Despite the need for qualified professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers worldwide, positions remain unfilled due to a lack of STEM education in the primary grades. The research questions explored how teacher innovators described the experience of implementing a new STEM program at an elementary school, what supports were beneficial, and what additional supports were necessary. The research included interviews, artifact collection, and reflective field notes. Inductive thematic analysis was utilized to analyze the data gathered to identify trends, patterns, and themes among the shared experiences of the six teacher innovators chosen by the district. The four major themes were the quality of professional development (PD), student learning/motivation, innovator leadership roles, and STEM integration. Subcategories included positive and negative feedback about Discovery Education PD, 21st-century skills, real world connections, the need for flexibility for innovators, beneficial tools and supports, overall perceptions, and weaknesses/challenges of STEM implementation. The findings of the research confirmed the need for strong, ongoing PD. Data confirmed the integration of 21st-century skills and real world connections with STEM implementation. Student motivation and learning improved as a result of STEM integration. Innovators emerged as leaders within grade levels at the school site. Recommendations include the need for additional research on innovator experiences during the second and third years of implementation. Future research in the areas of STEM integration over a continued period of time could support teacher innovators in future STEM school sites.
|School:||American College of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Indiana|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Elementary education, Curriculum development|
|Keywords:||Professional development, STEM integration, Inquiry-based instruction|
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