Enhancing Use of Learning Sciences Research in Planning for and Supporting Educational Change: Leveraging and Building Social Networks

William R. Penuel, Philip Bell, Bronwyn Bevan, Pam Buffington, Joni Falk
Journal of Educational Change, May 2016, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 251–278


This paper explores practical ways to engage two areas of educational scholarship—research on science learning and research on social networks—to inform efforts to plan and support implementation of new standards. The standards, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS; NGSS Lead States in Next generation science standards: For states, by states. National Academies Press, Washington, DC, 2013), have been adopted by U.S. states serving more than one-quarter of all students, and they are grounded in decades of research on how students learn science. In this paper we discuss efforts to leverage recent research on social networks to inform standards implementation across a set of professional associations and school districts. These efforts are being undertaken by the Research + Practice Collaboratory which is testing a set of conjectures related to how the knowledge base from both research and practice can mutually inform STEM education improvement.