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Can Design Thinking Help Us Reinvent Professional Development

#Twitter: 
#olc54589
Presenter(s)
Patrice Torcivia Prusko (Cornell University, USA)
Whitney Kilgore (University of North Texas, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 1:30pm
Track: 
Faculty and Professional Development & Support
Areas of Special Interest: 
K12
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
All
Session Type: 
Information Session
Location: 
Northern Hemisphere E4
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Session: 
Concurrent Session 7
Abstract

How can we collaborate in order to support K-16 STEM educators so that we can better prepare the students of the future?

Extended Abstract

Context
How can we collaborate to inspire K-12 STEM educators to change the focus from teaching to learning? Working together we can change the trajectory of education in STEM fields for ALL.

For well over 20 years researchers have been trying to determine what factors influence a woman's choice and ability to persist in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors and related careers. Today, the number of women seeking STEM degrees continues to be a concern. Although the gap between the number of women and number of men pursuing STEM careers is decreasing, still a significantly lower number of women than men are entering and persisting in the STEM fields.

The US Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology's Future Ready project points to the need for online educator professional development. In this session we will explore ways in which we can address the needs of the K-16 STEM educator with online professional development offerings to supplement their campus or district professional development.
Approach
In many classrooms teachers are overwhelmed with meeting the standards and teaching to the test. The gap that exists today between what is being taught in classrooms and what is needed in industry must be closed. The goal of the professional development that is created as a result of this conversation would be transformational in that it could bridge gaps and ensure that educators were better prepared to support the learning of our future generation. Much of what is lost is the fun in learning and opportunities for students to feel empowered. How can we help teachers create a safe space for students to explore and find their passion and not fear failure? In order for students, especially women, to pursue and persist in STEM careers it must be meaningful to them. The classroom environment needs to open their eyes to the wide variety of ways a STEM career can give them the tools they need to have an impact on the world.

How we will interact with the audience
In this interactive session, participants will be given real world scenarios where there are problems to solve. Teams organized at each table to work together in order to solve challenges and create solutions that will drive design decisions for future initiatives that will fundamentally change online teacher professional development paradigm that exists today.

Design Thinking Process
Design thinking is a creative way of solving problems. By considering both present and future conditions and parameters of the problem, alternative solutions may be explored simultaneously. We will take them through the first three steps of the design thinking process (empathize, define and ideate) to find solutions to the problem of a lack of professional development focused on learning environments that inspire students to study STEM.
Learning Outcomes
The participants will collaborate to:
Solve wicked challenges related to educator professional development.
Understand how to apply the design thinking process to online professional development problems.

Lead Presenter

I am currently an instructional designer at Cornell University. My primary areas of support include international collaborations, online course development and e-Portfolios. Prior to my position at Cornell I taught marketing in Panama, Santo Domingo, Prague and Lebanon using a blended learning model. I incorporate cloud computing tools to increase engagement while the students work online and for collaborations across cultures.
I recently earned my PhD at UAlbany School of Education. The title of my dissertation was Five Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Majors: A Portraiture of their Lived Experiences.