New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
Engineering education in the K-12 setting has received increasing attention as part of a broader initiative to improve the quality of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in elementary and secondary schools. Due to the endorsements of national organizations, such as the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the Board on Science Education at the Center for Education (among others), engineering instruction has been deemed essential for the development of technological and scientific literacy in K-12 students (NAE & NRC, 2009). Nevertheless, many questions remain on how to best implement engineering concepts into the pre-college classroom instruction. While standards for K-12 engineering education have been produced, as well as, the creation of outreach programs and curricula, little research has been done to consider students’ perspective in establishing engineering instructional activities.
The Committee on K-12 Engineering Education (NAE & NRC, 2009) recommend that K-12 engineering education accentuate the engineering design process (EDP) for exposing pre-college students to engineering content. The report highlights specific aspects of the EDP that are beneficial for K-12 engineering education, to which we add the ability for students’ to integrate their individual interests into their learning experience and engineering practice. The EDP allows for multiple solutions to various problems, formed by diverse perspectives; additionally, it provides opportunity for students to acquire deep understandings of the material as they actively participate in the activities.
The data and analysis in this paper is an early stage of a progressing project aimed at developing an interests-based framework for K-12 engineering education. The overall project seeks to emphasize the humanistic aspects of engineering (e.g. “soft skills”) along with utilizing intrinsically motivating activities for exposing students from underrepresented groups to engineering. This research situates Krapp, Hidi, and Renninger (1992) work on interest and motivation in the context of engineering education. Furthermore, (Author et. al, 2014) assert considerations for the social sciences and humanities knowledge necessary for competent engineers. We apply these frameworks as we explore the interests of 28 students, some of whom have participated in engineering focused programs and activities.
The participants in this study consist of students ranging from elementary to high school, and from both majority and underrepresented minority groups. The students took part in semi-structured interviews that were recorded and then transcribed for analysis. These interviews surveyed students on their personal interests, favorite/least favorite school subjects, career aspirations, and understanding of the profession and knowledge of engineering. Analysis of the interview transcriptions reveal numerous themes of appeal in furthering this project. These themes include the diverse interests among students that expressed interest in engineering careers, the disconnect between students’ stated interests and their aspired career choices, and a commonly held narrow comprehension of engineers and engineering. These themes and others recognized by the researchers will be relayed in this paper.
Holly , J., & Joslyn, C. H., & Hira, A., & Hynes, M. M., & Beebe, C. (2016, June), What Do YOU Like to Do?: Exploring Pre-College Students' Career Aspirations and Perceptions of Engineering (Work in progress) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27189
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