IDENTIFYING INSTRUCTIONAL CONTENT FOR PROJECT-BASED LEARNING IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATHEMATICS (STEM) FOR ELEMENTARY EDUCATION
University of Georgia (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Page: 3699 (abstract only)
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Research related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction and learning is currently a very promising area of inquiry in the US. One reason is score comparisons on international assessments such as that administered by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). In many other parts of the world performance has been good in mathematics and science on standardized assessments like the PISA. The perception in the US is that scores on these types of assessments has been declining over time. Much of the focus on STEM in the US has been driven by concerns about global competitiveness of students, but the resulting move toward integrated STEM has the potential to provide US learners with superior mastery of critical competencies that move beyond memorization of facts and formulas. By cultivating abilities to innovate, to deal with open-ended problem solving, to work with interdisciplinary teams and to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of an array of possibilities, US students who participate in integrated STEM education will achieve real advantages as they seek success in the 21st century global workforce.
At the University of Georgia (UGA), a course in integrated STEM is provided to pre-service elementary education majors. The course, Creative Activities for Teachers, is offered in two sections of 20 students each during the fall and spring semesters and once during the summer. Within the curriculum of the Creative Activities class there is considerable flexibility. To maximize its impact, however, a research project is being undertaken to evaluate what content in mathematics, what content in science, and what content in technology students taking the class are most deficient in. Assessments aligned with the new Common Core Mathematics Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards, and the Standards for Technological Literacy will be used to identify gaps in student content knowledge, and learning activities and instruction in the course will be re-aligned to boost student competencies in these areas.
Delivery of course content currently is in a face-to-face format but instructional materials include a number of online components and students complete several hands-on activities that involve information system technologies. The combination of STEM content and the inclusion of cutting-edge instructional strategies, some using information technologies, will make the research being conducted especially apropos for the EDULEARN13 audience.
The component of this research proposed for the EDULEARN13 presentation is the science portion of the assessment. This research has been approved by the UGA Institutional Research Board and data will be collected in late March. The Misconceptions-Oriented Standards-Based Assessment Resources for Teachers (MOSART) instrument will be used to collect data. This assessment was developed at Harvard but is available for use in educational research (http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/smgphp/mosart/).
Results will be compiled and analyzed and conclusions and recommendations developed based on the completed research. The EDULEARN13 presentation will cover both the research to identify STEM content as well as the innovative project-based learning activities being used to facilitate instruction related to that content.
Keywords: Science assessment, elementary engineering activities, STEM, project-based learning, online learning resources.