We live in a highly technological age, and the impacts of technology and engineering on the individual, society, and environment are great. Design, a fundamental aspect of technology and engineering, is also central to our department’s teacher preparation methods. The K–12 educational system, as well as society in general, can benefit from professionals who understand the impacts and value of developing the habits of mind of designers. Our department coordinates two undergraduate teacher preparation programs — Technology & Engineering Education, with a focus on preparing educators for the middle school and high school grade ranges, and iSTEM (Integrative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), with a focus on preparing educators for the PreK–8-grade range.
Both undergraduate teacher preparation programs are integrative STEM-based programs, studying various STEM content areas and problem-based learning educational methods. STEM content areas include the science and math applied in design processes (for K–12 environment), the historical and contemporary influence of designed objects, creativity, product development, human factors engineering, product modeling, problem-solving techniques, environmental and biotechnical systems, communications, electronics and computers, structures, mechanisms, and robotics. Emphasis is placed on understanding and applying core STEM principles and applying design-centric problem-based pedagogies. Courses are conducted in modern classrooms and laboratories housed in the School of Engineering.