Special Issue | 19 April 2013Education

INTRODUCTION—In this special issue of Science, we have invited experts to tell us what they think are the most important challenges facing science education. Through a mixture of News, Reviews, Perspectives, Education Forums, and an Editorial, we explore the obstacles to progress, be they within the classroom, across the school system, or in the larger social arena. We also offer substantive suggestions on how to proceed. For example, distance education, online simulations as educational aids, and social networking tools are already part of science education. Many university faculty members are working to upgrade centuries-old approaches to instruction. And, with a new emphasis on the practice of science, promising assessment tools are being developed to improve learning. [Read the full introduction]

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From Science


Prioritizing Science Education

Science's Editor-In-Chief suggests three Grand Challenges that focus on teachers, ties with the business community, and college-level science education.

Transformation Is Possible If a University Really Cares

The same attention to scientific detail that led to his Nobel Prize is helping Carl Wieman improve how undergraduates learn science.

The Challenge of Education and Learning in the Developing World

Efforts to improve educational outcomes in developing countries need to be tuned to the unique social structures and economics of those settings.


Understanding Neurocognitive Developmental Disorders Can Improve Education for All

Understanding the neurological basis of learning disabilities, more complex than current categorizations suggest, may provide insight into how to optimize learning contexts for individual learners.

Physical and Virtual Laboratories in Science and Engineering Education

Combinations of virtual and physical laboratories offer advantages that neither one can fully achieve by itself.

Teacherpreneurs: A Bold Brand of Teacher Leadership for 21st-Century Teaching and Learning

Teacherpreneurs, classroom experts who teach students, but also have time and incentive to share their ideas and practices with colleagues, are necessary in education reform.

Professional Development for Science Teachers

Professional development for science teachers is critical to meeting new curriculum standards.

A Business View on U.S. Education

Successful students are those who have practical experience and are able to think and do, not just look up things on the internet.

Outside the Pipeline: Reimagining Science Education for Nonscientists

Building scientific understanding in the general public requires understanding of the motivations and interests that bring people to science.

Generating Improvement Through Research and Development in Education Systems

Opportunities to improve education depend on how we integrate research and practice.

Proficiency in Science: Assessment Challenges and Opportunities

Figuring out what students have learned becomes more complicated as the educational demands move from rote knowledge to conceptual and practical knowledge.

From Science Signaling

Graduate-Level Teaching Resource

p53 as Batman: Using a Movie Plot to Understand Control of the Cell Cycle

Analogies with characters and scenes from a Batman movie illustrate how p53 regulates the cellular response to stress.
Graduate-Level Teaching Resource

Using Partial Least Squares Regression to Analyze Cellular Response Data

Multivariate data and context-dependent signaling can be analyzed with the computational approach of PLSR.
High School-Level Teaching Resource

Transport Proteins

Animated lessons describe the classes of transport proteins and illustrate mechanisms of transport.
High School-Level Teaching Resource

Intercellular Transport

Animated lessons illustrate the permeability of four classes of molecules across the plasma membrane and diffusion between cells through gap junctions.
High School-Level Teaching Resource

Coupled Transport Protein Systems

Animated lessons describe gastric pumps, glucose absorption, and CFTR as examples of coupled systems of transport proteins.
High School-Level Teaching Resource

Charged Membranes

Animated lessons describe how Na+/K+–ATPase generates an electrochemical gradient across a membrane and provides two examples of how the energy of charged membranes is utilized.

Also in this Special Issue:

  • Education Forum
    Opportunities and Challenges in Next Generation Standards
    Goals for literacy, math, and science education may increase citizens’ capacity to argue from evidence.
  • Education Forum
    Driven by Diversity
    Evidence is growing on benefits, and approaches, to increase diversity in the science and engineering workforce.
  • Science Careers
    A Downstream Pathway into Teaching
    Scientists with a passion for pedagogy are turning to alternative certification programs to facilitate a transition into the classroom.

Related Resources

Community Action
Citizen Science
  • Citizen Science Central A gateway to citizen science projects.
  • Science Cafes Meet, eat, and talk about science.
  • Foldit Play a computer game and solve protein folding problems.
  • Galaxy Zoo Classify galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
  • Makerspace A gathering point for tools, projects, mentors, and expertise.
  • UK Government-issued Education Materials Advanced training materials for autism; dyslexia; speech, language and communication; emotional, social and behavioural difficulties; moderate learning difficulties.
Specific Language Impairment
Virtual Labs
Reforming Education

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