Professional Development Symposium – Dallas, Texas

A related professional development activity conducted by NCETE personnel was an NSF-funded project titled A National Symposium to Explore Effective Practices for the Professional Development of K-12 Engineering and Technology Education Teachers. The symposium was held in Dallas, TX in February 2007. Fifty-two individuals from across the STEM disciplines, consisting of professional developers, teacher educators, technology supervisors, curriculum specialists, and technology teachers participated in the symposium. Rodney Custer from Illlinois State University was the Principal Investigator for the symposium.

The goal of the National Symposium was to assemble a group of key stakeholders with specialized expertise in professional development from mathematics, science, engineering and technology to share expertise and explore models for standards-based professional development. Key goals of the symposium were to (a) examine the applicability of existing teacher professional development models for engineering and technology education and (b) develop a foundation for developing models for technology education professional development, based on contemporary pedagogy.

A set of preliminary perceptions emerged from the symposium. These include:

  • There is a need for increased dialogue among the STEM disciplines.
  • The concept of pedagogical content knowledge specific to engineering and technology education is insufficiently developed and needs to be explored in depth.
  • The models for professional development are more fully developed in science and mathematics than in engineering and technology education.
  • The models for professional development developed for mathematics and science are applicable to engineering and technology education.
  • Engineering and technology professional developers could benefit substantially from the work of mathematics and science professional developers.
  • The delivery of mathematics and science content are key professional development challenges for engineering and technology education teachers.
  • Shifting the emphasis to the identification and delivery of targeted concepts represents a significant professional development challenge for engineering and technology education teachers.
  • There is a need to incorporate research from the cognitive sciences into professional development planning, implementation and research.

The symposium proceedings include nine refereed papers, syntheses of small focus group sessions, a rapporteur’s report, PowerPoint presentation slides for all sessions, external evaluator comments, and other logistical information. These materials will be posted to the symposium’s website and will be disseminated electronically to all conference participants as well as to a broad spectrum of stakeholders.


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This material is based on work supported by the
National Science Foundation Under Grant No. ESI-0426421