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Title: Supporting Collaborative Curriculum Customizations Using the Knowledge Integration Framework
Teachers are currently facing a major instructional challenge, namely, supporting students to meet the three dimensional learning goals of the Next Generation Science Standards without adequate curriculum materials to do so. In this paper, we report the design and outcomes of professional development activities that support teachers and researchers to collaboratively customize Web-based Inquiry Science Environment (WISE) units to help students develop coherent science knowledge. The WISE units and professional development activities were developed using the Knowledge Integration (KI) Framework. We show that the KI framework functioned as an effective scaffold to support teachers in modifying their teaching practice to make curriculum customizations that are evidence-based and aligned with a theory of learning. We discuss how our study results informed the design of an online curriculum customization and implementation interface and offer the principles of the KI framework as design principles for the development of other collaborative professional development endeavors.
Authors:
; ;
Award ID(s):
1813713
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10106811
Journal Name:
Computer-supported collaborative learning
Volume:
1
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
480-487
ISSN:
1573-4552
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract Background

    Around the world, efforts are underway to include engineering design as part of elementary science instruction. A common rationale for those efforts is that Engineering Design-based Science Teaching (EDST) is a productive pedagogical approach for developing students’ understanding of core science concepts. Effectively utilizing EDST requires that teachers develop design activities that are highly connected to science content so that students can apply and expand their understanding of relevant concepts. In this study, we examine how a group of elementary (grades 3–5) pre-service and in-service teachers incorporated EDST into their planned science instruction. Those teachers were participants in a professional development project aimed at supporting EDST. We examine the ways that participants used EDST, the extent to which engineering design activities were connected to science concepts, and factors associated with those connections.

    Results

    Most of the participants in the study developed science units in which an engineering design activity was placed at the end of the unit. Approximately half of those design activities lacked connections to the science concepts in the unit; they were typically related to the topic of the science unit, but did not require the use or development of key science ideas. Eleven percent of participants developedmore »engineering activities with deep connections to science concepts, and 35% developed activities with shallow connections. No differences were found between life science, physical science, and earth/space science units in terms of the extent of conceptual connections. However, we did find that participants who utilized and adapted published engineering curriculum materials rather than make them from scratch were more likely to have unit plans with higher levels of conceptual connections.

    Conclusions

    Our findings suggest that elementary teachers need additional support in order to effectively utilize EDST in their classrooms. Even within the context of a supportive professional development project, most of the engineering activities developed by our participants lacked substantial connections to the science concepts in their unit plans. Our findings highlight the value of high-quality curriculum materials to support EDST as well as the need to further expand the curriculum resources that are available to elementary teachers.

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