Increasing Student Interest and Attitudes in STEM: Professional Development and Activities to Engage and Inspire Learners
The iQUEST (investigations for Quality Understanding and Engagement for Students and Teachers) project is designed to promote student interest and attitudes toward careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The project targets seventh- and eighth-grade science classrooms that serve high percentages of Hispanic students. The project design, student summer camp program, and professional development model have led to successful increases in student performance. The iQUEST student summer camp findings show that underserved populations of both female and male students experienced increased interest and attitudes toward science and technology. The iQUEST professional development model seeks to transform middle school science teachers from digital immigrants to advocates for technology being a critical part of student learning through integration of innovative technology experiences in formal science settings. Classroom observations illustrate how teachers have successfully implemented lessons that engage students in hands-on investigations, leading to deeper understanding of science and, therefore improving the potential of underrepresented students competing in STEM fields.