June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
14.1204.1 - 14.1204.12
The Effect of a Teacher Professional Development Integrated Curriculum Workshop on Perceptions of Design, Engineering, and Technology Experiences Abstract
The goal of a professional development workshop on the use of DET activities in the classroom was to provide middle- and high-school level teachers (n=80) with the content knowledge and pedagogical skills to engage students in solving authentic, multi-disciplinary problems in a relevant context of sustainability engineering. Multi-disciplinary teams of teachers representing mathematics, science, language arts, social studies, and technology participated in a two-week summer workshop, follow-up sessions and an online professional learning community. Teacher teams experienced and developed cross-disciplinary, problem-based learning modules that correlated with state standards (e.g., design of a windmill). The teachers produced interdisciplinary engineering units that contained language art, social studies, technology, science and math content (this is a novel approach to professional development). Through various assessments, participants were encouraged to reflect on their own practice and use of DET activities to make effective choices regarding students’ learning. The purpose of this study was to understand teachers’ perceptions of the value and use of design, engineering, and technology (DET) activities in integrating science, mathematics, language arts, social studies, and technology in K-12 education.
The integrative and inquiry-oriented nature of design and engineering creates the perfect vehicle for application of math and science at the middle- and high-school level. Inquiry learning in science and mathematics requires students to do more than sit and watch the teacher. It requires them to combine both scientific processes with content knowledge—they must use scientific reasoning and critical thinking to develop their understanding.1 Students must apply multiple content areas such as mathematics, reading, writing, and speaking as they work through the many layers of an engineering activity. Students must be able to ask questions, make observations, design and conduct investigations, use appropriate technologies in order to gather and analyze data, utilize critical thinking skills, use evidence to develop explanations and predictions, and communicate this information to others.2
Engineering inquiries are designed to allow students to manipulate their environment in search of answers to questions they have. Students involved in real-life problem solving, inquiry-based activities develop strong and lasting conceptual understandings of fundamental scientific concepts.3,4 Using inquiry-oriented activities in the science classroom improves students’ attitudes toward science and scientists.5 To this end, teachers must be able to structure the kinds of powerful problems that will engage students in productive inquiry. They must, themselves, understand the content necessary and reasoning goals appropriate to the inquiry, and to be successful, they must be able to mediate student’s thinking and reasoning.
Many teachers, and consequently their students, lack such a comprehensive level of scientific and technological literacy. Nationally, recent calls to action6 strongly urge policymakers to
High, K., & Antonenko, P., & Damron, R., & Stansberry, S., & Hudson, G., & Dockers, J., & Peterson, A. (2009, June), The Effect Of A Teacher Professional Development Integrated Curriculum Workshop On Perceptions Of Design, Engineering, And Technology Experiences Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5520
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