Examining the influence that safety training format has on educators’ perceptions of safer practices in makerspaces and integrated STEM labs

Tyler S. Love, Kenneth R. Roy, Melvin Gill, Mark Harrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: The rising popularity of makerspaces and integrated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education labs has increased the safety/health hazards and resulting potential risks that schools, libraries, community centers, and educators must be prepared to address. Previous studies have demonstrated that adequate safety training can enhance educators’ safety perceptions and reduce accident rates. Method: Safety training was conducted in three different U.S. states for 48 educators working in K-12 STEM areas. Differences in the mode of delivery, length of the training, and types of hands-on activities instituted at each training site were examined in relation to the level of influence these factors had on educators’ safety perceptions. A modified version of the Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument (STEBI) was used, which had previously been adapted for similar safety studies and showed strong reliability measures. Results: The pre- and post-survey responses revealed that educators at the fully online and shortest training session did not experience significant changes in their safety perceptions. However, participants at the two face-to-face sites demonstrated significant gains in their safety perceptions. Most notably, the site that offered the longest training and integrated the most hands-on lab activities recorded the greatest gains. Additionally, correlational analyses corroborated that as the amount of hands-on activities and length of the trainings increased, there was a positive significant association with changes in educators’ safety perceptions. Conclusions: This research helps bridge the gap between industry and K-12 STEM education research regarding better safety training practices. The findings from this study can help promote safer teaching and learning environments, while also reducing liability and the chance of a serious accident. Practical Applications: State departments, higher education institutions, teacher education programs, school districts, and others providing STEM safety training to K-12 educators should utilize this research to reexamine their safety training policies and practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-123
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Safety Research
Volume82
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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