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Efficacy of the Technological/Engineering Design Approach: Imposed Cognitive Demands Within Design-Based Biotechnology Instruction

Author:

John G. Wells

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University., US
About John
Associate Professor in the Integrative STEM Education Program at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
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Abstract

Though not empirically established as an efficacious pedagogy for promoting higher order thinking skills, technological/engineering design-based learning in K–12 STEM education is increasingly embraced as a core instructional method for integrative STEM learning that promotes the development of student critical thinking skills (Honey, Pearson, & Schweingruber, 2014; Kolodner, 2002; NGSS Lead States, 2013). To demonstrate the efficacy of these practices for promoting student use of higher order thinking skills (schematic and strategic knowledge), a group of mixeddiscipline (STEM) students enrolled in a 16-week Biotechnology by Design™ graduate course were immersed in a series of biotechnology design challenges developed to intentionally teach select content and practices of technology and engineering design concurrent with those of science and mathematics. A preexperimental, one-group pretest–posttest design was used to assess student responses to the continuum of cognitive demands imposed by the biotechnology design challenges. Overall findings indicate strong connections between student gains in biotechnology content knowledge and practices and supports the conclusion that technological/engineering design-based learning strategies improve a student’s capacity for responding to all four levels of imposed cognitive demand (declarative, procedural, schematic, strategic), lead to deeper learning of both content and practices, and promote student development of schematic and strategic (higher order) thinking skills.
How to Cite: Wells, J. G. (2016). Efficacy of the Technological/Engineering Design Approach: Imposed Cognitive Demands Within Design-Based Biotechnology Instruction. Journal of Technology Education, 27(2), 4–20. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21061/jte.v27i2.a.1
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Published on 22 Mar 2016.
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