As part of a USDA-NIFA grant, Oklahoma State University hosted a weeklong bioenergy professional development session for agricultural education teachers, science teachers, and Extension educators across the United States. The workshop consisted of several classroom and laboratory sessions. Participants experienced several field tours and learned about and observed the cutting-edge bioenergy research being conducted at Oklahoma State University. Participants were also exposed to multiple laboratory-based, bioenergy-related experiments throughout the week. To determine impact of the professional development program on educators’ content knowledge, survey research was conducted prior to and at the end of the weeklong workshop and again 11 months after the conclusion of the program to gauge their retention of the content and to the rate at which they applied the material to their students. The study found educators’ bioenergy content and pedagogical knowledge confidence levels increased substantially (in excess of one point on a four-point scale) as a result of their participation in the workshop. Although their knowledge of bioenergy declined 11 months later, their self-perceived scores ranged between good knowledge and great knowledge, indicating the workshop made a positive impact on educators’ content understanding and their ability to apply bioenergy concepts in the classroom.
Keywords: bioenergy, content and pedagogical knowledge, professional development, program evaluation