EiE Research named “Best Paper” at National Conference on Engineering Education
Friday, June 27, 2014
A study that draws on data from an EiE research project has been named “Best Paper” at this year’s annual meeting of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).
“Perspectives on Failure in the Classroom by Elementary Teachers New to Teaching Engineering” explores what teachers think about failure in the classroom and finds the majority hold a negative or ambivalent view.
Traditionally in education, failure is stigmatized, but in engineering, failure is considered routine—an ordinary and useful part of the engineering design process. The paper explores the tension between these outlooks.
The lead author, Pamela Lottero-Perdue, an associate professor at Towson University, analyzed surveys and interviews from EiE’s NSF-funded research project “Exploring the Efficacy of Elementary Engineering” (E4). This three-year, $3 million project aims to identify the key design elements needed to make an elementary engineering curriculum effective.
“Engineering educators who work with teachers must understand that redefining failure is not simply a sematic shift; rather, it’s a cultural shift,” says Lottero-Perdue. “Going forward, it will be important to insure that professional development and pre-service coursework clarify the difference between 'failure' and 'mistakes.'”
Before being selected as Best Paper for the conference overall, “Perspectives on Failure” was named best paper in ASEE’s K-12 Division. The conference took place June 15 – 18 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“This is a great honor for Pam and for EiE collaborator Liz Parry, who contributed to the paper," says EiE director Christine Cunningham, "and a wonderful first recognition of the importance of our E4 research for the field of curriculum design. Hopefully this is just the first of a series of high-quality studies we will produce.”