San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
25.1453.1 - 25.1453.11
Utilizing Project-Based Multidisciplinary Design Activities to Enhance STEM Education AbstractThis paper discusses the use of project-based interdisciplinary design activities to enhance theSTEM education in City Tech’s School of Technology and Design. STEM education has been akey in producing qualified individuals to work in today’s fast paced, highly competitive companies.Unfortunately, the supply of qualified workforce has been reduced due to the steady drop ofenrollment of college and high school students in STEM related fields for the past twenty years. Totackle the dwindling enrollment of STEM students and low quality of STEM graduates, in a reportsubmitted to Congress in 2007, the National Science Board suggested that measures be taken sothat all students can develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what wasconsidered acceptable in the past with an increased emphasis on technology and engineering at alllevels in the Nation’s education system. The Board gave two priority recommendations: (1) EnsureCoherence in Nation’s STEM Education System; (2) Ensure that Students Are Taught by Well-Prepared and Highly Effective STEM Teachers.There is a need to change the perception of STEM education. STEM education cannot be viewed asteaching four unrelated subject matters. STEM education should be treated as an integral education.Mathematics, science, technology and engineering are taught in classes in hope that students willuse these subjects simultaneously to make new discoveries, to explore new ideas, to make newproducts and to provide better services. As such, more project-based activities, that enable studentsto apply the knowledge and skills they learn from STEM courses should be implemented intocurriculums. Practical hands-on learning-by-doing activities go hand-in-hand with STEMeducation. They complement each other. If a person does not have a good STEM knowledge, it isdifficult for him/or her to become a competent innovator and designer. However, if a persondemonstrates excellent STEM knowledge on exams, it does not mean this individual can be acompetent designer or engineer overnight. Any successful designer or engineer would agree that ittakes many years of experience and setbacks for him or her to reach that level.A top-down “reverse engineering approach” is used to tie design activities to various elements inSTEM. Currently, most traditional STEM projects aimed at improving the STEM educationaddress only one or two elements of STEM education and lack suitable activities to keep studentsengaged. Project-based design activities have proven to be very effective in attracting andmotivating young people to study. The top-down learning-by-doing approach gives students asense of accomplishment at each stage of their course work. That in turn, will inspire the studentsto continuously engage and focus on the STEM subject matter. Faculty members from multipleengineering technology departments are involved to address the multidisciplinary natures of theproject and to develop teaching materials to improve STEM education as a whole. Rubrics toassess the effectiveness of the practice on student’s learning will be developed and compared withexisting ABET’s program criteria in technology education.
Zhang, A. S., & Zia, F., & Heng, I. H., & Berri, S. (2012, June), Utilizing Project-based Multidisciplinary Design Activities to Enhance STEM Education Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/22210
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