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Research Areas

INSPIRE’s faculty and staff have backgrounds in Engineering, Science Education, Mathematics Education, Engineering Education, Educational Psychology, Counseling and Curriculum and Instruction. This diversity allows INSPIRE to bring a wide range of STEM expertise to our research that addresses specific issues related to pre-college engineering education. INSPIRE’s advisory board is comprised of leaders from the industry, P-12 schools, university, and informal education spaces.

INSPIRE’s faculty serve on the Executive Boards for two different divisions of the American Society for Engineering Education as well as the Research in Engineering Education Network. In 2011 INSPIRE received a College of Engineering Faculty Award of Excellence. Additionally three out of five faculty members have received NSF CAREER awards and one has received the PECASE, and INSPIRE faculty and staff have received over $15M in NSF funding.

Over half of INSPIRE's faculty and staff and a number of our graduate students have worked in the public school system as teachers, district curriculum specialists, and as a school counselor. INSPIRE worked to introduce engineering into the 2010 Indiana state science standards and has two members who serve on the Indiana STEM Action Coalition – a group that strives to ensure that all Indiana students have access to quality STEM education opportunities.

INSPIRE researchers explore how providing humanistic contexts for engineering design problems can improve students' engineering skills AND appeal to a broader, more diverse audience of students.

INSPIRE researchers explore how using engineering as a connection to teach engineering, mathematics, science, and technology can improve students' learning and engage more students in the classroom and beyond.

INSPIRE researchers found a relationship between science learning and design learning but no robust relationship between design performance and student learning.

INSPIRE researchers explore how people learn not only in school settings but also out-of-school settings: everyday activities, interaction with family members, visits to science centers, and play with toys and games.

INSPIRE researchers explore how young children think and learn about engineering in formal and informal learning environments. Their goal is to identify the ways young children make sense of the world as "little engineers" and to generate knowledge for the creation of curricula that will develop ability, knowledge and interest in engineering.

INSPIRE researchers explore different aspects of student engagement to enhance student learning, motivation, and their sense of belonging in and out of school environments.