skip to main content

Title: STEM education centers: catalyzing the improvement of undergraduate STEM education
Authors:
;
Award ID(s):
1524832
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10186060
Journal Name:
International Journal of STEM Education
Volume:
5
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2196-7822
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. This report details how universities can pair the work of STEM Education Centers and Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTLs) to improve teaching and student success in STEM fields. The Collaborating at the Center report, written by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the POD Network in Higher Education, presents key recommendations on ways these two distinct types of campus-based centers can work more closely to further national STEM education improvement efforts. The report is based on some of the key findings of 46 leaders from SECs and CTLs who gathered at a November 2015 workshop thatmore »APLU, the POD Network, and the Network of STEM Education Centers (NSEC) convened with support from the National Science Foundation. The workshop was designed to introduce these communities to each other, discuss areas of synergy, and explore ways that these communities could most effectively collaborate to improve student success on their campuses and nationally as networks. Some of the key recommendations from the report include: -Approach cross-unit collaborations by inviting everyone to the table, creating relevant leadership groups, and keeping stakeholders informed. -Map the "territory of collaboration": identify common elements of mission, differentiated strategies, shared goals, strengths, stakeholders, expertise, resources, roles for each center, and benefits from participating in shared projects. -Acknowledge stretched staffing and resources by articulating different possible modes of collaborating at various levels of commitment and normalizing different responses as helpful and not damaging to the centers' relationship. -Record progress and make success visible.« less
  2. Integrated approaches to teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (commonly referred to as STEM education) in K-12 classrooms have resulted in a growing number of teachers incorporating engineering in their science classrooms. Such changes are a result of shifts in science standards to include engineering as evidenced by the Next Generation Science Standards. To date, 20 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the NGSS and another 24 have adopted standards based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education. Despite the increased presence of engineering and integrated STEM education in K-12 education, there are several concerns to consider. Onemore »concern is the limited availability of observation instruments appropriate for instruction where multiple STEM disciplines are present and integrated with one another. Addressing this concern requires the development of a new observation instrument, designed with integrated STEM instruction in mind. An instrument such as this has implications for both research and practice. For example, research using this instrument could help educators compare integrated STEM instruction across grade bands. Additionally, this tool could be useful in the preparation of pre-service teachers and professional development of in-service teachers new to integrated STEM education and formative learning through professional learning communities or classroom coaching. The work presented here describes in detail the development of an integrated STEM observation instrument that can be used for both research and practice. Over a period of approximately 18-months, a team of STEM educators and educational researchers developed a 10-item integrated STEM observation instrument for use in K-12 science and engineering classrooms. The process of developing the instrument began with establishing a conceptual framework, drawing on the integrated STEM research literature, national standards documents, and frameworks for both K-12 engineering education and integrated STEM education. As part of the instrument development process, the project team had access to over 2000 classroom videos where integrated STEM education took place. Initial analysis of a selection of these videos helped the project team write a preliminary draft instrument consisting of 52 items. Through several rounds of revisions, including the construction of detailed scoring levels of the items and collapsing of items that significantly overlapped, and piloting of the instrument for usability, items were added, edited, and/or removed for various reasons. These reasons included issues concerning the intricacy of the observed phenomenon or the item not being specific to integrated STEM education (e.g., questioning). In its final form, the instrument consists of 10 items, each comprising four descriptive levels. Each item is also accompanied by a set of user guidelines, which have been refined by the project team as a result of piloting the instrument and reviewed by external experts in the field. The instrument has shown to be reliable with the project team and further validation is underway. This instrument will be of use to a wide variety of educators and educational researchers looking to understand the implementation of integrated STEM education in K-12 science and engineering classrooms.« less