Article

Would increasing engineering literacies enable untapped opportunities for STEM Education?

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Abstract

The main focus here, is to examine the benefits of defining and developing an engineering curriculum for elementary schools. Like many other international educational systems, Australian educational settings have been seeking to effectively implement Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. However, current assumptions and expectations of STEM education are broad, poorly defined and intangible. This paper deliberates on possible contributions and impediments that are preventing teachers from achieving engineering education in their classrooms. Using Positioning Theory this paper offers possible ways that the specific literacies of engineering can be better realized in teacher practices. A closer alignment will be necessary between the visions and expectations of STEM education, as perceived by governments, business, industry and schools, to ensure a realization of the potential of STEM education. Engineering education in elementary school settings warrants the investment of time to understand what it proffers, and to enable teachers to identity and refine their practices to optimize the many benefits afforded.

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... However, neither the ''E'' component of STEM education, (i.e., engineering) nor the scope of engineering education is well defined. Consequently, there is no common definition of engineering that all educators share (Gibson, 2012;Redman, 2017). Nevertheless, definitions of engineering existing in the literature have some common features. ...
... While they did not focus on the related components of engineering design processes initially, at the end of the study almost all participants emphasized the designing process, and half of them considered the rest of the components. Applications specific to engineering provided opportunities to develop skills like creativity (Redman, 2017) and to consider certain criteria (Kelley and Knowles, 2016) throughout the design process. Moreover, to achieve high-quality STEM education, programs should ''integrate technology and engineering into the science and mathematics curriculum'' (Kennedy and Odell, 2014, p. 255). ...
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