Adjunct Faculty, Learning Sciences and MSEd Programs
, Center For Connected Learning
2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-0001
Park View School
6200 Lake St.
Morton Grove, IL 60030
Phone: (847) 965-6200, x 166
BiographyI attended the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC), where I received a bachelor's of science and master's of science in mechanical engineering. I stayed in the UIUC community for 15 years, where I continued my education while gaining a variety of unique experiences as a student, educator, scientist and engineer from 1988 until 2003
I joined the Center for Connected Learning (CCL) as a consultant in the spring of 2004. In this role I developed instructional materials for Connected Chemistry through the Modeling Across the Curriculum project, which was a five-year research project to study the impact of computer modeling tools on science learning. Connected Chemistry addresses high school chemistry topics related to the behavior of gases and chemical reactions while also developing students' understanding of systems, models, equilibrium and change, and the nature of science. Currently I am also developing instructional materials for BEAGLE (Biological Experiments in Adaptation, Genetics, Learning and Evolution), which is a suite of NetLogo models and supporting materials designed to facilitate inquiry, teaching and learning of concepts and phenomena related to evolution, adaptation, and natural and artificial selection.
During the school year I work part-time for CCL, since I also work full-time as an eighth-grade mathematics and science teacher at Park View School.
Engineering to Education
Before entering education, I was an engineer. As an engineer I was struck by how well the science, mathematics and the art of design that are big parts of engineering were aligned to what I liked doing. From 1990-91, I worked at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory as a structural designer as a co-operative exchange student where I developed structural designs for electrostatics tests of cavities and the assembly of the initial assembly stages of the D0 particle detector array. In the early 1990s I worked as a private engineering consultant mostly for Caterpillar, Inc. I researched autonomous vehicle control methods for Wheel Loaders and helped develop hardware, software and graphics for the Caterpillar Virtual Prototyping System (1992-1995) (movie link). This system received national recognition in Discover, Newsweek, Fortune 500, CNN and variety of technical journals and trade publications. I developed scientific visualization research focused on fluid dynamics visualization in next generation hydro-electric fuel injectors (these HEUI fuel injectors are now included as standard equipment on Caterpillar engines), and he did industrial design work on ergonomics for the interior of a cab for a line of next generation backhoes (now included in the 420D/430D line of CAT backhoes).
As challenging and exciting as the research projects were, I was also finding that other work related to teaching, education and outreach was giving me richer meaning and personal connection in my life. Various teaching assignments at the university in undergraduate mechanical engineering and plant biology inspired me to learn more about teaching.
Through a series of experiences with Charles M. Weller and Don DeCoste in C&I 101 and Ed Dole in a introductory course for science teachers PlantBio100 (now Integrative Biology 100/101), I was transformed by the teaching and learning philosophy of my teachers (constructivism). I took additional teaching courses (thinking at that time that I might teach college), but had such a set of very positive pre-service teaching experiences in the Champaign middle schools and heard such incredible stories from my wife's efforts to detrack, differentiate, and try to build a constructivist approach to the teaching of 6th grade mathematics teaching at her school, that I was soon hooked on idea of becoming a middle school mathematics and science teacher like her.
I became a middle school teacher in 1995. I worked in the Urbana and Champaign middle schools for five years, first as a regular classroom teacher in Urbana and two years later as the gifted teacher for all middle school science and mathematics students in Champaign. While teaching, I evaluated some science education outreach efforts at UIUC, served as a regional and state judge for the Science Olympiad, and trained in-service teacher educators in computer-based teaching and learning tools.
Education to Education Reform
With the love of teaching, a love of the art of design from engineering, and a realization of the critical impact that well designed curriculum can have on student learning, I looked for opportunities to do work that brought these interests together through various education reform efforts.
In 2000, I joined the Shodor Education Foundation and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at UIUC as a mathematics and science education specialist. I worked on various projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education and National Science Foundation to prepare tomorrow’s teachers to use technology. And I developed various initiatives related to instructional materials design for science literacy with Project 2061 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This work fueled my growing passion for mathematics and science education reform and moved me to become very focused on the use of well articulated learning goals in the design and implementation of instructional materials.
I became more heavily involved in training educators and researchers in the use of computer based teaching and learning tools. Some of the tools included TI graphing calculators, digital probes, NetLogo (and StarLogo), Web-based Science Inquiry Environment, World Watcher, Project Interactivate, Stella, RiverWeb, Mathematica, Chemviz and Biology Student Workbench. I co-conducted seminars and workshops for in-service teachers and faculty in computational science, modeling and visualization with EdGrid, the National Computational Science Leadership Program, the SuperComputing 2002 (SC2002) Education Program, the SuperComputing 2003 (SC2003) Education Program, Revitalize, the National Computational Science Institute, and CSynergy. I was also the lead instructor for the UIUC College of Engineering weeklong G.A.M.E.S. computer science camp in the summer of 2003 for 8th-9th grade girls, which used NetLogo as a platform for the students to create their own computer games.
From these experiences, I actively looked for opportunities to have the best of both worlds (engage in more effective teaching and engage in more effective instructional materials design) by looking for opportunities to participate in the design of these high-quality instructional materials and also be a teacher who gets to implement such materials in the classroom. This led me to take a teaching position at Park View School District 70 in Morton Grove, Illinois), were I still teach today.
With the support of our administration and staff (Lisa Brody, Rob Pape, Melissa Segal, Keetra Tipton, and myself), our school has adopted very progressive educational materials in the middle grades for mathematics and science. My school's teachers have piloted and then subsequently adopted the Connected Mathematics Project 2 in grades 6-8 mathematics and has had great success with the program since 2006. My schools' science teachers implemented and piloted many reform based science units, including ones from both IQWST (Investigating Our World Through Science and Technology) and PBIS in the development phases for both of those programs.
I firmly believe that the IQWST curriculum is the most sophisticated, ambitious, coherent and accessible science curriculum for middle school kids of any our school piloted and evaluated. Having now adopted and taught IQWST in grades 6-8 at my school for the past 4-5 years, my fellow middle school science teachers and I are very excited to help other teachers and schools in their adoption or evaluation of IQWST, by providing training workshops for teachers new to the curriculum.
While the majority of my work with Northwestern is designing instructional materials with Uri Wilensky through the Center for Connected Learning, I also co-teach a project-based science education course (LS 435) with Brian Reiser on the science education research and practice related to inquiry-based learning, conceptual change, and curriculum and activity design. And, in the past few years I have been working with AAAS Project 2061 evaluating and testing science assessment items.
Awards/Honors2010 - National Board Certification - Teaching / Mathematics
1992 - Thiokol Award for Excellence in Engineering Design for Senior Design Project
|1994||MS, Mechanical Engineering||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|1992||BS, Mechanical Engineering||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
Research InterestsCurrent interests: Instructional materials design, Professional Development of Teachers, Scientific Modeling, Evolutionary Mechanisms, Visualization, Computational Thinking and Agent Based Modeling.
Lab AffiliationsCenter for Connected Learning
|LRN_SCI 435||New Approaches to Science Teaching This course will review current ideas about reforms in science education, drawing on recent research on science learning and instructional innovation, and on reform documents such as national standards. We will examine approaches that attempt to teach science throughout K-12 as a knowledge-building practice, i.e., by engaging in scientific investigations and participating in scientific practices such as argumentation, explanation, and working with scientific models. The course will provide experience in understanding student thinking, articulating learning goals, and analyzing and adapting curriculum materials in light of current research-based view of science learning. Fulfills an MSED requirement.|
|2004 - Current||
Center for Connected Learning
Instructional Materials Developer
|2003 - Current||
National Board Certified 8th grade mathematics & science teacher, Park View School
6200 Lake St.
Morton Grove IL 60053
(847) 965. 6200
8th grade mathematics and science teacher
National Center for Supercomputing Applications
Project lead on Educational Access Design Systems (EADS) and Curriculum Workbench Project.
Shodor Education Foundation
Workshop provider for National Computational Science Leadership Institute.
Champaign School District
Gifted Mathematics and Science Specialist for grades 6-8.
private consultant: developed ergonomics in cab for 426F backhoe, contracted for Caterpillar Inc.
Urbana School District
6th grade mathematics and science teacher,
University of Illinois at Urbaran-Champaign
Teaching assistnant in mechanical engineering courses and plant biology courses. Instructional materials developer in biology courses.
Private consultant: scientific visualizations, neural network and vehicle controls research. Co-developed virtual prototyping system.
Fermi National Accelerator Lab
Co-operative exchange student in mechanical engineering. Designed electrostatic bead test device and structural support for assembly of DO particle detector.
Last Updated: 2012-08-16 13:53:55