Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Community Engagement Division
This research explored the types of benefits that undergraduate students derive from engaging in outreach activities with K-12 students. The research was conducted post hoc, using transcripts from longitudinal interviews with 34 undergraduate students attending 5 different institutions. The transcripts were analyzed using emergent thematic coding, as well as looking specifically for evidence related to the four criteria for effective learning from Dewey (generate interest, worthwhile intrinsically, awaken need to learn, and extended time span). When asked what they were doing outside of class and school work, fifteen students shared their experiences participating in activities with K-12 students. For example, one female student participated in significant outreach activities for three years through various co-curricular and extracurricular groups such as the Society of Women Engineers and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. Two other women were paid to facilitate engineering activities in K-12 classrooms during all four years of their undergraduate experience, thus meeting Dewey’s time span criteria. Themes that emerged from students’ descriptions of their K-12 outreach experiences included how fun it was, a good break from the stress of classes and studying; this aligns with Dewey’s criteria of generating interest. This balance and reconnecting with the fun of engineering might help students persist in their engineering studies. The teaching aspects of these programs may solidify engineering concepts for the undergraduates. A number of the students also discussed the idea of giving back and serving as a role model for kids, aligning with Dewey’s criteria of being worthwhile intrinsically. A few students discussed issues related to social justice, implying the K-12 experience influenced their social responsibility attitudes. Other attitude impacts and a sense of community were also described. The specific outcomes for college students likely vary with different types of K-12 engagement. Based on this work, we believe Dewey’s model would be useful for faculty and staff designing K-12 outreach programs who wish to optimize the beneficial learning outcomes for college students.
Bielefeldt, A. R., & Rulifson, G. (2020, June), Undergraduate Students Benefits from Involvement in K-12 Outreach Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35415
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