Daniel Zalles


Professional Title: 
Senior Educational Researcher
About Me (Bio): 
I specialize in research, development, assessment, and evaluation projects devoted to presenting students with place, data, and inquiry-based STEM learning opportunities, primarily in K-12 environmental science but secondarily in undergraduate environmental science and after-school informal learning programs. I am currently the principal investigator of two projects devoted to climate change education (the NSF-funded Studying Topography, Orographic Rainfall, and Ecosystems with Geospatial Information and the NASA-funded Data-enhanced Investigations for Climate Change Education) plus one collaborative NSF-GEO project with the University of Washington about river environments and restoration options (Data-driven Inquiry in Geoscience Environmental Restoration Studies). I am especially interested in how to blend open-ended student investigations of real data with direct instruction in canonical scientific knowledge, plus how to prompt students to think critically about how data are collected and used to draw conclusions. I also work on how to assess student learning outcomes through designing assessments rooted in principles of evidence centered design, and in supporting diverse student learning through scaffolding the interpretation of models and representations as well as inquiry processes. Several years ago, as principal investigator of an NSF GEO project (Data Sets and Inquiry in Geoscience Education), I produced curricula and assessment resources around investigations of local climate change and am continuing this line of work in the two current climate change education projects.
SRI International

This project is using innovative Geospatial Information Technology-based learning in high school environmental science studies with a focus on the meteorological and ecological impacts of climate change. The resources developed are using ArcGIS Explorer Desktop and Google Earth software applications to increase students' learning and interest in science and careers and will be adaptable for teachers to improve classroom implementation.