June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
NSF Grantees Poster Session
26.1258.1 - 26.1258.12
Studying & Supporting Productive Disciplinary Engagement in STEM Learning Environments – Year 2Research teams from four universities are currently studying productive disciplinary engagementin complex, realistic, and challenging science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)learning environments. Productive disciplinary engagement (PDE) occurs when learners use thediscourses and practices of the discipline in authentic tasks in order to “get somewhere” (developa product, improve a process, gain better understanding of a phenomenon) over time (Engle &Conant, 2002; Engle, 2012). Productive engagement in meaningful, authentic activity is essentialfor motivation and progress toward flexible, adaptive expertise in STEM, but learning systemsthat support it are complex. Such systems are usually studied and designed in single contexts(e.g., high school environmental science classrooms, engineering design projects), so theknowledge gained, though rich, is difficult to transfer to new settings. Researchers from Finland,Australia, and the US who study these systems in different curricular, institutional and culturalcontexts, we aim to identify unifying themes and develop generalizable understandings aboutsupporting engagement and learning in STEM. We focus on group settings designed as authenticcontexts, where students must integrate and flexibly apply concepts and practices.We use a variety of approaches, including ethnographic records of students and teachers inSTEM and engineering projects and controlled field experiments with in-depth process analysis.Our research questions across projects include: • What supports PDE in advanced, complex STEM learning environments? • How do patterns of engagement in complex STEM environments vary by level, discipline, and country? • How can findings from these collaborative analyses inform further design of complex STEM learning environments?This poster reports on the second year of the collaboration and our progress towards cross-project analysis and the development of generalizable findings. We are investigating howstudents set subtasks in complex projects, how they negotiate or co-regulate the activity of thegroup, and the role that material tools (e.g., data output in virtual labs, analytical scaffolds) andteacher interactions play in the tension between student authority and accountability. Discoursefrom group meetings allows analysis of how engagement unfolds in two dimensions(Schoolworld vs. the World of the Discipline), and task co-production vs. knowledge co-construction (Khosa & Volet, 2013).Contrasting engagement across sites has yielded richer understanding. For example, we havecompared group interaction data from engineering students in a complex virtual industrially-situated engineering task to interaction in veterinary school and high school collaborativelearning activities. In the veterinary and environmental science activities, a group's exclusivefocus on co-producing the activity artifact for Schoolworld comes at the expense of engaging inco-construction of knowledge. In engineering, however, co-production is central to thediscipline. For example, in the virtual lab task groups produce of a set of process parameters forhigh volume manufacturing. A focus on co-production here can indicate immersion inEngineering World (World of the Discipline). Thus, a distinction between types of co-productionis necessary. We have characterized different triggers that lead a group into or out of PDE andshare some similarities across disciplines and contexts, insights that should inform the design ofcomplex STEM environments to support PDE.ReferencesEngle, R. A., & Conant, F. R. (2002). Guiding principles for fostering productive disciplinary engagement: Explaining an emergent argument in a community of learners classroom. Cognition and Instruction, 20(4), 399-483. doi: 10.1207/s1532690xci2004_1Engle, R. A. (2012). The productive disciplinary engagement framework: Origins, key concepts, and developments. In D. Y. Dai (Ed.), Design research on learning and thinking in educational settings : Enhancing intellectual growth and functioning (pp. 161-200). New York: Routledge.Khosa, D.K. and Volet, S.E. (2013) Promoting effective collaborative case-based learning at university: A metacognitive intervention. Studies in Higher Education, 38 (6). pp. 870-889.
Koretsky, M., & Nolen, S. B., & Volet, S. E., & Vauras, M. M., & Friedrichsen, D. M., & Tierney, G. (2015, June), Productive Disciplinary Engagement in Complex STEM Learning Environments Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24595
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015