Research on Gateway Project is Promising
January 18, 2013
Recent research by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute (UMDI) to determine the effectiveness of the Museum of Science's Gateway to Technology and Engineering project is promising. The Gateway project was created in 2005 to help Massachusetts school districts develop strategic action plans to implement K-12 technology and engineering programs, while introducing educational leaders to resources supporting standards-based curricula and assessments. Gateway is a project of the Museum's National Center for Technological Literacy®.
Many educators in the UMDI study credit Gateway with positive impacts, including increased knowledge of 1) best practices in technology and engineering education and 2) Massachusetts technology and engineering standards; providing high-quality classroom projects and lesson plans; and helping create district-wide strategic plans. They noted that support for systemic change to technology and engineering education from stakeholders increased significantly. While the study sample was small and there were competing influences beyond the project's control, the findings are encouraging.
Over 90% of 2011 Gateway respondents said it was a "highly" or "moderately" important resource, identifying the initial three-day summer institute and Gateway staff site visit to their district as most important.
A Dennis-Yarmouth, Mass., educator whose district piloted a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Academy at the high school with 84 8th graders, said, "Gateway helped support our vision with resources and assistance and made us realize that we should make the STEM Academy available for all students."
About 75% of educators reported their Gateway participation between 2005 and 2010 had a "moderate" or "great" impact -- providing high-quality technology/ engineering classroom projects and innovations, increased knowledge of best practices and of Massachusetts technology/engineering standards, and aid creating district-wide plans.
Replicated in Maine and Texas, Gateway has involved 85 Mass. districts, serving 430,000 students, and over 400 K-12 educational leaders. The strategy of guiding STEM-based educational reform via district-wide change is unique. The Mass. STEM Advisory Council has endorsed Gateway as a scalable model for advancing STEM education.