Infusing design, engineering and technology into K-12 teachers' practice

Dale Baker, Senay Yasar-Purzer, Sharon Kurpius, Stephen Krause, Chell Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A graduate course for teachers on Design, Engineering and Technology (DET) was designed to infuse DET concepts and activities into the teachers' own practice. Three teachers who took the course were studied in depth to document the impact of the course in helping them implement DET in their lessons. Data for this study consisted of open-ended pre and post surveys, seven reflection papers, a DET unit plan written by the participants and participant interviews. An emergent-theme qualitative data analysis revealed meaningful patterns of change as the data were organized, categorized, reduced, coordinated and verified. Four key themes were revealed through this process: Reflections on Practice; Changes in Practice; Intentions to Change Practice; Changes in Knowledge. The case studies showed the following changes that occurred in participants' own teaching activities. Alice, an elementary school teacher, changed her practice by using DET concepts through having her children design a desert tortoise habitat. Denise, who taught at a science centre, changed her practice by shifting from crafts-based to design-based activities. Dana, a high school honours chemistry teacher, changed her practice by having her students design and build a lab instrument (calorimeter) and design associated lab activities. The teachers reported that the course's sharing and interactive activities promoted their ability to change. These activities included: reading and discussing research on classroom applications of DET; discussing possible changes in their own practice; sharing successes and failures in developing and trying their own lessons; receiving feedback to refine their lessons over the semester. Overall, the course and its activities were a catalyst in transforming the teachers into a community of learners who supported one another as they infused DET into their practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)884-893
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 29 2007


  • Community of learners
  • Emergent-theme data analysis
  • Engineering design in K-12 practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Engineering(all)


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