Research in Engineering and Technology Education
National Center for Engineering and Technology Education
Recently engineering has emerged on the K-12 scene as a potentially important content area. However, K-12 teachers typically lack sufficient backgrounds to effectively integrate engineering into their classrooms. Thus teacher professional development is of critical importance. Although there have been several initiatives emerge to assist teachers in teaching engineering-related curriculum, there has been little empirical research generated. For example, little is known about best practices, engineering pedagogical content knowledge, or effective design principles for engineering professional development. Although there is a general consensus in the literature concerning a set of principles that differentiate effective teacher professional development (i.e., Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman, & Yoon, 2001; Loucks- Horsley, Love, Stiles, Mundry, & Hewson, 2003), little is known about how these translate to an engineering context. In addition, several complex issues have emerged that impact the implementation of engineering at the K-12 level, directly affecting teacher professional development.
The purpose of this paper is to report on the landscape study funded by the National Center for Engineering Education (NCETE) to examine engineering teacher professional development. This study evolved to include a synthesis of several activities and their outcomes with the intent to help inform future research and practice within NCETE. This report summarizes three major activities: (a) the Professional Development for Engineering and Technology: A National Symposium conducted February 2007, in Dallas, Texas (NSF funded); (b) a multiple case study of engineering professional development projects (Daugherty, 2008); and (NCETE funded as part of the Landscape study) (c) the Symposium on Professional Development for Engineering and Technology Education: An Action Agenda conducted June 2009, in Atlanta, Georgia (NSF funded). This report consists of two main sections: (a) a summary of the three major activities; and (b) a synthesis and discussion of the landscape of engineering-oriented professional development at the secondary level.
Custer, R. L., & Daugherty, J. (2009). The nature and status of STEM professional development: Effective practices for secondary level engineering education.