- Year 2023
- NSF Noyce Award # 2050256
- First Name William
- Last Name McComas
- Discipline Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Physics
Laura Kent, Kim McComas, Steven Burgin
Partnerships with STEM discovery learning centers enhance preservice STEM teachers’ opportunities to expand their understandings of how students learn in informal settings and consider how these ideas can enhance their instruction in formal classroom settings. Ongoing research can provide insight to how Teaching Fellows utilize community resources once they graduate from the program and during their first four years of teaching.
What are the impacts of TFs experiences working with students in informal learning environments during and after these opportunities? How doe their views of authentic practice change over time?
This study utilized qualitative methods for data collection and analysis. Observation and open response surveys were used to assess TF’s perceptions of their experiences working in informal settings. Focus group sessions were recorded and provided additional data on how the summer experiences influenced their views of formal instruction.
Results indicate that initial views of lack of STEM learning at summer camps shifted as they gained additional experiences in formal settings. The project will continue to gather data from TFs during their first four years of teaching.
Broader impacts include efforts to incorporate summer informal experiences once the project ends and share results with other faculty within the university and nationally through presentations at conferences.