The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

T.I.M.E. for STEM

Kamryn York, Point Park University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (United States)

Virginia Chambers, Point Park University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (United States)


There has been a notable surge in the makerspace education movement, drawing attention from educators and policymakers alike, particularly in the context of STEM learning. Makerspace education entails hands-on engagement in interdisciplinary STEM environments integrating diverse tools, materials, and technologies (Valente, 2019). Within makerspaces, students are immersed in project-based learning, facilitating interaction and engagement with various tools and technologies as they delve into new STEM topics (Valente, 2019). This approach to education has demonstrated a positive impact, correlating with heightened proficiency in STEM subjects and an extended interest in STEM fields, as highlighted by Clapp (2016). Despite the evident benefits and the increasing adoption of makerspace education, a surprising 40% of teachers recently acknowledged feeling underprepared to effectively teach in a maker environment (Cross, 2018). Cross attributes this lack of preparedness to a broader deficit in understanding and training in STEM education and maker-centered learning. Bridging this knowledge and training gap becomes imperative to ensure that teachers are equipped with the skills and understanding necessary to harness the full potential of makerspace education. Transforming Integrative Makerspace Education for STEM (T.I.M.E. for STEM) is a National Science Foundation-funded project aimed at enhancing the quality and efficacy of STEM education for pre-service teachers. This interdisciplinary initiative, conducted in collaboration between the School of Education (SOE) and the Department of Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology (NSET) at a northeastern university in the United States, centers on faculty development, interactive instruction, and STEM lesson plan development. The primary objective is to identify areas of pedagogical growth in STEM teaching and learning within a makerspace environment, involving both pre-service teachers and faculty members. The theoretical framework guiding this project draws from Piaget and Vygotsky's constructivist and social constructivist teaching and learning theories. Rooted in a model that combines community partnerships, faculty development, and institutional collaboration, the project aims to propel student growth while seamlessly integrating STEM teaching and learning across the curriculum for elementary education certification students. Results from the T.I.M.E. for STEM pre and post surveys indicate significant improvements in participant understanding of maker pedagogy and STEM learning, particularly in the domains of Creating an Environment for Learning, Building Scientific Understanding, and Engaging Students in Scientific and Engineering Practices. The findings suggest a positive shift towards student-centered approaches, enhanced comfort levels with STEM knowledge application, and improved abilities to guide, assess, and critique student work in a makerspace environment. This project explores the innovative realm of interdisciplinary STEM learning and teaching within makerspace environments as a pivotal approach for preparing pre-service teachers.

Key words: Keywords: Integrative Makerspace Education, STEM Teaching and Learning, Faculty Development, Experiential Learning, Teacher Training, Constructivist Pedagogy


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