Partnering Land and communities for equitable and inclusive STEM learning
Effective Years: 2021-2023
The goal of the project is to explore Land education pedagogy and its curriculum and pedagogical innovations in the preparation of Native and non-Native educators to engage Native and non-Native students in environmental STEM education on Indigenous lands. The investigator will implement a professional development plan focused on pedagogical innovations within various teacher education and environmental STEM learning programs to (a) understand the tools and technologies that can support these innovations and (b) develop new research methods for understanding the impact of these innovations on individuals, communities, and socio-ecological systems. The research builds on the investigator’s prior inquiries on culturally connected identity and how technology can be used to deepen observation skills and communicate to broader audiences while not distracting from students’ engagement. The project will advance this knowledge and build new collaboration through network engagement.
The research project uses the Actor Network Theory and Critical Indigenous Research Methodologies to frame the research design and approach. There are four driving questions: (1) What affordances does Land education pedagogy offer in creating inclusive and epistemologically diverse STEM learning environments, building more equitable relationships to particular places and to socio-ecological systems, and impacting the diversity of the STEM workforce? (2) What tools and technologies can assist in sustaining long-term, mutually beneficial relationships to support the preparation of Native and non-Native educators who will engage in educational strategies that lead to diverse STEM workforce on indigenous lands? (3) What are the impacts of a Land education pedagogy on individual students’ sense of belonging and STEM identity, communities of educators’ approaches to STEM engagement, and the health of broader socio-ecological systems? Data will be collected from K-12 and graduate students using autoethnographies, photovoice and symbol-based reflections, observations, and network mapping. Evidence will be analyzed using content and discourse analysis. The research findings will inform programs that employ Land education pedagogy to shape more equitable and inclusive environmental STEM education for students and teachers and to increase STEM persistence among underrepresented populations.
The project is funded by the Mid-Career Advancement Program that enables scientists and engineers to substantively advance their research program and career trajectory.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.