Web-based Inquiry Science Environment (WISE)

Emerging from research collaborations started over 25 years ago, the WISE Community develops instructional programs that use educational technology to help students master complex scientific concepts.
WISE workshop work

Our Work

The WISE Community consists of partnerships between teachers, educational researchers, practicing scientists, and technology experts. We develop free, standards-based inquiry science curricula (https://wise.berkeley.edu) and the open source WISE instructional platform (https://github.com/WISE-Community/WISE). Local WISE teachers collaborate on research projects by providing their practitioner’s perspective during annual summer retreats, classroom studies, and teacher interviews.

Knowledge Integration

Students grapple with multiple conflicting and confusing ideas about science. Research has shown that instruction is most effective when teachers use students’ views as a starting point for scientific investigations.

When teachers and instructional materials guide learners as they articulate their repertoire of ideas, add new ones, sort out their ideas in a variety of contexts, and make connections at multiple levels of analysis, they develop more nuanced evaluation criteria and formulate a linked set of views about scientific phenomena. We characterize this as the Knowledge Integration framework and it forms the basis of WISE projects and assessments.

Proven Learning Gains

WISE curricula have been tested in middle and high school classrooms for over two decades in more than ten school districts.

Research has shown that WISE curriculum units improve student learning of difficult standards-based science topics and that students continue to integrate their ideas and strengthen their understanding even after the units have been completed.

Research Goals

1. Curriculum Development

Create and document new learning environments enriched by models of scientific phenomena that teachers can customize; test them in schools with diverse student populations.

2. Professional Development

Increase the number and diversity of teachers and administrators who can take full advantage of technology-enhanced science education.

3. Graduate Education

Expand graduate programs that prepare leaders and experts in science education technology, curriculum development, professional development and education policy.

4. Science Education Research

Increase the amount and quality of research examining how effectively technology can improve science learning.

5. Effective Use of Technology

Form partnerships dedicated to enhancing technology-enhanced science education; form open source communities to design improved instructional materials.

NSF Funded Projects

The WISE Community has operated many different National Science Foundation funded research projects over the past 25+ years. Current projects include: