You are here:

Educators in Industry: An Exploratory Study to Determine how Teacher Externships Influence K-12 Classroom Practices ARTICLE


Journal of STEM Education Volume 19, Number 1, ISSN 1557-5284 Publisher: Laboratory for Innovative Technology in Engineering Education (LITEE)


This exploratory study investigates the impacts of industry-based externships for K-12 teachers, and reports teachers\u2019 perspectives on how these experiences influenced K-12 classroom practices. The program of focus in this research study is the Educators in Industry: K-12 Externship Program. For four weeks in the summer, teacher-participants are placed at a company whose primary focus is engineering, continuous improvement, manufacturing, or other design or process-oriented activities. Participation in the program also involves completing an accompanying 2-credit university course in the summer, and a 1-credit follow-up course in the fall. In this qualitative research study, transcripts from individual interviews with teacher-participants were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Results from this study provide empirical evidence that teachers who participated in an industry-based externship program demonstrated an increased understanding of the fundamental importance of skills for problem solving, collaboration, and communication in today\u2019s workplace environments, and expressed commitment to creating classroom opportunities for students to develop these skills through active learning in relationship to authentic, “real world\u201d contexts.


Bowen, B. & Shume, T. (2018). Educators in Industry: An Exploratory Study to Determine how Teacher Externships Influence K-12 Classroom Practices. Journal of STEM Education, 19(1),. Laboratory for Innovative Technology in Engineering Education (LITEE). Retrieved September 22, 2018 from .


View References & Citations Map


  1. Achieve. (2017, November 13). What is college and career readiness? Retrieved from
  2. Barrett, D., & Usselman, M. (2005). Experience to impact: A comparison of models of university-based summer
  3. Basalari, J., de Seriere, A., Hawkins, D., & Miller, D. (2017, March). Externships transform teaching practice. National Science Teachers Association Reports, 28(7), 3.
  4. Bowen, B.D. (2014). K-12 teacher internships: Professional development in the engineering design process and STEM learning. Annual Proceedings of the American
  5. Bowen, B.D. (2015). K-12 Teachers in Industry: Teaching transformed through authentic work experience. Annual Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, Seattle, WA. (Poster Presentation).
  6. Bowen, B.D. (2016). Educators in Industry: Using teacher externships as a professional development model in STEM education. Annual Proceedings of the
  7. Bowen, B.D., & Finch, J. (2014). There’s an app for that! Using smartphone app design for engaging students in biological ecosystems. The Science Teacher, 81(3), 41-47.
  8. Bowen, B.D., Kallmeyer, A., & Erickson, H. (2017). Research experiences for teachers in precision agriculture and sustainability. Annual Proceedings of
  9. Farrell, A.M. (1992, March). What teachers can learn from industry internships. Educational Leadership, 49(6), 38-39.
  10. Kantrov, I. (2014). Externships and beyond: Work-based learning for teachers as a promising strategy for increasing the relevance of secondary education. Waltham, MA: Education Development Center, Inc.
  11. Maxwell, J.A. (2005). Qualitative research design: An interpretive approach, (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. National Academy of Engineering and National Research
  12. Council. (2009). Engineering in K-12 education: Understanding the status and improving the prospects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  13. Newman, F., Marks, H., & Gamoran, A. (1996). Authentic pedagogy and student performance. American Journal of Education, 104(4), 280-312.
  14. NGSS Lead States. (2013). Next generation science standards: For states, by states. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21). (2017a, November 13). P21 framework for 21st century learning. Retrieved from
  15. STEM Education Coalition (2017, October 27). STEM Education Coalition resources. Retrieved from Ts/
  16. Stepien, W., & Gallagher, S. (1993). Problem-based learning: As authentic as it gets. Educational Leadership, 50(7), 25-28.
  17. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1994). Grounded theory methodology: An overview. In N.K. Denzin & Y.S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 273–285). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

These references have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake in the references above, please contact