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Practicing K 12 Teachers In A Graduate Engineering Course

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Innovations in Freshman Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.928.1 - 7.928.8



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Paper Authors

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Melinda Gallagher

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Lawrence Genalo

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Session 3553

Practicing Teachers in a Graduate Engineering Course

Lawrence J. Genalo and Melinda Gallagher Iowa State University


The National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century stated that “Better mathematics and science teaching is therefore grounded, first of all, in improving the quality of teacher preparation and in making continuing professional education available for all teachers 1.”

The "constructivist" paradigm 2,3 asserts that learning occurs through a process in which the student plays an active role in constructing the set of conceptual structures that constitute his or her own knowledge base. Some specific examples of the successful application of technology grounded in constructivist theory are evident in projects in the Carter Lawrence School (Tennessee), Clearview Elementary School (California), Ralph Bunche School (New York) and the Apple Classroom of Tomorrow (ACOT) studies.

At Iowa State University engineering faculty have worked collaboratively with teacher education faculty since 1996 to offer an undergraduate course entitled Toying with TechnologySM to elementary and secondary education majors4,5,6. This course, which employs the constructivist method and seeks to improve teacher preparation, began with 15 preservice teachers in the first semester and has grown to about 100 preservice teachers per year in the undergraduate course and 20 inservice teachers in the graduate course. In addition about 1000 K-12 students per year experience a one to two hour workshop and others, who are in classes taught by teachers who have been in these courses in previous years, get a longer, more in-depth experience. The Toying With TechnologySM Program maintains a web site at This technology literacy course provides students with an appreciation for the technological innovations that surround them. Studies have shown that students form many of their overall career and educational attitudes as early as elementary school7. Elementary (and even secondary) schoolteachers who have an appreciation for technology will likely convey that appreciation to their students. This will, in turn, broaden the horizons of these students regarding the opportunities they may have regarding careers in scientific and engineering disciplines.

The Graduate Summer Class:

For the past two summers (2002 will be the third) a similar course has been offered to practicing teachers for graduate credit. This graduate course is designed to explain the principles behind many of the technological innovations in wide use today. The students simulate garage door openers, remote controllers, elevators, and other devices. This is done through a collection of hands-on laboratory experiences based upon simple systems

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Gallagher, M., & Genalo, L. (2002, June), Practicing K 12 Teachers In A Graduate Engineering Course Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10926

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