Developing a Multi-disciplinary STEM Education Model for Multilingual Learners that Meets Societal Challenges

This project contributes to advancing knowledge on STEM education focusing on societal challenges by harnessing the convergence of STEM subjects, including data science and computer science, to empower a minoritized student groupmultilingual middle-school learners.

Full Description

This project contributes to advancing knowledge on STEM education focusing on societal challenges by harnessing the convergence of STEM subjects, including data science and computer science, to empower a minoritized student groupmultilingual middle-school learners (MLs). The research seeks to make two significant contributions. First, the project will develop a conceptual framework for multi-disciplinary STEM education with MLs to address pressing societal challenges. Second, over the course of four years, the project will translate this conceptual framework into practical implementation in classrooms, creating a comprehensive innovation to: (1) develop an instructional unit centered around a societal challenge in STEM education for MLs, utilizing the context of the COVID-19 pandemic; (2) create a teacher professional development (PD) program to facilitate successful implementation of the instructional unit in classrooms; and (3) Develop and validate a suite of instruments to measure the impact of the innovation on both students and teachers, evaluate the integrity of implementation, and assess its potential for diverse instructional settings.

The project is grounded in a conceptual framework that addresses pressing societal challenges and employs the convergence of multiple STEM subjects to explain these challenges. The primary goal is to empower MLs in STEM learning by recognizing and nurturing their assets, such as transnational experiences and rich meaning-making resources to build students' equitable participation in STEM education. The research will take place in New York City Public Schools, the largest school district in the nation, and will be conducted in three phases over four years. Phase 1 (Years 1, 2, and 3) will employ design-based research to develop, test, and refine the instructional unit and PD program iteratively. Phase 2 (Years 2 and 3) will focus on developing a suite of instruments to study the innovation, ensuring they are valid and suitable for future larger-scale studies. Phase 3 (Year 4) will finalize the instructional unit, PD program, and instruments, making them ready for implementation and broader use. The conceptual framework, innovation, and instruments will pave the way for future large-scale field trials. Furthermore, the project will serve as a foundation for extending STEM education to address other pressing societal challenges, such as climate change and sustainability. Finally, it will contribute to a research agenda that seeks to tackle complex and pervasive societal issues that disproportionately impact minoritized groups.

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