June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
This paper provides a view of 22 K12 teachers' expectations versus the actuality of immersion into an engineering education computer science (CS) project during a Math/Science Partnership (MSP) grant called RAMPED, which was a 16-day, yearlong MSP grant. The CS session using NetLogo was selected for focused examination. NetLogo is a multi-agent simulator that uses the educational Logo programming language and was designed for classroom modeling experience. The research question for the study was, "How do K12 teachers view their skill set of using computer science in their classrooms before, during, and after professional development (PD)?" RAMPED participants spent a total of three days immersed in using NetLogo as a vehicle for learning fundamental computer science principles and engineering applications for K12 classrooms. The authors used a social constructivism approach and examined K12 teacher NetLogo usage in and out of the classroom. The authors also collected the data via K12 teacher surveys and informal interviews. Findings show that the teachers self-reported high expectations of their skillset as well as easy assimilation of NetLogo (but not CS) into their classroom teaching. On a scale from 0 to 5, where 0 is not at all skillful and 5 is extremely skillful, survey pretest results show over 50% at a 3, 4, or 5. Posttest survey results show over 90% at a 3, 4, or 5. After the summer session, NetLogo was useful to 95% of K12 teachers. After an academic year NetLogo follow-up session over 75% of the K12 teachers were satisfied with instruction and support. Over 85% of teachers believed that the workshop "stretched teacher thinking into their classrooms.” Teachers’ qualitative comments are included for triangulation. Conclusions include that intense K12 teacher exposure to engineering CS topics (e.g. 24 hours total of a larger PD) is not enough to truly enact meaningful classroom changes (although the teachers did create new activities). Additional support for meaningful classroom change and K12 teacher confidence is necessary. In general, K12 teachers need (and asked for) support in the form of ready to use lessons and documents (e.g. additional activities) along with leader presence to support them in trying their self-created plans situated within the NGSS standards. The actuality of working with NetLogo (and changing functions and code) to present STEM concepts/topics was both invigorating (it was new for the K12 teachers) and frustrating (it was often hard for the K12 teachers to see connections to content) as teachers moved through expectations and actuality. Implications include planning for structured K12 teacher academic year support in implementing CS topics for sustainability in classrooms.
Burrows, A. C., & Borowczak, M. (2017, June), Teaching Teachers to Think Like Engineers Using NetLogo Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28926
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