There has been a nation-wide push for an increase in the use of integrated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in the United States. With this shift in epistemological, pedagogical, and curricular content, there is a need to develop an understanding as to what integrated STEM education is, particularly among practitioners. In this dissertation, inservice science teacher conceptions of integrated STEM education were investigated to help understand what these conceptions are and how these conceptions influence curriculum writing and implementation of integrated STEM curricula in classrooms. Teacher conceptions and their influences were investigated through three separate but interrelated studies. First, K-12 inservice science teachers’ conceptions of integrated STEM were investigated through the analysis of their sketched models of integrated STEM education. How these models changed throughout an intensive, three-week professional development was also explored. The goal of this first study was to identify conceptual models of integrated STEM education held by inservice science teachers and to understand how these conceptions might change over the course of a professional development. Second, photo elicitation interviews (PEIs) and curricular analysis were used to provide rich descriptions of the conceptual models of integrated STEM education held by inservice science teachers, determine what components of STEM inservice science teachers found fundamental to integrating STEM in the classroom based on their conceptions, and explore how teachers’ conceptions of STEM were used in their development of integrated STEM curricula. The goal of this second study was to better understand inservice science teachers’ conceptual models of integrated STEM and explore how these models were realized in the teachers’ curriculum writing. Third, a multiple-case study was conducted with three teachers to investigate how the conceptual models held by inservice science teachers were enacted in their implementation of an integrated STEM curriculum unit in their classrooms. The goal of this third study was to determine how, if at all, teachers enact their conceptual models of integrated STEM education in the classroom when implementing a STEM curriculum. Together, these three studies helped to broaden the research related to integrated STEM education in the literature. The progressive nature of the studies in this dissertation, as well as the diverse use of methodologies and data analysis, helped to expand STEM education research.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.May 2017. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Gillian Roehrig. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 162 pages.
Teacher Conceptions of Integrated STEM Education and How They Are Reflected in Integrated STEM Curriculum Writing and Classroom Implementation.
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