It's a competitive world in which science, technology, mathematics
and engineering impact our economy, health, societal
well-being and policy. The National Science Foundation
plays a key role in enriching education and training
while preparing a diverse workforce and a technologically
literate citizenry. NSF supports research to educate
future leaders in critical fields that lead to groundbreaking
innovation and advancements in academic disciplines.
Since its establishment in 1950, NSF has supported student
education -- from the early introduction to mathematics and science,
through the college and postgraduate experiences. NSF also trains
elementary, secondary and college teachers, and develops
opportunities for future research scientists. NSF-supported
scientists, engineers and educators provide the ideas and
knowledge base for U.S. leadership in science and engineering.
The directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) has a simple goal:
to serve all learners well. Besides the activities in EHR, nearly all NSF
research components support education or training programs aimed at
students of all levels, as well as out-of-school populations. That
includes support for potential innovators who will contribute to our
nation's scientific and technical knowledge, those who plan to pursue
careers in science and technology (including teaching) and those who will
enhance our understanding of the societal influences and impacts of
science and technology as a foundation for responsible citizenship.
- An interdisciplinary group of researchers at George Washington University
in Washington, D.C., is examining how quality physical science courses affect
diverse student populations in a large school district. In addition to gathering
achievement data, this Interagency Education Research Initiative (IERI) study
is using video analyses of student interactions to identify the effects
of course materials on various groups of eighth grade students.
- Graduate teaching fellows at the University of Pennsylvania are learning
how to become skilled math and science teachers while supporting district
teachers in the predominantly African-American classrooms of West Philadelphia.
The classroom experience is helping the graduate students and teachers-to-be
to better prepare for diverse school environments, while supporting learning
among West Philadelphia students. The goal is to provide necessary fundamentals
and encouragement to enable students to successfully compete for science
and engineering-related jobs and careers.
- NSF’s Advanced Technological Education program, at Oklahoma City
Community College, has worked with local school districts to bring quality
biotechnology curricula into high schools, while involving parents and mentors
to raise interest among underrepresented students in biotechnology related
studies and careers.
- NSF supports public television series like Dragonfly, a series in which children
engage in their own scientific and hands-on investigations. In 2002, more than
250 public television stations carried the show, reaching 25 million people.
While most were children aged 6-11, about one-third of the viewers were adults,
suggesting that many families watch the program together. Meanwhile, other out-of-school
learning opportunities like exhibits and museums focused on science and aimed at children are
an important part of NSF's nationwide commitment to increase awareness,
knowledge and literacy in mathematics and science among student young and old.
To carry out its mission, NSF is developing a rigorous knowledge base by asking key questions.