I’m coming to the field of instructional design and technology with the goal of aligning some of my interests in education and technology with a desire to see the development of a specific kind of curriculum and instruction done differently. I hope that through a program of rigorous research and design training, I can both begin to theorize and develop designs for the kind of curriculum and instruction that I feel most strongly about for k12 educational settings.
Specifically, I see a problem with the way our nation’s educational programs are defining and promoting STEM education as a solution to the workforce’s cry for more qualified practitioners of STEM careers. Most at odds in this discussion is the disconnect between the demand for higher test scores in STEM disciplines and the desire for innovation in STEM fields. This disconnect is directly related to what I see as misaligned instructional goals and objectives, as well as incomplete or ill conceived definitions of what constitutes STEM pursuits in education. A key goal for practitioners and visionaries in education is to produce educated citizens that meet a minimum competency and strive for a higher range of excellence. As a means to promote innovation in the workforce, STEM is more than the sum of the individual disciplinary parts of the acronym. I would ultimately like to theorize a STEM pedagogy that captures specific performance goals and objectives for STEM programs, and then design and develop a model STEM program that could be replicated. Ultimately, I could see myself working as a liaison between educational programs and the business community to bridge the divide between the kind of thinkers our schools are producing and the needs for innovation that our nation’s government and top businesses want to see our industries grow and thrive in a global economy.
Key aspects driving the STEM pedagogy are the concepts of interdisciplinary learning, integrated learning, constructivism, project based learning, student-centered learning, to name a few. I am still formulating what research theories drive these concepts, but cognitive load and theories related to complex and ill-defined problems will definitely play a role.