ERG SES H 04, Pre-service Teachers and Education
The impact of technological innovations brought about by developments in the fields of science and technology, and it was important to adapt of these developments into education (International Technology Education Association [ITEA], 2007). In recent years, it was highlighted that integration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines (STEM) at K-12 level is important while restructuring of the educational programs (Bozkurt-Altan & Ercan, 2016). Given the importance of science and engineering in the 21st century, students will have a contextual understanding of scientific knowledge, how to acquire and apply it, and how we want to connect with science through a set of concepts that will help us understand the world (NRC, 2013). Teachers aim to educate their students according to 21st century skills such as thinking critically, making judgments, communicating and collaborating, making innovative use of knowledge etc. (Partnership for 21th Century skills, education and competitiveness (P21), 2008). To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, students need to develop their capabilities. In order to enhance student learning and capabilities, STEM education provides a multidisciplinary approach by integrating subjects from two or more disciplines which focus on a common theme. STEM education helps students better connect academic subjects to real-life applications by integrating these four disciplines through active teaching approaches. It provides inquiry-based and real world problem-based learning by connecting all four disciplines (Hom, 2014). It provides opportunities for students to use their problem-solving skills by creating more rigorous and engaging learning environments.
It is necessary that teachers should be prepared to promote the STEM education based upon needs of their students (Lynch et al. 2014; Outlier Research & Evaluation 2014). Additionally, the literature suggested that teachers should be supported with professional development programs to make them apply STEM in the classroom (Akgündüz et al., 2015; Nadelson et. al, 2013). However, as a starting point we need to understand how teachers currently conceptualize STEM to promote their implementation. Examining teachers’ conceptualization of STEM education both visually and textually could provide valuable information in relation to their understanding of STEM. Bybee (2013) proposed nine possible visualizations for STEM education and his theoretical framework for STEM visualization was used in the present study. According to Bybee (2013), while some participants think that ‘‘STEM’’ is a single subject or discipline, others can view STEM as completely transdisciplinary, or more associated with its real-world application. The purpose of the study is to examine teachers’ conceptions of STEM education and the following research question was investigated in the present study: “How teachers conceptualize STEM education visually?”. This study provides insights about how teachers are currently understand STEM education and has implications for how to support them to increase their implementation of STEM in the classroom based upon the findings of the study. Moreover, the present study is considered as valuable to provide initial point for how to design effective teacher professional development programs to make teachers apply STEM.
Akgündüz, D., Aydeniz, M., Çakmakçı, G., Çavaş , B., Corlu, M. S., Öner, T., & Özdemir, S. (2015). STEM eğitimi Türkiye raporu: Günün modası mı yoksa gereksinim mi?[A report on STEM Education in Turkey: A provisional agenda or a necessity? İ stanbul, Turkey: Aydın Üniversitesi. İstanbul Aydın Üniversitesi STEM Merkezi ve Eğitim Fakültesi. Bozkurt-Altan, E. & Ercan, S. (2016). STEM education program for science teachers: Perceptions and competencies.Journal of Turkish Science Education. 13, 103-117 Bybee, R. (2013). The case of STEM education: Challenges and opportunities. NSTA Press, Arlington Hom, E. J. (2014). What is STEM Education? Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/43296-what-is-stem-education.html International Technology Education Association. (2007). Standards for technological literacy: Content for the study of technology. Reston, VA: Author. Lynch, S.J., Peters-Burton, E. & Ford, M. (2014). Building STEM opportunities for all. Educational. Leadership, 72, 54-60. Nadelson, L. S., Callahan, J., Pyke, P., Hay, A., Dance, M., & Pfiester, J. (2013). Teacher STEM perception and preparation: Inquiry-based STEM professional development for elementary teachers. The Journal of Educational Research, 106(2), 157-168. National Research Council (NRC). (2013). The Next Generation Science Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. http://www.nextgenscience.org/ Radloff, J., & Guzey, S. (2016). Investigating preservice STEM teacher conceptions of STEM education. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 25(5), 759-774. Partnership for 21th century skills, education and competitiveness. (2008). Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/21st_century_skills_education_and_competitiveness_guide.pdf
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