Medical Technology: organ harvesting and Transplants

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Medical Technology: organ harvesting and Transplants

impact of the lessons in increasing engineering interest

and knowledge.

Teacher Responses:

• Students were impressed with the work occurring

at UNL in the engineering department and found it

fascinating to see the actual intersection camera views

of the vehicles that have been used in field studies. They

enjoyed calculating their data and commented on how

they felt like engineers.

• If I asked, my students would say it was a great lab

that helped us see how real-world situations relate to

physics.

• I used the materials to teach a lesson that is currently

“dry” and boring for the students. This was meant to

teach the curriculum that I HAVE to teach but made

the subject matter more interesting because of the

demo material and lessons.

• I already blend a high level of math into my science,

but never have I understood the broad variety of

engineering impacts, careers, and opportunities

available.

Student Responses:

• I liked the chance to make a model and get away from

the everyday reading and writing work.

• All the fun we had on making a project from something

of our choice with all of it done by ourselves.

• We got to use computers and do hands-on work;

learned stuff I didn’t know before.

• I like that it’s a lot easier to understand by putting the

math to something that we see in real life.

• We didn’t just do it on the board.

• It was a fun way to learn. It was a hands-on activity and

wasn’t coming from the book.

• I liked learning about geometry in my everyday life.

Summary and Conclusions

Our experience working with teachers across two years

has convinced us that the Summer Institute activities have

impacted teacher awareness and knowledge of engineering,

particularly the wide variety of options available to students

as future engineers and technology professionals. We also

believe that our project structure can be used by other

institutions with similar goals related to K-12 engineering

and technology education. To support such efforts, we have

identified several key elements to maximize the impact of

teacher professional development activities:

1. Allow adequate time during the institute for teachers

to work on lesson plans. More than 25% of the total

Institute time was allocated for teachers to work on

their lesson plans. Work was done in computer labs,

with each teacher having access to his or her own

computer. They also had ready access to participating

Education and Engineering faculty and graduate

assistants for help.

2. Use peer teachers to provide support and guidance. The

use of peer teachers in the second year of the Institute

contributed to the project’s success. These teachers

shared their experiences during the previous Institute

and provided help and feedback to the new teachers

as they developed their lesson plans. We believe that

developing and involving this cadre of experienced

teachers will help us improve future Summer Institutes

and extend their impact.

3. Focus on real-world engineering problems and solutions.

The project’s focus on real-world issues kept the

Institute from becoming a theoretical exercise. Instead,

teachers were exposed to real-world engineering

applications that were specifically selected to be

relevant to middle and high school science and math

curricula and to motivate and excite their students.

This professional development opportunity introduced

teachers to a means of increasing the applied nature

of classroom instruction, which will hopefully boost

student math and science performance and increase

students’ interest in pursuing engineering and

technology careers.

4. Provide ongoing support of peer teachers, faculty, and

graduate students in the school year following the

Institute. This ongoing dialogue between faculty and

teachers was critical to extend the Summer Institute

into lesson-plan development and delivery once

teachers returned home. The Institute support was not

just a one-shot experience, but was a continual process

throughout the school year.

5. Ensure collaboration of Education and Engineering

faculty in development and implementation of the

Institute. Expertise from both disciplines was critical.

Engineering faculty provided the needed content

expertise and research examples; education faculty

structured the Institute based on effective professional

development research and practice and provided

pedagogical support to teachers as they developed their

lesson plans.

Future Directions

In the future, we will add a student component to the

Summer Institute, bringing in local middle and high school

students. Students will have the opportunity to interact with

engineering faculty, visit labs and facilities, and participate

in field trips designed to provide firsthand experiences. In

addition, teachers involved in the Summer Institute will

18 • The Technology Teacher • April 2010

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