Plenary Speaker Profile (2023-24)
Brian Reiser
Learning Sciences Professor
Northwestern University
Supporting Next Generation Science Learning with Science Storylines

Abstract: Research-based reforms of science education (A Framework for K-12 Science Education, 2012; Next Generation Science Standards, 2013) present a vision for teaching and learning in which students experience science as connected to their own questions, interests, and identities. I will describe a “storylines” approach to science teaching, in which each step in students’ learning is motivated by the questions they articulate and problems they identify through their interactions with real-world phenomena. We have worked with elementary, middle school, and high school teachers across the country using science storylines to empower their students in science learning that their students see as more relevant to their lives, their families, and communities. I will use classroom video and student work from storyline classrooms to illustrate the teaching and curriculum materials design approaches that support this more meaningful approach to science learning.

BRIAN J. REISER is the Orrington Lunt Professor of Learning Sciences in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. Reiser’s work explores how to make science learning more meaningful in K-12 classrooms as students investigate questions and problems they identify. Reiser’s research examines how to support students in science knowledge-building practices through storyline curriculum materials and teaching approaches, and how teachers learn as they enact these reforms. Reiser heads NextGen Science Storylines, a researcher-teacher collaborative developing and investigating design principles for storyline units in which students help manage the trajectory of science knowledge building. Reiser leads the Northwestern team of the OpenSciEd Developer’s Consortium, a partnership with ten state education agencies to design and field test storyline instructional materials. The project has released a freely available middle school science curriculum in 2022, and is currently developing materials for K-5 and high school. Reiser was a member of the National Research Council’s Board on Science Education from 2011 to 2018, serving on the NRC committee authoring A Framework for K-12 Science Education (guiding development of the Next Generation Science Standards, NGSS), and reports recommending policies for NGSS assessment and implementation. Reiser collaborated with districts and states around the country to design and support professional learning programs supporting K-12 teachers in NGSS implementation. Reiser was a founding member at Northwestern of the first graduate program in Learning Sciences, chairing the program from 1993, shortly after its inception, until 2001. Reiser is a Member of the National Academy of Education, a Fellow of the International Society of the Learning Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association. Reiser earned his Ph.D. from Yale University and has been a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University and professor at Princeton University.