WISE design for knowledge integration


  • Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

  • This paper was partially prepared while Linn was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.


Scaling research-based curriculum to the multitude of science teaching standards and contexts has proven difficult in the past. To respond to the challenge, the Web-based Inquiry Science Environment (WISE) offers designers a technology-enhanced, research-based, flexibly adaptive learning environment. The learning environment can incorporate new features such as modeling tools or hand-held devices. Using WISE, design teams can create projects that bend but do not break when customized to support new school contexts and state standards. WISE curriculum projects are created by diverse design teams that include classroom teachers, technologists, discipline experts, pedagogy researchers, and curriculum designers. WISE inquiry projects incorporate Internet materials and build on the commitments and talents of teachers as well as the constraints and opportunities of their classroom contexts rather than imposing new practices without concern for past successes. These design teams create projects that incorporate diverse features of the WISE learning environment to form specific patterns that are then combined into whole projects. We refer to the whole projects as implementing curriculum design patterns for student activities. The projects are tested to determine how the curriculum design patterns promote knowledge integration, then reviewed by WISE researchers and revised accordingly (see M. C. Linn, P. Bell, & E. A. Davis, in press, Internet Environments for Science Education). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.). The most successful projects become part of the WISE library. This paper describes WISE design team practices, features of the WISE learning environment, and patterns of feature use in current library projects. The success of WISE in classrooms illustrates how flexibly adaptive projects can meet the needs of diverse teachers. Variation amongst library projects shows that designers can support inquiry with a wide variety of activities. Taken together, the library of projects and the success of students learning from them suggest that sustainable curricular innovations require extensive opportunities for customization and flexibly adaptive designs. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed87:517–538, 2003; Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI 10.1002/sce.10086