Exploring Culturally-Relevant Engineering Education Design
Effectively teaching engineering has implications beyond meeting science standards. Encouraging students to be creative thinkers and innovative problem-solvers can benefit society across cultures and contexts but requires teachers that are trained and supported to deliver effective and relevant engineering instruction. This can be challenging for schools in rural and Native American settings as resources and support may be limited, and curriculum may be presented from a Western framework that does not incorporate the cultural knowledge, values, and beliefs embedded in a community. Effective engineering education can benefit tribal communities by building knowledge and capacity among student members. To facilitate these shifts in teaching practice and teacher self-efficacy, professional development must be designed to meet the unique needs of the populations showing the most dramatic under-representation, thus increasing access, resources, and collaboration for teachers in rural, lower-socio-economic, and Native American-serving schools. This project addresses the current and critical need for improved teacher training in effectively teaching engineering through an on-going, collaborative professional development program for upper elementary and middle school teachers in North Dakota, focusing on rural and Native schools surrounding and within the Spirit Lake and Turtle Mountain Nations. Over the course of a two-year cycle, teachers progress from learners to mentors as they become proficient in designing and implementing engineering design tasks in their classrooms aligned to their existing curriculum and authentic community interests.
NSF Awards: 2010169
Grade Level: Grades K-6, Grades 6-8
Presented in: 2021 (see original presentation & discussion)