This article describes a professional development (PD) model, the CT-Integration Cycle, that supports teachers in learning to integrate computational thinking (CT) and computer science principles into their middle school science and STEM instruction. The PD model outlined here includes collaborative design (codesign; Voogt et al., 2015) of curricular units aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that use programmable sensors. Specifically, teachers can develop or modify curricular materials to ensure a focus on coherent, student-driven instruction through the investigation of scientific phenomena that are relevant to students and integrate CT and sensor technology. Teachers can implement these storylines and collaboratively reflect on their instructional practices and student learning. Throughout this process, teachers may develop expertise in CT-integrated science instruction as they plan and use instructional practices aligned with the NGSS and foreground CT. This paper describes an examination of a group of five middle school teachers’ experiences during one iteration of the CT-Integration Cycle, including their learning, planning, implementation, and reflection on a unit they codesigned. Throughout their participation in the PD, the teachers expanded their capacity to engage deeply with CT practices and thoughtfully facilitated a CT-integrated unit with their students.
Making is an iterative process of designing, building, tinkering, and problem-solving, resulting in the creation of personally meaningful artifacts. Fueled by recent developments in affordable, safe, and easy to use digital fabrication technologies, making has been embraced by educators the world over. While educational scholarship is developing an increasingly complex understanding of the practices and pedagogies needed to support making in the classroom, there has been limited research associated with the preparation of teachers and their development of maker-centered instructional practices. In this embedded case study, the authors examined artifacts produced by 13 secondary preservice and in-service science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) classroom teachers engaged in long-term maker professional development as part of a microcredentialing program. Analysis of these artifacts uncovered an array of motivations for engaging with classroom making, illustrated how participants implemented their maker philosophies in secondary STEM classrooms, and suggested the need for additional research on and models of maker-centered programs in teacher preparation.
As part of an embedded mixed-method study, qualitative research was conducted to understand how Engineering Is Elementary (EiE) professional development influenced the self-efficacy of K-5 elementary teachers required to teach engineering in a rural school in Southeastern, North Carolina. In fall 2016, proportional stratified sampling was used to select 14 teachers by grade level and specialty area who participated in EiE training. Teachers were interviewed to obtain in-depth information about their perceived self-efficacy. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed for content by person, by interview questions, and across all interviews using narrative data analysis methods. The data showed three themes: (a) teachers feel preparation programs lack STEM training, (b) integrating engineering is achievable in the K-5 classroom, and (c) professional support is an issue in improving this engineering initiative. The results demonstrated how elementary educators’ self-efficacy evolved while engaging in professional development to prepare to teach engineering. Implications for educational practice and research are provided.
This study investigated the influence of Engineering Is Elementary (EiE) professional development on teachers’ self-efficacy of integrating engineering into the K-5 curriculum in a rural school district in southeastern North Carolina. In fall 2016, the researchers conducted an embedded mixed-method study. The focus of this paper is the quantitative aspect of the study, which involved using the engineering components of the T-STEM survey to measure teachers’ self-efficacy via Qualtrics. The survey was used to compare teachers’ self-efficacy before and following EiE professional development and 4 weeks after the last EiE intervention. Forty-three teachers completed these online questionnaires. Across the three intervals, the results of the repeated measures were statistically significant. There were increases in teachers’ (a) engineering teaching efficacy and beliefs, (b) engineering teaching outcome expectancy, and (c) engineering instruction. Teachers’ self-efficacy toward engineering was likely influenced by EiE professional development. The findings suggest that elementary teachers’ self-efficacy about integrating engineering into the curriculum can increase by offering EiE professional development over time. This study can help inform future education policy, practice, and research.