June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Pre-College Engineering Education
The aim of both the NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) Program and the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) is to achieve transformative change by integrating engineering research and education with technological innovation within areas at the frontiers of science and engineering. ERC and NNCI sites across the nation study and innovate within their technical area using similar structures and implementation strategies that include the coordination of educational endeavors. These efforts are intended to support students, teachers, and postdoctoral scholars in research labs; provide educational outreach to engage the community; encourage the participation of underrepresented populations; and partner with industry to achieve their vision. One of the major challenges associated with these educational programs is evaluation; in particular obtaining, developing, and testing instruments and protocols that appropriately measure program impact. Representatives from three ERCs and one NNCI Network Node, in collaboration with their external evaluation teams, have partnered to address this challenge. The assembled consortium is uniquely situated to tackle this challenge because they are co-located at the same university. The consortium has taken advantage of their proximity by meeting regularly and working together to implement and assess the impact of their individual and joint educational efforts. This paper focuses on a joint effort by the consortium and a former Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) participant to provide and evaluate interactive activities offered to students during a recent field trip to the university. Prior to the trip, the former RET participant, graduate students, and faculty identified objectives for the activities that align with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). A comprehensive educational experience was provided to over 100 middle school students from racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse families with low socioeconomic backgrounds. External evaluators from the consortium used multiple methodological approaches for obtaining data to appropriately measure the outreach event impact. A questionnaire was provided to each student to assess student learning during each presentation. Feedback on student engagement was also collected after having participated in each activity. Follow-up delayed post-tests will be given to students to examine sustained knowledge and interest. The teacher will also be interviewed to provide his perspective on the extended enrichment field trip to the university. Data are currently being analyzed and will be presented in the proposed paper, along with lessons learned, and future evaluation plans.
Larson, J. S., & O'Donnell, M., & Barnard, W. M., & Cook-Davis, A., & Carberry, A. R., & Adams, S. B. (2019, June), Three ERCs and a National Network Node: Assessing Engineering Outcomes for Middle School Students Across a Joint Outreach Event Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/33439
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