Tennessee STEM Education Research Conference

January 11-15, 2021

 The 15th Annual Tennessee STEM Education Research Conference, a partnership between The Tennessee STEM Education Center at MTSU and The Millard Oakley STEM Center at Tennessee Tech, brings together researchers and educators to discuss STEM education studies and how they are applied in K-20 learning environments. The goals of this conference include:

  • Share current research questions, methodologies, and findings within disciplinary and interdisciplinary STEM contexts
  • Facilitate discussions between researchers and educators
  • Promote local, state and national STEM education collaborations and partnerships
  • Develop improved teaching methods for STEM topics
  • Provide networking opportunities across stakeholder communities

 The research conference will take place virtually.

Location of 2021 STEM Education Research Conference:

The 2021 STEM Education Research Conference will be taking place virtually. 

Conference Schedule

Thursday January 14, 2021

  • Online zoom sessions from 9 am-10:30 am (CST)
  • Keynote from Alan J. Daly from 10:45 am-noon (CST)

Friday, January 15, 2021

  • Online zoom sessions from 9 am-noon (CST)

Monday, January 11-Friday January 15, 2021

  • Asynchronous online poster session on Pecha Kucha

2021 Keynote Speaker: Alan J. Daly

alan j dalyAlan graduated from Clark University with a BA in Psychology, received a MS in Counseling from San Diego State University, and a MA and Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in Educational Leadership and Organizations from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Over the last 15 years, Alan has held a wide variety of positions in public education ranging from classroom teacher to district psychologist to site administrator. In addition to his K-12 public education experience, Alan has most recently been the Program Director for the Center for Educational Leadership and Effective Schools at the University of California, Santa Barbara where he collaboratively supported the delivery of high quality services and research to 5 school districts focusing on the rigorous examination of strengths, building leadership capacity, and facilitating the potential of systems for transformation.

Alan has presented at the local, state, and national level around conflict mediation, the creation and maintenance of positive school cultures, and the impact of current accountability structures. As a licensed educational psychologist, he has also provided consultation to school districts working to build and sustain systemic leadership capacity, district reform, and implementation of adult and student conflict mediation systems. Alan’s research interests include social capital, the analysis of social networks, trust, educational policy, and the building of strengths-based systems of support.

For more information about Dr. Daly, please visit http://eds.ucsd.edu/discover/people/faculty/daly.html


2018 Conference Photos



Instructions and Guidelines for Proposal Submission

Guidelines and Instructions for Proposal Submission

DEADLINE FOR PROPOSAL SUBMISSION: December 9, 2020 by 12 pm noon CST

Disclaimer: Registering on this website does NOT register you for attendance at the Tennessee STEM Education Research Conference 2021. This is only registering for proposal submission.


  1. Go to https://mtsuorsp.awardsplatform.com/
  2. To submit your proposal, you must register on the website by entering your information in the middle fields as shown below. Your email and password will be used to log back into the site.
    Submission pic
  3. After you have filled out all of the required fields, you will be taken to a portion of the site that looks like this:


  • The first thing that you will notice is that at the top of the screen, there is a list of dates for different events.
  • Underneath you will see a notification that looks like this:

                    p3 updated 

         You MUST go into your email and click on the verification email to continue registering.


  • The email that will be sent to you will look like this:


              You will need to click on the link that is in the email and it will take you back to the website. Your account is now verified.


  1. Once you have arrived back to the website, you will now have access to start your official proposal submission application.

                                              screenshot for proposal submission                

       Here you will use the drop down tab under “Event” and select the Tennessee STEM Education Research Conference 2021. Enter your Title of Proposal. Once this is done, you will be able to fill in your name and after and click “Save + Next.”

      As you fill out the application, each time you click “Save + next,” your work to that point is saved to your account. You may begin your application and      come back later to complete it without starting over again. Simply log back into your account using the email and password you created at the                      beginning.

  1. After providing all required information and attaching your proposal as a PDF, complete the process by clicking the “Submit Application” button on the “Attachments” tab.


You have now succussfully completed the submission process for the Tennessee STEM Education Research Conference 2021 and will be notified    when judging is finalized. If you have any questions or problems, please contact Mandy Singleton at the Tennessee STEM Education Center at MTSU at mandy.singleton@mtsu.edu or call (615) 898-5762.


Abstract Guidelines 


Abstracts should be limited to between 250-500 words, not including references. Include in the abstract a brief overview of the significance of the research, the research question(s), data collected, and a summary of the primary findings.The First Call for Abstracts deadline is Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 12 PM noon CST. If there are still presentation slots available, a second call will follow.


Abstract Example:

The primary goal of professional development programs is to support teachers in increasing student achievement. In many cases, this requires a significant change in how mathematics is taught (Sowder, 2007). In turn, this demands not only a change in teachers’ beliefs (Pajares, 1992) but also a new vision for what mathematics teaching entails (Ball & Cohen, 1999). Unfortunately, professional development often fails to support teachers in making these changes as it does not provide opportunities for teachers to view reform-oriented teaching practices with students similar to their own (Santagata, 2011).

With this limitation of professional development in mind, we designed our professional development project to include demonstration lessons. In demonstration lessons, project participants (who were middle grades mathematics teachers) visited a school site where a fellow participant taught. Within this participant’s classroom, project staff members taught mathematics lessons to the participant’s students while visiting project participants observed the lessons.

Project staff members included mathematics education faculty and graduate students from the university. Through this experience, project participants not only had the opportunity to observe reform-oriented teaching practices but also observed this work with students who were very similar to their own. Project participants attended three demonstration lessons during a single academic year. Recognizing the unique opportunity this provided, we sought to document the impact of these demonstration lessons by gaining insights into the participants’ views. Specifically, the following research questions were posed.

1. How does viewing reform-oriented demonstration lessons impact teacher practice as reported by teachers?

2. What are teachers’ perceptions of the benefits of demonstration lessons in established classes?

Researchers have indicated that teachers need opportunities to observe reformoriented instruction (Borasi & Fonzi, 2002; Santagata, 2011). Including observations of reform-oriented instruction in professional development programs seems to be a logical means for providing these needed opportunities. The significance of this study rested in its examination of demonstration lessons as a setting for observing reform-oriented instruction and the potential demonstration lessons held as a viable option for supporting teacher learning in professional development.

Five participants were selected for interviews. Interviews consisted of a set of openended questions that primarily focused on the transfer of information from demonstration lessons to the individual classrooms of the teachers. Transcripts of the interviews were analyzed utilizing an open-coding process. Results indicated that observing demonstration lessons provided participants with a vision of reform-oriented instruction that could be transferred into their own classrooms. As a result of these observations, participants reported that they returned to their classrooms with a goal of improving their questioning techniques and supporting their students in thinking deeply about mathematics. Meeting this goal was supported by their use of the demonstration lessons.


Ball, D. L., & Cohen, D. K. (1999). Developing practice, developing practitioners: Toward a practice-based theory of professional education. In L. Darling-Hammond & G. Sykes (Eds.), Teaching as the learning profession: Handbook of policy and practice (pp. 3–32). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Borasi, R., & Fonzi, J. (2002). Professional development that supports school mathematics reform. Foundations series of monographs for professionals in science, mathematics, and technology education. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.

Pajares, M. F. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs and educational research: Cleaning up a messy construct. Review of Educational Research, 62, 307-332.

Santagata, R. (2011). From teacher noticing to a framework for analyzing and improving classroom lessons. In M. G. Sherin, V. R. Jacobs, & R. A. Philipp (Eds.), Mathematics teacher noticing: Seeing through teachers’ eyes (pp. 152–168). New York: Routledge.

Sowder, J. T. (2007). The mathematical education and development of teachers. In F. K. Lester, Jr. (Ed.), Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 157-224). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Tennessee STEM Education Center

820 Fairview Ave,
Suite 102
MTSU PO Box 82
Murfreesboro, TN 37132