Over the past 15 years, there has been a steady growth in efforts to introduce engineering teaching and learning at the K-12 level. A variety of curricular and professional development programs have been put in place, and some have achieved significant scale (e.g., Engineering is Elementary, Project Lead the Way). But like K-12 education reform in general, most of these initiatives have not been informed by the insights and concerns of experienced teachers. The lack of engagement of teachers is particularly a problem for education in engineering, a subject about which most K-12 educators and administrators lack content knowledge. The situation has been made more challenging recently by publication of the Next Generation Science Standards, which increase expectations on K-12 science teachers to connect engineering ideas and practices to those in science. Additional expectations for teaching engineering may come from the College Board, which intends to introduce an Advanced Placement engineering course, and from general interest in more integrated forms of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, which often use engineering design as a way to provide application opportunities for mathematics and science concepts.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Teacher Advisory Council (TAC), in collaboration with the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), is responding to a national challenge issued by 100Kin10:
How might we increase the reach and quality of engineering in K-12 schools across the country?
Supported by a generous grant from 100Kin10 and additional support from the Samueli Foundation, the TAC and NAE will initiate a national dialog about how K-12 teachers STEM can become more engaged in leadership roles to improve and expand the reach and quality of K-12 engineering education both within and outside of their classrooms and schools (e.g., contributing to the development of state-level standards and education policy). An ad hoc committee will plan a two-day, public, national convocation that will explore how strategic connections among these communities might catalyze new avenues of teacher preparation and professional development, integrated curriculum development, and more comprehensive assessment of knowledge, skills, and attitudes about engineering in the K-12 curriculum. The workshop will result in a rapporteur-authored summary that will be reviewed consistent with institutional procedures. There will also be follow-on outreach and communication with local, regional, and national stakeholders through direct conversations and the use of social media.
The dates for the convocation are Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 2016.
More information about the 100Kin10 initiative
Additional contact: Greg Pearson