Analysing teacher outcomes of PD programs in STEM learning centres

Year: 2019

Author: Nelson, Chloë, Millar, Victoria, van, Driel, Jan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Engaging students in engineering design experiences has been linked to an increase in students’ academic achievement and interest in STEM(Alemdar et al., 2018). To be able to deliver these experiences, teachers must be adequately trained in engineering design practices (EDP). As most in-service teachers have not been exposed to engineering design, or its respective pedagogies and practices, it is essential to determine whether existing EDP professional development programs for teachers are effective

Access to specialist STEM learning centres has been shown to enable students and teachers to access a variety of technology they might not otherwise have been able to access in their in-school context(J. R. Young, Ortiz, & Young, 2016). In Victoria, there are multiple, government-funded, specialist out-of-school STEM learning centres that enable students to undertake EDP experiences and teachers to develop their knowledge and skills in these areas. These centres are primarily focused on engaging secondary school students and teachers and offer free, or significantly reduced cost, programs for students and schools situated in lower socio-economic areas. Occupying a unique space in education these centres do not have any enrolled students, and unlike museums or science centres they are not open to the public. Each of these specialist out-of-school STEM learning centres offers professional development. Whilst there is a growing body of literature on the professional development of STEM teachers, there is a paucity of literature surrounding the professional development of teachers’ engineering design practices, particularly in specialist out-of-school STEM centres.

This presentation will present a framework for analysing the outcomes of currently existing engineering design practice PD. This framework will be developed based on a systematic literature investigation into the unique positioning of these specialist out-of-school STEM learning centres with respect to the analysis of secondary teacher professional development in the area of engineering design process pedagogies.

Alemdar, M., Moore, R. A., Lingle, J. A., Rosen, J., Gale, J., & Usselman, M. C. (2018). The Impact of a Middle School Engineering Course on Students’ Academic Achievement and Non-Cognitive Skills.International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology,6(4), 363–380.

Young, J. R., Ortiz, N., & Young, J. L. (2016). STEMulating Interest: A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Out-of-School Time on Student STEM Interest.International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology,5(1), 62–74.