Interest in STEM education and careers has declined at a time when the United States needs a stronger STEM workforce. To understand the root causes of these issues, it is important to explore how STEM identities develop (or not) in K12 education, and how student motivation affects STEM education and career interest. This study examined the evolution of minoritized high school students STEM identity development as they engaged in innovative, integrated STEM activities that leverage 3D scanning and printing technologies in the context of fossil exploration (Paleontology) through the iDigFossils project.
Qualitative and quantitative data from 8 students at an alternative, public high school in California were collected over a six-month period during science class. Analysis of STEM Identity Maps, semi-structured interviews, and pre and post survey allowed me to address the following research questions:
The findings indicate that teacher and school support, in addition to instructional strategies were the most prominent determinants of student engagement and STEM identity development. Within each of the main themes, sub-themes emerged highlighting recognition, competence and performance, and perceptions by others as important needs related to STEM identity development. This research suggests that more and better theories, methods, and data are needed to examine STEM identity development over time accounting for past, present and future students perceptions. Educational curricula should adhere to the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework to minimize barriers and maximize learning. By offering a variety of media to learn and opportunities to express understanding in different ways, students are given choices to fulfill their needs for autonomy. Teacher professional development in UDL is essential to support students STEM identity development relative to the needs for recognition, competence and performance. Broadening the conception of STEM should be considered to include: two years and technical careers, to promote STEM identity development for future generations.
|Advisor:||Antonenko, Pasha, MacFadden, Bruce|
|Commitee:||Bondy, Elizabeth, Jones, Douglas|
|School:||University of Florida|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/6(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational technology, Mathematics education, Educational administration, Educational leadership, Curriculum development, Science education, Paleontology|
|Keywords:||3D printing, California, Minoritized youth, STEM education, United States, STEM workforces, Career interest, Fossil exploration|
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