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Using Ethnography to Enhance Elementary Teachers' Readiness to Teach Engineering

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37991

Download Count

46

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Paper Authors

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Rebekah J. Hammack Montana State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-8621-1006

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Rebekah Hammack is an Assistant Professor of K-8 Science Education at Montana State University. Prior to joining the faculty at MSU, she served as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow in the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings at the National Science Foundation. She holds a BS in Animal Science from The Ohio State University, a MS in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University, and a PhD in Science Education from Oklahoma State University. She spent 12 years teaching secondary science and engineering in Oklahoma, and is a 2014 recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

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biography

Nick Lux Montana State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7434-0660

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Dr. Nicholas Lux has is an Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction in MSU’s Department of Education. His teaching and research interests are in the area of educational technology.  He has worked in the fields of K-12 and higher education for 18 years, and currently teaches in the Montana State University Teacher Education Program. He has experience in educational technology theory and practice in K-12 contexts and teacher education, with a focus on STEM teaching and learning, technology integration, online course design and delivery, program evaluation, and assessment. Dr. Lux’s current research agenda is STEM teaching and learning in K-12 contexts, technology integration in teacher preparation and K-12 contexts, educational gaming design and integration, and new technologies for teaching and learning.

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Paul Gannon Montana State University

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Professor, Chemical Engineering
Associate Director, Montana Engineering Education Research Center

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Brock J. LaMeres Montana State University

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Dr. Brock J. LaMeres is a Professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Montana State University (MSU) and the Director of the Montana Engineering Education Research Center (MEERC). LaMeres is also the Boeing Professor at MSU where he is responsible for initiatives to improve the professional skills of engineering graduates. LaMeres teaches and conducts research in the area of computer engineering. LaMeres is currently studying the effectiveness of online delivery of engineering content with emphasis on how the material can be modified to provide a personalized learning experience. LaMeres is also researching strategies to improve student engagement and how they can be used to improve diversity within engineering. LaMeres received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has published over 90 manuscripts and 5 textbooks in the area of digital systems and engineering education. LaMeres has also been granted 13 US patents in the area of digital signal propagation. LaMeres is a member of ASEE, a Senior Member of IEEE, and a registered Professional Engineer in the States of Montana and Colorado. Prior to joining the MSU faculty, LaMeres worked as an R&D engineer for Agilent Technologies in Colorado Springs, CO where he designed electronic test equipment.

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Abstract

This abstract presents an overview of and initial research findings from the summer professional development work conducted as part of a National Science Foundation Research in the Formation of Engineers project. The overall goal of the project is to increase awareness and preparedness of rural and indigenous youth to pursue engineering and engineering related careers. To reach this goal, we are working with elementary pre and in-service teachers in rural and reservation communities to connect local funds of knowledge with classroom curriculum. More specifically, the first phase is on training participating teachers, whereas the second phase will be on supporting their implementation of the engineering curricula. The first summer professional development focused on two items: (1) training elementary teachers and pre-service teachers in ethnographic methods and photo journal elicitation, and (2) introducing teachers to different ways to integrate engineering instruction into their teaching. Summer professional development was presented in a blended manner, consisting of asynchronous Google Classroom work and synchronous Webex meetings. The Google Classroom work included modules on ethnography, qualitative coding, and an introduction to an open-source STEM unit combining technology, engineering, and science. During the ethnography module, teachers completed a book study of Ethnographic Eyes: A Teacher’s Guide to Classroom Observation, by Carolyn Frank, completed a neighborhood walk of the community where they taught, and practiced ethnographic notetaking while watching videos of elementary classrooms engaged in engineering activities. As part of the qualitative coding module, teachers were introduced to an Adobe Spark photo journal prompt that the research team had previously developed and piloted. The prompt was designed to identify what participants viewed as examples of engineering in their communities. Teachers were given example Adobe Spark photo projects, as well as an a priori codebook, and went through a series of guided and individual coding exercises. The goal of the activities was to prepare teachers to code their students’ photo journal prompts to gain a better understanding of how those students view engineering around them. The final module provided teachers with an exploration of a developmentally-appropriate STEM unit that served as an example of how to infuse engineering and technology into commonly taught science curriculum. After engaging in the summer professional development, the teachers worked on fall implementation plans for their individual classrooms. For this first phase of the larger study, multiple pieces of data were collected from participants, including surveys, written Google Classroom assignments, reflections, and implementation plans. All synchronous sessions were video recorded and transcribed for qualitative data analysis, which is currently underway to answer the following research questions: (1) How can engaging in ethnographic practices support teachers’ readiness to teach engineering that is situated within locally relevant contexts? and (2) How can engaging in the photo journal process support teachers’ readiness to identify locally relevant engineering contexts that can be support their engineering teaching? The full paper will present a detailed overview of the summer professional development and results of initial data analysis.

Hammack, R. J., & Lux, N., & Gannon, P., & LaMeres, B. J. (2021, July), Using Ethnography to Enhance Elementary Teachers' Readiness to Teach Engineering Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37991

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