Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Pre-College Engineering Education
This Work in Progress paper discusses the implementation and evolution of the Bioengineering Experience for Science Teachers (BEST) summer program. This program is a joint offering between the College of Engineering and College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago that provides a research experience in a bioengineering lab as well as mentored instruction in curriculum development in order to translate the summer experience to the classroom. The BEST program was developed to provide an authentic engineering research experience for teachers while also providing pedagogical support to contextualize and incorporate the experience into curricular lesson plans. BEST is a paid 6-week professional development program led by faculty in the Department of Bioengineering and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. The competitive application process is limited to Chicago Public High School science and mathematics teachers, focusing on educators in one of the largest urban school districts in the country teaching in neighborhood schools, specialized “magnet” schools, selective enrollment schools, military and career academies, and charter schools. Selection of up to eight teachers is based on the quality of the application, a letter of recommendation, from schools serving a diversity of geographic, racial, ethnic and socio-economic students. Applicants rank research labs according to preference, and selected teachers are matched to labs based on preference and alignment to courses they teach. For the duration of the summer program, teachers spend 80% of the time (four days per week) in an engineering research lab and 20% (one day per week) together as a cohort to develop individual curriculum modules relating the research in which they’ve participated to their Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-aligned course outcomes. An important focus of the standards is that teaching of scientific and engineering core content is integrated with teaching the practices of scientists and engineers, but the complex changes inherent with creating curriculum aligned to newly adopted standards have been a challenge for science teachers across the United States. The BEST program provides teachers an experiential opportunity for professional development in engineering practice as well as developing curricula based on these guidelines. The design and assessment of the BEST program was guided by Desimone’s Core Conceptual Framework for assessing the impact of professional development. Preliminary results from the 2019 BEST program indicate positive experiences in the program and an increase in content knowledge and pedagogical skills. These outcomes were facilitated by background research, collaboration, and ongoing feedback, but challenges were associated with the steep learning curve of unfamiliar content, use of engineering software, and adapting to the research environment.
Kotche, M., & Olson, J. D., & Collins, D. (2020, June), WIP: Building the Bioengineering Experience for Science Teachers (BEST) Program Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35526
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