June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
12.1354.1 - 12.1354.7
mathematics and science, and how this knowledge base can easily strengthen all of the “traditional” lessons typically used by teachers in other elementary schools in our district.
With this background in mind, how do you get elementary school teachers to teach their students engineering concepts integrated throughout their curriculum in a developmentally appropriate way? The success of Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Elementary School Center for Mathematics and Engineering Program, Pinellas County, FL, is largely built upon the track we took in answering this question. Over three years ago as we began to build an engineering program for our brand new school, we knew that teacher professional development would be the key to our success. At that time, there were a few model options. Although a “turn-key” curriculum was not available, there were some commercial products that did provide an engineering element for elementary education. Such packages have the attractive component that “training” would be provided by the vender and the classroom materials were provided. We examined this approach and concluded that the product versatility was limited and the training provided would not generate the depth and breadth we needed for the content integration we desired.
We also elected not to base our professional development on the NSF G-K12 program resources. Although the excellent examples from this program as presented at ASEE conferences do provide curriculum content and professional development related to that specific engineering context, they do not meet our universal needs nor do they strengthen the faculty as an integrated teaching unit. Ultimately, we decided that our overall expectations for our curriculum place an overall demand on our faculty. This requires a continuous improvement approach that would give a substantial number of teachers, our core collection of teachers across all grade levels, the confidence to implement our lessons and guide new teachers as well.
As an initial step in the creation of our professional development plan, we determined the resources that would or could be available. Fortunately, the Tampa Bay region of Florida has two engineering and technical educational resources, the College of Engineering at the University of South Florida, and Florida’s NSF supported Regional Center for Advanced Technological Education (FL-ATE) that could and did provide important guidance and assistance. In addition, the Pinellas County School District provided the resources and flexibility for us to develop Professional Learning Communities at each grade level. The MSAP grant supported intensive short courses for our teachers at the beginning and end of the school year. Finally, the school district helped us optimize our learning time and energy by allowing us to focus all of our professional development activities on our needs while simultaneously meeting most of the general professional development requirements imposed on teachers in the district.
Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Elementary School’s Professional Development Plan
The Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Elementary School blend of these resources has lead to a professional development plan for our teachers that has three operational levels; the formal educational level, the “just-in time” educational level and the professional learning community level. In our formal educational level, we have partnered with the College of Engineering to develop a series of three graduate level courses designed for our teachers. Although enrollment
Barger, M., & Gilbert, R., & Little, R., & Parsons, C., & Parsons, K., & Van Driessche, P., & O'Hare, D. (2007, June), Teaching Elementary School Teachers Basic Engineerng Concepts Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2623
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