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If nothing else, the last 18 months during this worldwide pandemic have demonstrated the fragility and limitations of our education system. We asked more of teachers as they addressed a broadening range of student needs during an exceedingly difficult time that was amplified by gross inequities in technology for teaching and learning.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) provides a powerful framework for strengthening science literacy and helping students think and act as real-world scientists. However, as OpenSciEd Executive Director Jim Ryan says, the new standards ask teachers and students to conduct themselves differently in the science classroom, which can pose challenges.
When the global pandemic forced the closure of college science departments across the nation, Dr. Kari van Zee, Dr. Ryan Mehl, Dr. Rick Cooley, and graduate student Phil Zhu—department faculty and research members at Oregon State University—had to think fast. They were faced with the unprecedented challenge of changing their hands-on senior-level research methods course so it could support remote and hybrid models of learning.
For over a year now it has been undoubtedly challenging to deliver the hands-on learning experiences that are so important to helping students make meaningful scientific connections. Even as next school year will likely begin under more normal circumstances, new challenges will need to be addressed.
What is three-dimensional learning? How do we develop and change how we teach as science educators? How do we get students to do the heavy lifting? And, how do we ensure that students become active—rather than passive—learners?
A Call to Action for Science Education, a comprehensive report published by the National Academies of Sciences, outlines the need for equitable access to quality science learning experiences that help enable students to develop the deep scientific literacy skills and understanding they need for personal and professional success.