Technology Enhanced Learning in Science (TELS)
Emerging from research collaborations started over 25 years ago, the TELS Community develops instructional programs including the Web-based Inquiry Science Environment (WISE) that use educational technology to help students master complex scientific concepts.
The WISE Community consists of partnerships between teachers, educational researchers, practicing scientists, and technology experts. We develop free, standards-based inquiry science curricula and the open source WISE instructional platform. Local WISE teachers collaborate on research projects by providing their practitioner’s perspective during retreats, classroom studies, and interviews.
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.
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 curricula and assessments.
Proven Learning Gains
WISE curricula have been tested in middle and high school classrooms for over two decades.
Research has shown that WISE 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.
The WISE Community has operated many different funded research projects over the past 25+ years. Current projects include:
- Natural Language Processing Technologies to Inform Practices in Science (NLP-TIPS), which takes advantage of NLP methods for detecting student ideas to design adaptive guidance
- Anti-Racism Interactive Science Education (ARISE), which investigates how integrating anti-racist OERs with science curricula can promote equity and a commitment to oppose racism
- Supporting Teachers in Responsive Instruction for Developing Expertise in Science (STRIDES), which helps teachers design evidence-based responsive instruction