a. Learning Objectives
Help K-12 educators develop a broad understanding of how formal and informal pre-college engineering education experiences can influence students’ transitions to studying engineering at a university.
Identify practices or elements of pre-college engineering activities that promote success in future engineering studies and how to implement these practices in formal or informal engineering education settings.
Identify practices or elements of pre-college engineering activities that may make students’ transitions from pre-college engineering to university engineering more difficult, and how to reduce the potential negative effects of pre-college engineering participation.
b. Hands-on activities and interactive exercises
Interactive activities in this workshop will focus on identifying positive and potentially negative elements of the participants’ pre-college engineering pedagogical practices and sharing effective practices with other participants in the workshop. This will include beginning with a discussion of what the participants believe are the elements, activities, or projects in their pre-college engineering instructional practices that best prepare their students for future study in engineering. We will follow this with a discussion of participants concerns or beliefs related to a lack of alignment between what happens in their classroom or program versus the activities and expectations of university engineering programs. Using the qualitative and quantitative results of our study exploring the transition from pre-college to university engineering, we will then summarize the research and invite the participants to react to the findings. We will then discuss strategies that the participants have used to incorporate high impact elements of pre-college engineering programs such as working on teams; solving open-ended design problems, and using math and science as part of their engineering practices. Finally, we will explore how pre-college engineering programs can foster misconceptions, and how to reduce this risk.
c. Materials that participants can take with them
Participants will receive summaries of the results of the NSF project, including elements of pre-college engineering experiences that prepare students for future engineering study and elements that may contribute to a negative transitional experience.
d. Practical application for teachers and outreach staff or counselors
K-12 engineering has many roles beyond preparing students for future study and careers in engineering. However, for those students who do plan to pursue degrees in engineering, developing a realistic understanding of university engineering study and knowledge and skills that align with university engineering programs will better prepare these students for success.
Dr. Noah Salzman
Noah Salzman is an Assistant Professor at Boise State University, where he is a member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and IDoTeach, a pre-service STEM teacher preparation program. His work focuses on the transition from pre-college to university engineering programs, how exposure to engineering prior to matriculation affects the experiences of engineering students, and engineering in the K-12 classroom. He has worked as a high school science, mathematics, and engineering and technology teacher, as well as several years of electrical and mechanical engineering design experience as a practicing engineer. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Swarthmore College, his Master's of Education degree from the University of Massachusetts, and a Master's of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Doctorate in Engineering Education from Purdue University.