Transforming science education through research-driven innovation

Daniel C. Edelson


Executive Director and President

Daniel Edelson joined BSCS as Executive Director and President in January 2015. He brings significant experience as a curriculum and educational software developer, educational researcher, and advocate for science and social studies education to this role.

Before coming to BSCS, Dr. Edelson was Vice President for Education at the National Geographic Society from 2007-14. During this time, he also served as Executive Director of the National Geographic Education Foundation, overseeing a $3.5M annual grantmaking program. In these roles, Dr. Edelson led National Geographic’s educational outreach and reform efforts.

At National Geographic, Dr. Edelson oversaw the creation of the Society’s award-winning education portal, the launch of educational citizen science and interactive mapping initiatives, and the establishment of an innovative online professional development program for teachers. He also led a 5-year capacity and leadership development initiative for the 54 members of the National Geographic Network of Alliances for Geographic Education, and he served as the Principal Investigator for an NSF-funded national consensus project that created a road map for improving geography education over the next decade.

From 1993-2007, Dr. Edelson was on the faculty of Northwestern University with a joint appointment in the School of Education and Social Policy (Learning Sciences) and the School of Engineering (Computer Science). At Northwestern, he conducted a program of integrated research and development focused on improving earth and environmental science education. In this work, he developed innovative curriculum materials and software, as well as professional development programs, for middle and high school science. He also participated in several district-level efforts to implement instructional reform in Chicago Public Schools and elsewhere. In the context of these development and implementation efforts, Dr. Edelson conducted research on design, student motivation and learning, and teacher professional development.

As a curriculum and software developer, Dr. Edelson is the author of Investigations in Environmental Science: A Case-Based Approach to the Study of Environmental Systems, a textbook for high school environmental science, and contributed to Project-Based Inquiry Science and Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology (IQWST), two comprehensive middle school science programs. He also developed National Geographic FieldScope, My World GIS, and WorldWatcher, educational software applications for visualizing and analyzing geographic data. All of these works were the products of NSF R&D grants.

As a researcher and advocate, Dr. Edelson has written extensively on geoscience, geography, and environmental science education, motivation, instructional design, educational technology and teacher professional development. He is an author or co-author on more than 50 papers in academic journals, books and conference proceedings, including The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, The International Handbook on Science Education, the Journal of the Learning Sciences, and the Journal of Research on Science Teaching. In 2014, a collection of his essays was compiled into a book entitled GeoLearning: Thoughts on Geography and Education.

Dr. Edelson received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Northwestern University and his B.S. in Engineering Sciences from Yale University. In 2013, he received the President’s Award from the National Council for Geographic Education.