Monday, May 13, 2013

Petrosino Interview on NPR About STEM Education and Job Creation

President Obama visits Bobby Garcia's Robotics Class

at Manor New Tech HS, Manor, TX

Recently, I was interviewed by Kate McGee of KUT News, and NPR affiliate concerning STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education and STEM careers. The interview coincided with a visit to Austin by President Obama to Manor New Tech High School, a school that I have been involved with since its formation in 2007 and centers on Project Based Instruction and meaningful disciplinary knowledge and is part of the New Tech Network of schools across the nation. Manor New Tech is a public non-charter school. 

You can read and listen to the flu article and the piece that ran on the radio by clicking here: As Obama's High School Visit Nears, Education Advocates Question Emphasis on STEM

The core of the interview centered on the value of a STEM education but also indicated that it may not be a panacea for all that is effecting our troubled economy. I would encourage you to read the full article and to listen to the broadcast. 

I will also post more about the President's visit to Manor New Tech High School in Manor, TX

-Dr. Petrosino 
President Obama's visit to Manor New Tech comes
 as the White House, the private sector and some education advocates
continue to emphasize the importance of STEM education – science,
technology, engineering and math). But some say there may be too much
emphasis on STEM programs.

“It’s one thing to understand physics; it’s another thing to understand why some concepts in physics are difficult for students to understand,” says Anthony Petrosino with the UTeach program. “We put leverage on both of those.”STEM programs have gained popularity in recent years as a way to address a perceived lack of qualified candidates for tech jobs.  

Petrosino says the more people know about science, math and technology, the better. But he doesn’t think STEM will fill all high-tech openings.

“There’s some colleagues at Rutgers, Harvard saying, ‘You know, we’re graduating at the college level a number of STEM grads, but they’re not getting the types of jobs, benefits, incomes we may expect,’” he says. “We always want to be carful not be caught up in the frenzy.”

Picture: Provided by Mr. Bobby Garcia, Manor New Tech HS, Manor, TX. President Obama visiting Robotics Class-- Thursday, May 9, 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013

Instruction for Discovery Learning: Levels of Implementation Exhibited by a Sample of Algebra I Teachers

Hoffman, Shannah
The University of Texas at Austin

Master of Arts

Math Education
Document Information

May 2013


discovery learning; inquiry-based learning; project-based instruction; teacher orientation; mathematics education; student surveys; classroom observation; school culture

One type of instruction that is of particular interest in STEM education is instruction that actively engages students in inquiry and discovery. The author develops an operational definition of instruction for discovery learning (IDL) that adopts some of the fundamental commonalities among many reform-oriented instructional frameworks such as inquiry-based and project-based instruction. Four teachers—who received their bachelor’s degree in mathematics and teacher certification from the same undergraduate teacher-preparation program—and their Algebra I classes were observed with the focus on how particular features of IDL were being implemented in their classrooms. To gain further perspective on classroom practices and interactions, student surveys were administered to a total of 142 students and each teacher was interviewed. The student surveys focused on student orientations toward IDL, attitudes toward mathematics, and their perspective of IDL implementation in their class. Student survey data was analyzed through ANOVA, post hoc tests were used to identify significant pair-wise differences between teachers for which the ANOVA identified significance, and a factor analysis was used to evaluate the component loadings for the survey questions. The surveys revealed significant differences between perceived activities in the classes (p<0.05), but did not show very significant differences between student orientations toward IDL. All four teachers expressed familiarity with and commitment to reform-oriented frameworks such as inquiry-based and project-based instruction, and certainly experienced inquiry-based learning as students themselves in their undergraduate program. However, only one teacher—the one teaching in a New Tech high school that was structured on the framework of project-based instruction (PBI)—showed consistent differences in both student perspectives of IDL and observed implementation of IDL. The author discusses the levels at which these teachers implemented IDL, the differences among student perceptions across the classes, teacher orientations toward mathematics and learning, and the importance of a supportive school culture and administration in order to fully implement IDL and influence both student and teacher orientations toward reform-oriented pedagogy.

Petrosino, Anthony (chair)

Daniels, Mark