Project to address how teachers learn engineering concepts
Written by TechPurdue // October 4, 2011 // Alumni & Friends, Business & Industry, Current Students, Faculty & Staff, K-12 Educators, Research, STEM Education, Technology Leadership and Innovation // No comments
(Photo: High school biology students test one component of their prototype for a small scale algae farm. By Deb Brockway)
Jenny Daugherty, assistant professor in the Department of Technology Leadership & Innovation (TLI), is helping Purdue fill in the gaps of teaching engineering design within secondary education.
As part of a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Daugherty will work with a team of researchers to study how high school science teachers learn engineering. Because teachers must transmit this information to their students, it is important that they learn the conceptual base of engineering.
Two of her TLI colleagues – Todd Kelley and Nathan Mentzer – have undertaken similar research about teaching engineering design to elementary and secondary students.
“We all engage in research with students and teachers that is centered on infusing engineering into K-12 education.” Daugherty said. “Our work is contributing to the national conversation about how to best improve STEM education.”
“The National Research Council 2011 report, A Framework for K-12 Science Standards, emphasizes core concepts for science, and important to our project, it has included engineering design as a suggested concept,” Daugherty said.
Because of this, the research team is excited to be on the forefront of research that will help science teachers introduce engineering concepts into their classrooms. Daugherty’s dissertation focused on engineering professional development, so this project will continue her research in this field. Specifically, the project will research how teachers learn engineering concepts and how they implement them into their classrooms.
“I’m excited to do be working on this important project. Our research can inform the next stage of standards in the country,” she said. “Engineering design could be included on future standardized tests. The attention is on us.”
Technology and education research
STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math) is a signature research area for Purdue’s College of Technology. As educators, the college’s faculty are interested in identifying the best ways to keep students at all levels interested and successful in these subject areas. Once students are enrolled, the college’s interest lies in offering them the best preparation for careers in and the advancement of STEM disciplines.