Kemi Jona, Brian Reiser Build Understanding of STEM Education at National Conference

Kemi Jona, Brian Reiser Build Understanding of STEM Education at National Conference

Kemi Jona

With “STEM” in the spotlight as a national priority, professors Kemi Jona and Brian Reiser helped to deepen understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at a national conference in Washington, D.C. Both Learning Sciences faculty members led seminars at “Taste of STEM: Learning the Fundamentals about STEM Education” at Georgetown University on July 15.

Intended for newcomers to the STEM education arena, the conference was designed to help participants sort out the major debates in the STEM movement, key research about effective STEM strategies and what lies ahead on the horizon. “Taste of STEM” was organized by 100Kin10, a network of partners devoted to building excellent STEM teaching seeks to ensure that every child has access to quality STEM education by recruiting, training, hiring and supporting excellent STEM teachers.

Jona led a session on technology in STEM education, and Reiser led a session on the role of the Next Generation Science Standards in improving K-12 teaching, curriculum, and assessment in the United States. Reiser served on the National Research Council committee that authored A Framework for K-12 Science Education, providing guidelines for the new Next Generation Science Standards. Both initiatives draw on respected research to steer major improvement of K-12 science education.

During their seminars, Reiser and Jona discussed the history, key players, major debates, significant research and future directions of STEM education. In clinics at the end of the day, they answered participants’ questions and offered advice.

As the director of the Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP), Jona leads research and development projects in STEM curriculum design, cyberlearning, online and blended learning models, and web-based patient education and outreach. His current projects include the iLab Network, which provides remote online laboratories; Watershed Dynamics, where students connect directly to large-scale scientific databases to analyze hydrology data in their own watershed; and EcoCasting, which teaches computational modeling of complex systems through inquiry activities on ecosystems, food webs and bioaccumulation. OSEP programs include professional development workshops, mentoring programs for teachers and students, inquiry-based STEM learning programs for students and partnership initiatives between Northwestern University and K-12 schools and other organizations. 

Brian Reiser

Reiser researches how to make scientific practices such as argumentation, explanation and modeling meaningful and effective for classroom teachers and students. His design research investigates the cognitive and social interaction elements of learning environments supporting scientific practices, and design principles for technology-infused curricula that embed science learning in investigations of contextualized data-rich problems. Reiser leads the Scientific Practices project to develop an empirically based learning progression for scientific practices that specifies how learners can engage in constructing, applying, and refining scientific knowledge with increasing sophistication from elementary to middle school. He is also on the leadership team for IQWST (Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology), a collaboration with the University of Michigan developing a middle school project-based science curriculum. 

Reiser was co-principal investigator in the National Science Foundation's Center for Curriculum Materials in Science, exploring the design and enactment of science curriculum materials, and served on the National Research Council (NRC) panels authoring the reports Taking Science to School (2007) and A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011). He is now participating on an NRC panel to recommend more effective assessment of science learning, based on extensive research.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 3/7/17