Engineering Design Initiative

  • Research Lab

What We Do

The Engineering Design Initiative aims to foster advanced and innovative performance across a range of subjects by integrating engineering design into K-12 classrooms. 

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At the School of Education and Human Development we believe engineering design engages students in solving authentic and relevant problems, making decisions in light of uncertainty, and developing criteria for their designs and understanding. Engineering design teams employ collaboration and communication skills as they apply economic and social knowledge to address real-world problems. Bringing engineering design into K-12 classes can give context to concepts in school while preparing students for the workplace of the future. Students use multiple forms of representation such as virtual and physical models of designs; they also collaborate and develop communication skills by sharing, critiquing, and refining designs. In this way, engineering design provides a relevant context for learning mathematics and science concepts and integrates writing and communication skills. Engineering design promotes a view of learning through iteration, in a process of refining and retesting. Students focus on finding bugs in designs or gaps in understanding instead of focusing on learning for a test.

Successful implementation of engineering design in schools requires thoughtful integration with the existing curriculum, careful assessment of student and teacher learning outcomes, and thorough preparation of teachers. Researchers, teachers, and professionals are working together at EHD to develop infrastructure to support these initiatives. This includes developing and integrating the engineering design process in multiple areas across the teacher preparation program as well as collaborations with in-service teachers. The WISEngineering interactive web-based platform provides an infrastructure for curriculum, assessment, and teacher support for engineering design projects. Through these efforts we hope to support students to dream, innovate, design, and create in their classrooms.

Associated Faculty

Glen Bull

Glen L. Bull

  • Professor

Kim Wilkens

  • Education and Outreach Director