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Science Times: An online repository of controversial, socio-scientific news stories enhances science education

Principal Investigators

David Zandvliet, Simon Fraser University

Dr. Zandvliet is an Associate Professor with the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University and an Adjunct Research Fellow at Curtin University of Technology (Australia). An experienced teacher and researcher, he has published numerous articles in international journals and presented refereed conference papers on six continents and in over 15 countries. His career interests lie in the areas of science, technology and environmental education. As a former director of the Faculty’s Centre for Educational Technology, he has considerable experience in the design and evaluation of classrooms and in the provision of teacher professional development. He has conducted research and development on learning environments in Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Taiwan.

Research Assistants

  • Carlos Gustavo A. Ormond, Investigating learning environments in place-based education settings: A participatory action research approach. (in progress). Doctoral dissertation, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC.

  • Susan Teed, Coming to terms with the education system: Words from a departing teacher (in Progress) Doctoral dissertation, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC.


Over a two-year period, students from grades 4 to 7 in one elementary school were exposed to an interactive teaching technique that employed controversial, socio-scientific news stories as a means of developing scientific literacy. By presenting students with current events, taken from an emerging, online repository called Science Times (, they examined, challenged, and discussed pressing and authentic issues, while engaging critically with the culture of science. In an age when socio-scientific issues inundate the media, students require these skills in order to makes sense of the world around them. There is great potential for such a resource to offer similar learning opportunities to the larger science learning community via its Internet delivery.


Conference Presentation

      • Ormond, C., Piersol, L., Teed, S., & Zandvliet, D. B. (2010, April). Case-studies in the development of place-based learning environments. Paper presented at the 2010 International Conference on Interpersonal Relationships in Education, Boulder, CO, USA.
      • Ormond, C., Zandvliet, D. B., Teed, S., & Piersol, L., (2010, March). The development of a place-based learning environment. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
      • Teed, S., Zandvliet, D. B., & Ormond, C. (2011, March). Science Times: Current, socio-scientific news stories written for students. Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, San Francisco, CA, USA.

    Instructional Resources

    • Zandvliet, D. B., & Teed, S. (2008–2010). Science Times magazine. News and resources. (






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