Brian Reiser Keynotes Conference on Next Generation Science Standards

Brian Reiser Keynotes Conference on Next Generation Science Standards

Brian Reiser

As a keynote speaker at a major conference for Illinois educators, Learning Sciences professor Brian Reiser discussed the research-based recommendations for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). These national standards, designed to support scientific literacy for the 21st century, aim to improve K-12 science education.

"Teachers in the Lead: New Illinois Learning Standards for Science (New ILS)," which iincluded two keynote talks and numerous breakout sessions, was held at Illinois State University on September 6. The conference was funded by the Department of Education and Illinois State Board of Education.

Reiser’s keynote on “Supporting Next Generation Science in K-12 Classrooms” highlighted the three major shifts embodied by the NGSS standards. “These shifts challenge current widely used widely used assessments, curriculum materials, and the manner science is often taught in classrooms,” according to Reiser, a Learning Sciences professor and a member of the National Research Council panel that developed guidelines for the standards.

Reiser says the three main innovations for science learning encompassed by the standards are as follows:

  • Learning is organized around a small number of core science explanatory ideas, focusing on deeper treatment of central explanatory models, rather than a superficial treatment of too many topics.
  • Students use science and engineering practices to develop these ideas through investigation and explanation of how and why phenomena occur.
  • The standards characterize coherent progressions, in which students build connections between ideas over time and between science disciplines.

In his keynote, Reiser emphasized the implications of these aspects of the new standards for classroom teaching, curriculum materials, and K-12 assessments. He also presented specific examples of next generation science learning.

In his research Reiser examines 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. Reiser 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.
By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 9/9/14