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Education - An Overview of NSF Research
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Photo, caption follows:

These students are among about 180 middle and high school students, primarily connected to Native American communities, who are participating in fieldwork to help develop scientific models to address problems in salmon recovery efforts in Oregon, Washington and northern California. The project is part of NSF's Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST), a program that prepares students and teachers in the use of a wide range of technologies for scientific learning.
Credit: Dan Calvert, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry


What Do Teacher Need to Know?
Teachers of mathematics and science, especially at the K-12 levels, critically influence the contributions students eventually make to the economy, from both the workforce and in the academic community.

According to education researchers, teachers need lifelong learning experiences that go beyond the level of subject knowledge they acquire in education degree programs. One prevailing view is that teachers of math and science should develop the habits of mathematical and scientific thinkers. With continued professional development, teachers must translate those processes into interactive, flexible methods of teaching in the classroom.

The Teacher Professional Continuum program provides support for teachers from preservice education through development to assume leadership roles in their schools and districts.

LessonLab, located in Los Angeles, for example, is providing online video courses for preservice K-8 teachers to help deepen understanding of both science content and teaching. Future teachers see lessons that challenge their understanding of material and interview both teachers and students about the intention and outcomes of lessons.

Adopting strategies from literacy research, the Education Development Center, a nonprofit organization in Boston, is developing resources that will enhance PreK-8 teachers' abilities to develop student science understanding. Experts are assembling modules linking science and literacy in classrooms and case studies of best practices.

A main feature of NSF's Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program is to create a climate for disciplinary faculty at the nation's colleges and universities to work together with K-12 math and science teachers to develop better classroom practices. Such new relationships are reexamining approaches to math and science education at all levels.

How do we measure and evaluate learning? [Next]