Join the ASEE Annual Conference DISTINGUISHED LECTURE on July 28, 2021: Setting the Stage for P-12 Engineering - How the American Society of Engineering Education Community Can Revolutionize STEM Education for All Students
STEM education in today’s schools comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. In many schools around the country, STEM has become just another buzzword to cover up a “business as usual” educational approach and has drifted from its original intent to transform learning for all students. No longer does STEM education require creative integration, innovation, or the authentic, real-world student experiences that once defined its importance and urgency. Engineering touches every aspect of human life, from providing access to clean drinking water to 5G telecommunications and drug/vaccine development. This presents a need to provide learning opportunities that support the next generation in becoming engineering-literate global citizens. And, now more than ever, we need to prepare and inspire our students to grow into the informed designers and innovative creators necessary to solve the toughest challenges facing the world, both today and tomorrow. Accordingly, engineering learning is essential for every child; in every school; from every town, city, and municipality in the United States of America. Engineering education is well positioned to deliver on many of the forgotten promises of STEM education. Many of us within the P-12 education community recognize that there is something special about engineering learning. When given the opportunity to engineer, students of a variety of ages and backgrounds are motivated to learn and eager to engage in solving difficult problems. They work together. They communicate. They are critical and creative and resourceful. We’ve seen it with our own eyes; experienced it as teachers and professional development coordinators; and advocated for it at parent/teacher nights, school board meetings, and legislative briefings. We KNOW that engineering should be taught in parallel with science and math education to ensure an equitable, authentic, relevant, and exciting STEM education experience. Yet, there have been minimal efforts from the education community toward adopting engineering as a distinct component of every child’s schooling. The Framework for P-12 Engineering Learning (AE3 and ASEE, 2020) is a step towards changing this reality and democratizing engineering learning across grades P-12. In this talk, I will make the argument that the Framework for P-12 Engineering Learning sets the stage for an educational revolution. This revolution will see engineering as a more integral part of a child’s learning through more authentic and comprehensive educational standards. I will highlight the leverage points and work to be done that is necessary to antedate this revolution.