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Wrap-up

Congratulations on completing all three modules!  So, what now?  Some educators participating in this training might already be comfortable and connected with engineering. Some educators may struggle with seeing themselves using engineering practices. We can expect a similar diversity of experiences among visitors to our museums.

As you’ve experienced, engineering is not limited to just technical skills. Engineering is an inclusive practice. You don’t need to fit a specific mold or have a certain background to take part in engineering. Unique perspectives and contributions can greatly enhance the way we look at engineering. Skills such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork are essential parts of engineering. These diverse skill sets and perspectives foster collaboration and help us tackle challenges from different angles, leading to innovative and effective solutions to complex problems. 

Utilizing the elements of story sharing is a tool we have to help support visitors to make their own personal connections and center their lives and lived experiences at our museums. 

However, unlike the DOT research project, educators generally do not have the opportunity to share a three-minute story with a visitor, nor would we ask educators to do that. Instead, much like snippets highlighted in the last video, we can use elements of story sharing. We can be explicit and tell people they are doing engineering. We can connect the usefulness of engineering practices to things we already do – brainstorming, watching others, reading directions, explaining why something happened. By connecting engineering practices in the C-PIECE Framework to our own lives, we can have these tools ready to use.

Instead of just helping visitors successfully complete an engineering challenge, we can connect their process with personally relevant engineering practices. For example, when we see someone at an exhibit or when we are helping someone, we could say something like, “I see you are looking at all the materials before you begin. I do the same thing when I’m cooking dinner. I like to get out all of my ingredients before I start. Do you ever get out all your materials before you start a project? (Wait for them to share) When we do that, we’re using the same practices that engineers use.”

The goal of this PD has been for you and other informal educators to recognize the ways your personal stories can engage visitors.  By engaging in story sharing, visitors can self-generate the value of engineering practices in their daily lives and when addressing community level challenges. We hope this PD has added story sharing as an important skill in your facilitator toolkit.

Congratulations! You have completed the DOT Educator Personal-Professional Development. You are now ready to try out the concepts from these modules in your informal education work!

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-1811617. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.