SEMINAR - First-Year Effect of the Engineering Professional Development Program on Teachers

Event Date: October 11, 2012
Speaker: Dr. So Yoon Yoon, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, and Dr. Heidi Diefes-Dux, ENE & INSPIRE
Time: 3:30-4:20pm
Location: Armstrong Hall, B071
Contact Name: Dr. Demetra Evangelou
Contact Phone: 494-4158
Contact Email:

As a part of a four-year longitudinal project, this study reports the first-year effect of teacher professional development (TPD) on the first cohort of elementary teachers to integrate engineering. Guskey’s (2003) TPD evaluation framework was extended in the research design for this project, which incorporates school, teacher, and student characteristics.

Thirty-two teachers in second through fourth grade from seven schools attended a one-week summer academy and integrated engineering lessons throughout the following academic year. Based on a pre- and post-test research design, multiple measures were utilized to 1) examine changes in teachers’ knowledge and perceptions regarding engineering and 2) investigate variations thereof by school and teacher characteristics.

Overall, teachers were satisfied with the engineering TPD program, significantly increased their engineering design process knowledge, and became more familiar with engineering. While teachers’ knowledge about engineering did not vary by school and teacher characteristics, some aspects of teachers’ perceptions regarding engineering differed by school and teacher characteristics.

So Yoon Yoon, is an INSPIRE post-doctoral researcher at Purdue University. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a specialty in gifted education and holds two master's degrees in Research Methods & Measurement and Astronomy & Astrophysics, and a BS degree in Astronomy & Meteorology. Her work centers on the development and validation of instruments particularly useful for P-16 STEM education settings (e.g., the Revised PSVT:R and the TESS), the evaluation of engineering teacher professional development programs, and the investigation of P-16 students’ spatial ability to understand its association with their academic performance and talents in STEM fields.

Heidi A. Diefes-Dux is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She received her B.S. and M.S. in Food Science from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in Food Process Engineering from the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University. She is a member of Purdue’s Teaching Academy. Her primary research focuses on the development, implementation, and assessment of model-eliciting activities with realistic engineering contexts. She is currently the Director of Teacher Professional Development for the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE).  In this capacity, her research interests focus on the integration of engineering in primary education.  She served on the Indiana State Department of Education committee that revised the state science standards to include engineering. She also served on the National Academy of Engineering committee Exploring Content Standards for Engineering Education in K-12.