5th/6th Graders and Preservice Teachers Explore Engineering and Coding in a Combined After-School Technology Club/Educational Technology Course
Abstract: Elementary schools are increasingly encouraged to adopt STEM education efforts that include engineering and programming, yet pre-service teachers (PSTs) are not traditionally prepared to teach these subjects. This pilot study describes an innovative preparation experience designed to help PSTs gain experience and confidence in these areas. As part of an undergraduate educational technology course, PSTs led an after-school technology club at a local public school. PSTs enrolled in the course worked alongside fifth and sixth grade students on a series of collaborative design challenges that culminated in the creation of animal-inspired robots. The “WoW Club”, as it came to be known, introduced both student populations to engineering, coding, and robotics, while allowing them to interact and develop skills in a low-stakes environment. The approach was found to have a positive impact on PSTs’ engineering self-efficacy and coding self-efficacy.