Daniel Edelson

Professional Title
Vice President, Education
About Me (Bio)
As a textbook author, software developer and educational researcher, Danny Edelson has dedicated his career to improving young people’s understanding of the world they live in and their role in determining its future. In his position as vice president for education, he oversees National Geographic’s outreach to educators and its efforts to improve geographic and geoscience education in the United States and abroad. This work includes the creation of educational materials for learners of all ages, the delivery of professional development for educators, the implementation of public engagement programs, advocacy on behalf of geographic education in policy discussions and grant-making to support geographic literacy initiatives throughout the United States and Canada.

Edelson began his career in education as a researcher in learning technologies with a focus on environmental and geographic education. Prior to joining National Geographic in 2007, he was a professor in education and computer science at Northwestern University for 14 years. As part of his integrated research and development at Northwestern, he created and published both software and textbooks for schools, including My World GIS™, a geographic information system for grade 6 through college; “Investigations in Environmental Science,” a case-based environmental science textbook for high school; and a number of project-based earth science units for comprehensive middle school science programs. He also created professional development programs for educators from middle school through college and led several large-scale instructional reform efforts in the Chicago Public Schools.

Edelson has written extensively on motivation, classroom teaching and learning, educational technology and teacher professional development, drawing on research conducted with colleagues and students. He is an author of more than 50 papers in journals, edited books and conference proceedings, including “The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences,” “The International Handbook on Science Education,” Journal of the Learning Sciences, Journal of Research on Science Teaching, and The Science Teacher.

He received his Ph.D. in computer science (artificial intelligence) from Northwestern University and his B.S. in engineering sciences from Yale University.
National Geographic Society, American Geographical Society (AGS), Association of American Geographers (AAG), National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE)

This project will engage in a community-wide effort to synthesize the literature from a broad range of fields and to use the findings to create frameworks that will guide the planning, implementation, and scale-up of efforts to improve geographic education over the next decade. This will result in a set of publicly reviewed, consensus reports that will guide collaborative efforts and broaden awareness of the acute need for geographic literacy and geographic science education.

University of Michigan (UM)

This project is designed to enhance understanding of how online professional development environments contribute to teach learning, changes in classroom practice and changes in student learning in comparison to face-to-face professional development. Using secondary school teachers learning to use a reformed-oriented environmental science curriculum, groups of teachers will be randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (1) traditional face-to-face workshop, (2)self-guided online professional development, or (3)online “short course” professional development guided by a facilitator.