Computing and Engineering in Elementary School: The Effect of Year-long Training on Elementary Teacher Self-efficacy and Beliefs About Teaching Computing and Engineering
Keywords:professional development, elementary education, STEM, computing, engineering, STEM integration
STEM, the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics is increasingly being promoted in elementary education.Â However, elementary educators are largely untrained in the 21st century skills of computing (a subset of technology) and engineering.Â Â The purpose of this study was to better understand elementary teachersâ€™ self-efficacy for and beliefs about teaching computing and engineering.Â An entire faculty of a US-based elementary school participated in a year-long series of weekly professional development trainings in computing and engineering. Researchers collected quantitative data through a survey designed to assess teachersâ€™ self-efficacy and beliefs towards the integration of computing and engineering and compared responses with a demographically similar Title I school in the same city.Â Additional qualitative data was collected through semi-structured interviews and documented observations. Researchers found that between the two schools, self-efficacy and beliefs toward computing and engineering were likely influenced by professional development (p < .05). Through interviews, teachers attributed changes in self-efficacy and beliefs to the trainings. Although all teachers reported higher beliefs about the importance of computing and engineering, their self-efficacy for teaching these varied widely.Â A grounded theoretical analysis revealed this difference was likely attributed to each teacherâ€™s level of implementation, background, and willingness to experiment.Â We discuss how these factors may affect the professional development of elementary educators in preparing them to teach computing and engineering-related topics.
Balanskat, A., & Engelhardt, K. (2014). Computing our future computer programming and coding-priorities, school curricula and initiatives across europe.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.
Blum, L., & Cortina, T. J. (2007). CS4HS: An outreach program for high school CS teachers. SIGCSE Bull., 39(1), 19-23. doi:10.1145/1227504.1227320
Bryan, L. A., & Recesso, A. (2006). Promoting reflection with a web-based video analysis tool. Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 23(1), 31-39.
Clements, D. H. (2002). Computers in early childhood mathematics. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 3(2), 160-181.
Ertmer, P. A. (2005). Teacher pedagogical beliefs: The final frontier in our quest for technology integration? Educational Technology Research & Development, 53(4), 25-39. doi:10.1007/BF02504683
Fang, Z. (1996). A review of research on teacher beliefs and practices. Educational Research, 38(1), 47-65. doi:10.1080/0013188960380104
Fitzgerald, E. M., & Cunningham, C. M. (2013). Bridging Engineering , Science , and Technology ( BEST ) for Elementary Educators. In 120th ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition (p. Paper ID#7041). Atlanta, GA: American Society for Engineering Education.
Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago: Aldine De Gruyter.
Kurland, D. M., Pea, R. D., Clement, C., & Mawby, R. (1986). A study of the development of programming ability and thinking skills in high school students. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 2(4), 429-458. Retrieved from Google Scholar.
Liao, & Bright, G. W. (1991). Effects of computer programming on cognitive outcomes: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 7(3), 251-268.
McCoy, L. (1996). Computer-based mathematics learning. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 28, 438-460.
Morgan, E. K., Fitzgerald, E. M., & Hertel, J. D. (2014). Linking the â€œ E â€ and â€œ M â€ in STEM (Research to Practice) Strand: Engineering across the K-12 curriculum: Integration with the Arts, Social Studies, Science, and the Common Core. In 121st ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition (Paper ID#9880). Indianapolis, IN: American Society for Engineering Education. Retrieved from https://www.asee.org/public/conferences/32/papers/9880/view
Moseley, C., Reinke, K., & Bookout, V. (2002). The Effect of Teaching Outdoor Environmental Education on Preservice Teachers' Attitudes toward Self-Efficacy and Outcome Expectancy. Journal Of Environmental Education, 34(1), 9-15.
NGSS Lead States. (2013). Next generation science standards: For states, by states. Executive summary. Final release NGSS front matter - 6.17.13 update_0.Pdf. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.
Nisbett, R. E. & Ross, L. (1980). Human Interferences: Strategies and Shortcomings of Social Judgement. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Noss, R. (1986). Constructing a conceptual framework for elementary algebra through logo programming. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 17(4), 335-357.
Opetushallitus. (2014). Perusopetuksen opetussuunnitelman perusteet 2014. ( No. 2014:96). Tampere, Finland: Opetushallitus.
Pea, R. D., & Kurland, D. M. (1984). On the cognitive effects of learning computer programming. New Ideas in Psychology, 2(2), 137-168. Retrieved from Google Scholar.
Prieto-Rodriguez, E., & Berretta, R. (2014). Digital technology teachers' perceptions of computer science: It is not all about programming. In Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, Madrid, Spain. http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/FIE.2014.7044134
Ross, J., & Bruce, C. (2007). Professional Development Effects on Teacher Efficacy: Results of Randomized Field Trial. Journal Of Educational Research, 101(1), 50-60.
Sadik, O., Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A., & Nadiruzzaman, H. (in press). Computational thinking conceptions and misconceptions. Progression of Preservice Teacher Thinking During Computer Science Lesson Planning. In P. J. Rich & C. Hodges (Eds. ) Computational Thinking: Research and Practice. Springer.
Sargianis, K., Yang, S., & Cunningham, C. M. (2012). Effective Engineering Professional Development for Elementary Educators. Presentation given at the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX.
Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Swackhamer, L. E., Koellner, K., Basile, C., & Kimbrough, D. (2009). Increasing the self-efficacy of inservice teachers through content knowledge. Teacher Education Quarterly, 36(2), 63-78.
Velthuis, C., Fisser, P., & Pieters, J. (2014). Teacher Training and Pre-Service Primary Teachers' Self-Efficacy for Science Teaching. Journal Of Science Teacher Education, 25(4), 445-464.
Wing, J. M. (2006). Computational thinking. In Communications of the ACM (Vol. 49, pp. 33-35)
Yadav, A., Mayfield, C., Zhou, N., Hambrusch, S., & Korb, J. T. (2014). Computational Thinking in Elementary and Secondary Teacher Education. ACM Transactions on Computing Education, 14(1), 1â€“16.
Yadav, A., Gretter, S., Good, J., & McLean, T. (in press). Computational thinking in teacher education. In P. J. Rich & C. Hodges (Eds.). Computational Thinking: Research and Practice. Springer.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).