March 24, 2021
March 24, 2021
March 26, 2021
During this faculty presentation, we will present the lessons learned from hosting and teaching in a virtual summer camp that used science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) project-based learning (PBL) as the primary instructional strategy. From its roots in constructivism and the project method of teaching by Kilpatrick (1918) and Dewey (1938), PBL has become an important pedagogy in today's active student-centered classrooms. Situated within the unique interdisciplinary perspective of STEM learning, STEM PBL engages students in collaborative problem solving and real-world learning experiences (Capraro & Slough, 2013; Clark & Ernst, 2007). In STEM PBL, students are given a problem scenario with criteria and constraints and explore creative solutions, eventually creating final products, or artifacts, that represent their chosen, researched, and tested solution to the problem.
We have been hosting summer camps with STEM PBL activities as the primary method for instruction for nearly a decade. However, in summer 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, our STEM education group offered a virtual STEM summer camp for middle and high school students. During this camp, 54 students across the country connected via the widely-used teleconferencing platform, Zoom. They attended multiple classes covering topics such as computer programming, physics, engineering design, and advanced mathematics.
For this presentation, we will examine the unique challenges faced by teachers and students in this online summer camp. The first challenge was ensuring that every student and teacher had sufficient technology and internet access to connect. We also had to ensure that the students were sent critical construction and laboratory materials and were given lists of suggested project materials that they could pick up at local stores. The students were engaged in the summer camp classes, presentations, and tours from morning until night; this presented its own challenges that required balancing engaging classes, well-earned breaks, and social activities. We will give examples of the classes and how we integrated educational technologies and provided materials to support STEM PBL in a unique setting.
Finally, we will conclude with tips for teachers who are looking to use STEM PBL in an online environment. It is our hope that this presentation will provide valuable information for teachers, researchers, and administrators considering the unique challenges involved in engaging students in active learning in online settings.
References Capraro, R. M., & Slough, S. W. (2013). Why PBL? Why STEM? Why now? An introduction to STEM project-based learning: An integrated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) approach. In R. M. Capraro, M. M. Capraro, & M. Morgan (Eds.), STEM project-based learning: An Integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Approach (pp. 1-5). Sense Publishers. Clark, A. C., & Ernst, J. V. (2006). A model for the integration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Technology and Engineering Teacher, 66(4), 24–26. Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. Macmillan. Kilpatrick, W. H. (1918). The project method. Teachers College Record. 19, 319–335.
Rugh, M. S., & Capraro, M. M., & Capraro, R. M. (2021, March), Teaching with STEM Project-Based Learning in a Virtual Summer Camp Paper presented at ASEE 2021 Gulf-Southwest Annual Conference, Waco, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/36408
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