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Studying In-service Teacher Professional Development on Purposeful Integration of Engineering into K-12 STEM Teaching (Research to Practice)

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Amanda M. Gunning Mercy College Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Amanda Gunning is an Associate Professor of Science Education at Mercy College where she teaches both content and methods courses for K-12 science and STEM teaching. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics , a Master of Arts in Secondary Science Education from City College and her doctoral work at Teachers College, Columbia University focused on Elementary Science Education. Gunning enjoys working with teachers and after six years teaching in public schools, she has been providing professional development for K-12 educators in science for more than ten years. While teaching, Gunning participated in a Research Experience for Teachers, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and hosted by Brooklyn Polytechnic University (now NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering) in electrical and mechanical engineering. This experience fueled her interest in coding and engineering and led to her to incorporate it meaningfully in science instruction and teacher education. Gunning is the PI of the NSF-funded STEM Master Teacher Fellowship and co-directs the Greater NY Wipro Science Education Fellowship. Both provide research-driven PD for K-12 science teacher fellows. Gunning presents her research on science teacher self-efficacy, vertical learning communities for teacher professional development and family STEM learning at international conferences every year since 2009 and is published. She is the Co-Director and Co-Founder of Mercy College's Center for STEM Education.

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Meghan E. Marrero Mercy College Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Meghan Marrero is a Professor of Secondary Education at Mercy College, where she also co-directs the Mercy College Center for STEM Education, which seeks to provide access to STEM experiences for teachers, students, and families. Dr. Marrero was a 2018 Fulbright Scholar to Ireland, during which she implemented a science and engineering program for young learners and their families in Dublin. Her research interests include ocean science education and STEM education for students and K-12 teachers.

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Kristen V. Larson Mercy College Orcid 16x16

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Kristen Larson is the Postdoctoral Researcher for the Center for STEM Education at Mercy College. Dr. Larson holds her Ed.D. in Science Education with a specialization in Teacher Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. At the Mercy College Center for STEM Education, Drs. Amanda Gunning, Meghan Marrero, and Kristen Larson work on STEM initiatives and professional development programs for pre- and in-service teachers. Kristen Larson proudly joined Drs. Gunning and Marrero after seven years of teaching 7th-12th grade life sciences in New Jersey. She joins their dedicated research on STEM teacher development and leadership. Dr. Larson continues to pursue research interests in assessments and accountability in STEM teacher education, identity and agency in STEM teacher development, and community-centered STEM curriculum and programs.

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Studying In-service Teacher Professional Development on Purposeful Integration of Engineering into K-12 STEM Teaching (Research to Practice)

Integrated STEM approaches in K-12 science and math instruction can be more engaging and meaningful for students and often meet the curriculum content and practice goals better than single-subject lessons. Engineering, as a key component of STEM education, offers hands-on, designed-based, problem solving activities to drive student interest and confidence in STEM overall. However, K-12 STEM teachers may not feel equipped to implement engineering practices and may even experience anxiety about trying them out in their classrooms without the added support of professional development and professional learning communities.

To address these concerns and support engineering integration, this research study examined the experiences of 18 teachers in one professional development program dedicated to STEM integration and engineering pedagogy for K-12 classrooms. This professional development program positioned the importance of the inclusion of engineering content and encouraged teachers to explore community-based, collaborative activities that identified and spoke to societal needs and social impacts through engineering integration. Data collected from two of the courses in this project, Enhancing Mathematics with STEM and Engineering in the K-12 Classroom, included participant reflections, focus groups, microteaching lesson plans, and field notes. Through a case study approach and grounded theory analysis, themes of self-efficacy, active learning supports, and social justice teaching emerged. The following discussion on teachers’ engineering and STEM self-efficacy, teachers’ integration of engineering to address societal needs and social impacts, and teachers’ development in engineering education through hands-on activities, provides better understanding of engineering education professional development for K-12 STEM teachers.

Key words: STEM integration, precollege engineering education, professional development, STEM teacher self-efficacy

Gunning, A. M., & Marrero, M. E., & Larson, K. V. (2021, July), Studying In-service Teacher Professional Development on Purposeful Integration of Engineering into K-12 STEM Teaching (Research to Practice) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37778

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