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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Integration of Authentic STEM Practices in Real-World Education and Research Environments: Lessons from the PDP

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

A significant focus of the ISEE Professional Development Program (PDP) is identifying authentic STEM practices, so that educators and scientists can develop and assess these practices as intentionally as they would scientific content knowledge. In addition to the classic inquiry-based learning activities, PDP alumni also find themselves using and teaching these STEM practices in other contexts. Many PDP participants have benefited from recognizing "STEM practices" as its own category of specific skills and knowledge, allowing them to build these practices into their work intentionally, rather than simply expecting these skills to develop naturally as a by-product of learning STEM content. We present four instances where PDP lessons have been put to work by alumni of the program in this manner, either in teaching and mentoring students, performing real-world scientific research, or both. First, we consider two instances of alumni using their PDP training to inform the way they build authentic STEM practices into college classrooms and college mentorship, at the College of St. Scholastica and at UC Santa Cruz. Next, we describe a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) in which students learn and employ authentic STEM research practices at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Finally, we present an example of an alumna who has used her identification of widely-applicable STEM practices to broaden her own research horizons at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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