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Critical Support Systems to Enhance the Development and Assessment of 21st Century Expertise in Engineering Students

  • Enrique PalouEmail author
  • Silvia Husted
  • Gladis Chávez-Torrejón
  • Zaira Ramírez Apud
  • Lourdes Gazca
  • Judith Virginia Gutiérrez Cuba
  • Nelly Ramírez-Corona
  • Aurelio López-Malo
Chapter
Part of the Educational Communications and Technology: Issues and Innovations book series (ECTII)

Abstract

Our goal is to enhance the development of the broad range of so-called 21st century expertise in engineering students by designing critical support systems. Recently our Department generated new curricula for its undergraduate degrees in chemical, food and environmental engineering. These new “integrated and spiral” curricula (that started in fall 2012) include several departmental courses considered chemical, food, and environmental engineering “pillars”, which were revamped to enhance the development of 21st century expertise. “Pillar” courses were redesigned taking into account technological advances and recent research on human learning and cognitive processes that underlie expert performances. Using the Framework for 21st Century Learning, and guidelines from research on How People Learn we: defined the standards for chemical, environmental, and food engineering 21st century expertise; created formative and summative assessments to evaluate student attainment of it; designed instruction activities to promote this expertise; developed professional development opportunities for “pillar” course instructors; and generated corresponding learning environments to foster 21st century expertise in these courses. By means of Tablet PCs and associated technologies high-quality learning environments were created to promote an interactive classroom while integrating multiple formative assessments. Up to date “pillar” courses are improving student understanding of the engineering method, ability to solve practical problems and complete real-world projects while developing 21st century expertise. This chapter discusses results of implementation at selected “pillar” courses, particularly with regards to metacognitive awareness, critical and creative thinking while emphasizing the potential of Tablet PCs and associated technologies to facilitate cognition and learning.

Keywords

21st century learning Creative thinking Metacognition Critical thinking How people learn Tablet PCs 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We acknowledge financial support from HEWLETT-PACKARD (HP) through the HP Catalyst Grant Initiative for the project “Critical Support Systems to Enhance the Development of 21st Century Expertise in Engineering Students: Using Tablet PCs and Associated Technologies, the Framework for 21st Century Learning, and Guidelines from Research on How People Learn”. Author Chávez-Torrejón gratefully acknowledges financial support for her PhD studies from Universidad de las Américas Puebla. Author Husted gratefully acknowledges financial support for her PhD studies from Programa de Mejoramiento del Profesorado (PROMEP) of the Mexican Ministry of Public Education (SEP) and Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez. Authors Ramírez Apud and Gazca acknowledge financial support for their PhD studies from the National Council for Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACyT) and Universidad de las Américas Puebla. Author Gutiérrez Cuba gratefully acknowledges a postdoctoral fellowship from CONACyT.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enrique Palou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Silvia Husted
    • 1
  • Gladis Chávez-Torrejón
    • 1
  • Zaira Ramírez Apud
    • 1
  • Lourdes Gazca
    • 1
  • Judith Virginia Gutiérrez Cuba
    • 1
  • Nelly Ramírez-Corona
    • 2
  • Aurelio López-Malo
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Science, Engineering, and Technology EducationUniversidad de las Americas PueblaPueblaMexico
  2. 2.Chemical, Environmental, and Food EngineeringUniversidad de las Americas PueblaPueblaMexico

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