Professional Development for STEM Integration Analyzing Bioinformatics Teaching by Examining Teachers' Qualities of Adaptive Expertise

Real-world science exploration, where STEM fields are integrated to address societal issues, stands in contrast to the compartmentalized courses offered in high school. This reality calls into question the utility of high school science teaching and learning for preparing a STEM-literate citizenry and for fulfilling workforce needs. Bioinformatics—a rapidly developing discipline that integrates mathematical and computational techniques with biological knowledge for applications in medicine, the environment, and other important aspects of life—is an example of an emerging field that illustrates the need for a greater focus on STEM integration in K12 education. Studies on teaching bioinformatics in high school reveal difficulties that arise from a lack of curricular resources and teacher knowledge to effectively integrate disciplinary content. In this study, we investigated challenges teachers experienced in teaching a problem-based bioinformatics unit after participating in professional development (PD) activities that were carefully constructed using research-based effective PD characteristics. We revealed these challenges by analyzing observations of teaching enactments through an adaptive expertise lens; more specifically, we investigated teachers’ abilities to translate PD and curricular resources into their teaching contexts. We suggest that effective PD characteristics should consider how teachers are able to become adaptive experts when teaching STEM-integrated curricula.

Yoon, S. A., Shim, J., Miller, K., Cottone, A. M., Noushad N. F., Yoo, J., Gonzalez, M. V., Urbanowicz, R., & Himes, B. E. (2022). Professional development for STEM integration: Analyzing bioinformatics teaching through considerations of adaptive expertise and cognitive load. In Teacher Learning in Changing Contexts (pp. 69-90). Routledge.