Developing Outdoor Curricular Examples Through Socially-Relevant/Culturally-Situated Learning Activities In Engineering
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics presented a projection in 2014 that the overall STEM employment would grow by 13% from 2012 to 2022—with occupations related to engineering and technology growing the fastest (Fayer, Lacey, & Watson, 2017). However, only a small portion of the nation’s youth is intentionally taught the concepts of engineering throughout their educational experiences. Outdoor educational experiences provide an avenue to reach students outside of the traditional confines of the regular school day. With concern to engineering learning, starting outdoor education programs can be difficult because there is a lack of guidance in how teachers can best be prepared for the and the lack of curricula examples to guide instruction. Following a phenomenology qualitative research methodology (Creswell), the researchers of this study conducted a series of interviews with outdoor educational experts from around the country. Three distinct types of successful instructors were targeted; a local high school alternative education teacher, a summer camp director with a focus on engineering experiences, and a national program that excels in outdoor excursion with a focus on adventure, self wellbeing, mindfulness with nature. This study identified four common characteristics of successful instructors; (1) Safety, respect, and support in the learning environment, (2) Commitment to Authentic Assessment, (3) Visionary Leadership, (4) Shared Opportunities for Self-Discovery and Defeats. Additionally, a curricular example is provided with a focus on engineering learning (AE3) to help teachers envision outdoor experiences of their own.
Department of Integrative STEM Education
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