June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
Recent state and national standards have increased interest in engineering at the K-12 level. Science standards, in particular, have begun to make the case for including engineering throughout the K-12 scope of study. Despite the increased attention to engineering, the characteristics and uniqueness of the field of engineering are not clearly defined. Current policies and curricula typically present engineering in a narrow way – primarily as design. Understanding the nature of engineering as a field is an important goal for K-12 engineering education. Helping students understand the nature of engineering will help them see the field from a broader perspective and has the potential to improve student engineering literacy. This area of engineering education is not often considered in engineering education. The goal of this research is to elucidate aspects of the nature of engineering that are appropriate to teach at the K-12 level. Experts in K-12 engineering education were invited to participate in a classic, three-round Delphi study. A total of 610 participants responded to notices posted on engineering education association email lists. These respondents were sorted into four groups: a) science teachers, b) engineering teachers, c) science education faculty, and d) engineering education faculty. From the 428 qualified respondents, a subset of 25 participants from each group were chosen randomly (for a total of 100) to participate in the survey. Of the 65 panel members who completed Round 1 of the survey, 60 also completed Rounds 2 and 3 for a retention rate of 92%. The participants identified eight aspects of the nature of engineering they believed were important to K-12 education. These aspects were proposed by participants in Round 1 in response to an open-ended question and refined through Rounds 2 and 3 using a Likert-type scale of importance. Participants identified the following aspects as important: Divergent, Creative, Iterative, Model-driven, Communicative, Constrained by Criteria, Collaborative, and A Unique Way of Knowing. The present investigation provides an empirical basis for important concepts of the nature of engineering at the K-12 level. This work is important to support development of policy, curriculum, instruction, and to provide a foundation for improved science education.
Hartman, B., & Bell, R. L. (2017, June), Teaching the Nature of Engineering in K-12 Science Education: A Delphi Study (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28927
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