Maine DOE’s new Science & Technology Specialist and a new Blog venue

It is a pleasure for me to introduce the Maine DOE’s new Science and Technology Specialist, Shari Templeton. Shari brings a passion for science education and student learning, not to mention 30 years of experience in four districts to her new state role. Until this month, Shari taught at Wiscasett High school and served  as the  district’s K-12 Science Coordinator.  We are fortunate that our conversations about science education will be watched over and supported by this talented teacher and committed professional.

The welcoming of our new State Science Specialist comes with another move.  Maine DOE is taking this opportunity to integrate regular posts related to science into the Commissioner’s Weekly Update.  Shari Templeton, will  share important information about science education standards along with information about education topics such as educator effectiveness and proficiency-based education.  To make this transition seamless all 370 members of the SciTech Framework community will be subscribed to the Commissioner’s Weekly Update this week.  We look forward to serving you with science news in this new format and we hope that you will continue to follow along in the Newsroom and the Professional Development calendar for the latest information and opportunities from the Department. It is important that individuals beyond the science education community know about the great work happening throughout the state in science education, and by integrating these updates in to the Department Newsroom and Update, we can be assured science ed news is getting many more eyes upon it and the attention it deserves.

Please put your hands together and join me in welcoming Shari Templeton to her new role!

National Academy Launches Initiative to Boost K-12 Engineering Education

From blogger Alyssa Morones, Newsroom Intern at Editorial Projects in Education

As engineering education gains a stronger foothold at the K-12 level, the National Academy of Engineering is launching an initiative to help guide educators into what is often unfamiliar terrain.

With support from a $1.5 million grant provided by multi-national energy giant Chevron Corp., the project will create an online clearinghouse of resources for educators, and also connect teachers and school administrators with engineering education experts, according to a news release.

As we’ve reported here at Education Week, there’s ample evidence that engineering—the “E” in STEM—is getting increased attention at the K-12 level. One new development that is sure to help the cause is the inclusion of a concerted emphasis on engineering design in a new set of common standards for science. The Next Generation Science Standards were developed by 26 states and several national organizations, including Achieve, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that is also going to be collaborating on the new initiative with the National Academy of Engineering. (To date, eight states have adopted the science standards.)

Other partners in the new enterprise include the National Science Teachers Association, the American Society of Engineering Education, and the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association.

A description of the plans indicates that the National Academy and its parters will collect, organize, and share best practices and research on the most effective ways to implement engineering education in K-12 classrooms. In addition to curricular support, though, the initiative will incorporate their findings on the best ways to help educators gain knowledge and confidence to teach engineering in their classrooms.

Greg Pearson, a senior program officer at the NAE, said in an interview that, while the National Academy believes that the new emphasis on engineering in relation to other STEM subjects is important and good, “we’re also aware that most of the intended audience is no prepared, and probably largely insecure about their abilities to teach engineering.”

To help alleviate this, the initiative will compile existing research that identifies the best approaches to teaching engineering and technology, to help students better understand the field and its interaction with other STEM subjects.

The New Normal: The Changing Face of Education

This presentation at the celebration of UMF’s  150th directly addresses the first practice of the NGSS.  Please make time to attend.

The New Normal: The Changing Face of Education

Teacher Education’s Celebration of UMF’s 150th presents:

A Workshop with Dan Rothstein,

co-director of the Right Question Institute and co-author of

Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions 

Wednesday, November 6th at 7:00pm in the North Dining Hall, Olsen Student Center

This is an active learning experience about teaching the skill of question formulation; a deceptively simple practice that has the potential to transform learning for all students. When students learn to produce their own questions, improve their questions and strategize on how to use them they:

•      Become more engaged in their learning

•      Take more ownership

•      Learn more

Learning to ask questions may be the single most important learning technology available to us all. It is also a simple powerful practice that costs nothing and has remarkable staying power once learned. You are invited to a unique opportunity to actively learn how students can develop the ability to ask their own questions and contribute to a discussion about how this could help improve education on all levels.

Software that supports NGSS

A colleague share the following post about technology that supports the implementation of the vision of the Next Generation Science Standards. It looks like a great resource.

How technology can help usher in new K-12 science standards

Education futurist David D. Thornburg in this commentary writes about five technology tools that can help teachers integrate the Next Generation Science Standards. Among them are Celestia, software that allows users to explore the solar system and more, as well as PhET, which allows students to simulate experiments and test their hypotheses. Thornburg also suggests hardware that can help improve the transition. T.H.E. Journal magazine (exclusive preview for SmartBrief subscribers)

Resources related to science assessment of the future

Here are some more resources from the Science Assessment Symposium held in September 2013.

The K–12 Center at ETS recently collaborated with a dozen other organizations and held the Invitational Research Symposium on Science Assessment, which brought together many of the individuals at the forefront of K–12 science education and assessment. The purpose of this symposium was to discuss how the latest advances in measurement, cognitive science and technologies could support the development of next generation science assessments — formative, benchmark and summative — to measure the very complex competencies called for in these standards.

We are pleased to share with you several resources that are now available on our website:

  • Seven commissioned papers by leading experts in science assessment that explore the measurement challenges and opportunities ahead as new systems of science assessments are designed;
  • More than three dozen slide presentations from science educators and assessment experts; and
  • Videos of the two closing sessions.

Please download and share these resources with your colleagues.

In addition, we will soon send an invitation to join a webinar in which the highlights of the symposium and a summary report by Rodger Bybee will be discussed.

We look forward to hearing your feedback, as we strive to serve as a catalyst and resource for the improvement of measurement and data systems to enhance student achievement.


Pascal (Pat) D. Forgione Jr., Ph.D.
Distinguished Presidential Scholar and Executive Director
Center for K–12 Assessment & Performance Management at ETS
701 Brazos Street, Suite 500
Austin, TX 78701
Office: 1-512-439-0864

MLTI Tools that support investigation/modeling

I thought you would be interested in this information about software titles you may have used that support investigation and modeling.

Dear MLTI Schools,

In years previous, two software titles were routinely included on the MLTI device, Pasco’s DataStudio and Simbio’s EcoBeaker Maine Explorer. Neither title was included in the recent proposal process. In order to attempt to accommodate consistency, the Department has worked with these software partners to make these available to some MLTI schools.


PASCO’s latest software is SPARKvue ( This software will interface with PASCO’s science probes that many schools own and use. MLTI is working with Apple and HP to make this software available to laptop schools (HP ProBooks and Apple MacBook Airs). MacBook Air schools will find SPARKvue available for download and installation through the Self Service portal. ProBook schools will find SPARKvue available in the software library in the Enabled121 portal.

The software is a 1-year trial version. The Department is actively working with PASCO to make available to schools a purchasing opportunity for those schools that wish to continue to use this software in the 2014-2015 school year. Details will be released soon.

SPARKvue is also available for free for iPad devices through the Appstore. The free version “SPARKvue” provides complete data collection functionality with PASCO data probes when used with the PASPORT AirLink 2 Bluetooth adapter, but does not include full analysis and journal tools. For more information about the PASPORT AirLink 2 Bluetooth adapter, please contact Craig Luckfield, or 518-755-7864. For a complete analysis and data package, schools may investigate SPARKvue HD. This version is available for $3.99 per device through the Appstore. The Department recommends that schools wishing to purchase apps for the iPads do so through Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP). Schools purchasing at least 20 licenses are eligible to purchase SPARKvue at 50% off through VPP. For more information about VPP, schools should contact Tara Maker, or 207-318-1070.

Simbio’s EcoBeaker Maine Explorer

The Department has worked with Simbio to bring Maine Explorer back to the MacBook Air (Apple Alternate) solution schools. The software has been tested with Mac OS X Mountain Lion. When Mac OS X Mavericks is available, the Department will work with Simbio to verify that the software still functions as expected. The Department will continue to work Simbio to determine compatibility with future operating system releases, but cannot guarantee compatibility with future operating system software updates.

The Department is investigating options to upgrade EcoBeaker Maine Explorer to full compatibility with future Mac OS X releases as well as iOS and Windows so that it could be available to all participating schools. More information about this will be released soon.

Thank You






Hi All!  

Everyone I speak with tells me how busy the start to the 2013-2014 school year has been!  I certainly agree.  I have lots of science information to share in the weeks ahead but let me start with some news about the Symposium on Science Assessment that will take place next week.  It is particularly exciting that parts of the symposium will be broadcast. Read more below. 


Mark Your Calendar: Live Webcast from Symposium on Science Assessment

Dear Colleague:

On September 24–25, more than 250 science and assessment experts will gather in Washington, D.C., to discuss the measurement challenges and opportunities posed by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and comparable, complex assessment expectations in science and engineering. We invite you to join us in real time to watch and listen to our closing session on Wednesday, September 25, 2013, and to send in your questions for the panel.

NOTE: The link for the webcast page will be available at The webcast will take place from 1:15–3 p.m. ET on September 25, 2013.

  • Session 7: Panel Discussion on the Policy and Practice Implications of the NGSS (1:15–2:30 p.m. ET)
    • Mitchell Chester, Moderator, Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education and President of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Board of Directors
    • David Evans, Executive Director, National Science Teachers Association
    • Shirley Malcom, Head of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science
    • Helen Quinn, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Professor of Physics (Emeritus), Stanford University
    • Richard Shavelson, Margaret Jacks Professor of Education (Emeritus) and I. James Quillen Dean of the Graduate School of Education (Emeritus), Stanford University
  • Session 8: Next Steps in Working with States and Districts on Next Generation Science Standards and Assessment (2:30–2:45 p.m. ET)
    • Chris Minnich, Executive Director, CCSSO
    • Stephen Pruitt, Senior Vice President, Achieve, who is heading the NGSS work at Achieve and the Science SCASS group at CCSSO

To send in questions for the panelists, be sure to set up a Twitter account in advance, “follow” @K12Center, and then tweet questions to us as the webcast is aired.

A recording of the webcast as well as all papers and slides will be available in early October on our event webpage.

NGSS summer reading

Summer is a great time to get familiar or deepen your familiarity with the Next Generation Science Standards. In the last few weeks many educators across the state have contacted me asking where they can get the standards.  The best resource is the NGSS page.  From this page you can access the standards as well as the NGSS Appendices.  The Appendices include many valuable resources for educators including Appendix D, the equity case studies; Appendix K, the Model Course Mapping for Middle and High School; and Appendices L and M, Connections to CCSS. And don’t forget . . . A Framework for K-12 Science Education continues to be a valuable resource for understanding the intent of the standards.  You can access all of these resource as free downloads.  What a gift!

Take it slow!

The word from the science education community on NGSS is “take it slow”. I could not agree more!  The shift to NGSS will take purposefulness and support as we adjust curriculum, instruction and assessment.  This Education Week article provides perspectives from around the country.

Grand Challenges in Education

April’s special issue of Science magazine focuses on the Grand Challenges in education.  This is Bruce Alberts’ last month as editor of Science Magazine and it was his choice to make a special issue devoted to science education.
Don’t miss reading this edition. You will need to register in order to access the full text of the articles. As Margo Murphy, a ninth grade science teacher at Camden Hills Regional High notes, “There are lots of ideas in this issue to ponder and add to your own thinking. Bruce Alberts is a true believer in public science education.”