teachers do not have robust understandings of engineering and their students may not have opportunities to engage in engineering. The COVID-19 Pandemic has likely further decreased opportunities for elementary students to engage in engineering as their teachers grappled with reduced contact time, integration of new technologies and pedagogical approaches, and remote/virtual learning. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to describe how an elementary teacher attended to engineering instruction during virtual learning despite the barriers presented by the pandemic. Aleshia was purposefully selected from a larger sample of 22 grade K-6 teachers because she included engineering in her virtual instruction. Data sources, including interviews, surveys, observations, and lesson artifacts were analyzed using an inductive approach in which the teacher’s data corpus was holistically analyzed and interpreted to make meaning and answer the research question (Merriam, 1998). Aleshia’s case demonstrates how an elementary teacher leveraged the affordances of digital technology to engage students in engineering design tasks despite the barriers presented by the pandemic. Aleshia’s high baseline confidence and beliefs about technology integration may explain why she was able to implement technology-enhanced engineering instruction during virtual instruction. The results have implications for the design and development of PD to support engineering integration into elementary science teaching and the importance of developing elementary teachers’ confidence integrating technology into instruction. Ultimately, Aleshia’s case demonstrates the resilience, resourcefulness, and creativity of an elementary teacher integrating engineering instruction during the COVID-19 Pandemic when supported through PD initiatives that include a coaching component.

Maeng, J., & Gonczi, A., & Handler, R., & Nadir, H., & McCoy, W. (2022, August), Making Engineering Real: Elementary Teachers’ Virtual Engineering Instruction Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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