Indiana University
Profile
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Valarie  Akerson Profile Image

Valarie Akerson

Professor of Science Education
Faculty
W.W. Wright Education Building Room Wright Ed Bldg 3070
Phone : (812) 856-8140
Fax: (812) 856-8116
Send me an e-mail
Department:  Curriculum and Instruction
Affiliations:  Science Education , Elementary Education, Elementary Certification Master’s Program
My website:  http://profile.educ.indiana.edu/vakerson
 
About Me | Degrees | Publications | Presentations | Awards
 

ABOUT ME

My research interests include (a) designing strategies to develop elementary teachers' understandings of nature of science so they can both (1)better differentiate science from other ways of knowing and (2)provide their own students with appropriate conceptions of science, (b) devising ways to improve elementary students' understandings of nature of science and (c) helping elementary teachers recognize their strengths in teaching such subjects as language arts in teaching science.

I am the Program Coordinator of Science Education, and a Co-Director of the Elementary Certification Masters Program.

DEGREES

Ph. D. (1997) Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. Science Education. Minor: Integrated Science
Dissertation: The Influence of Primary Children’s Ideas in Science on Teaching Practice
Ed. M. (1993) Washington State University, Richland, WA. Elementary Education
B.A. (1981) University of California, Berkeley, CA. Psychology

PUBLICATIONS
  • Akerson, V.L. (accepted). Using Oobleck to teach about Nature of Science. In P. Morrell and K. Popejoy (Eds) Methods for teaching science methods. Dordrecht: Sense.
  • Akerson, V. L., Weiland, I. S., Nargund-Joshi, V., Pongsanon, K. (accepted). Becoming an elementary teacher of nature of science: Lessons learned for teaching elementary science. In M. Dias, C. Eick and L. Brantley-Dias (Eds) Science Teacher Educators as K-12 Teachers; Practicing What We Teach.
  • Weiland, I, Blieden, K., Akerson, V. L. (In press). Integrating the Nature of Science into Interdependent Relationships and Ecosystems. Science and Children.
  • Akerson, V. L., Nargund-Joshi, V., Weiland, I. S., Pongsanon, K., Avsar, B. (accepted)What third grade students of differing ability levels learn about nature of science after a year of instruction.International Journal ofScience Education.
  • Akerson, V.L., Weiland, I.S., Fouad, K. (in press). Childrens ideas about life science. In K. C. Trundle and M. Sackes (Eds) Research in early childhood science education. Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Weiland, I., Akerson, V. L. Using environmental problem-based learning in an elementary science methods course to promote integrated instruction. Journal of Science Teacher Education.
  • Buck, G. A., Akerson, V. L., Quigley, C., Weiland, I. A case study on teaching nature of science to first-grade, low SES, African American girls. The Electronic Journal of Science Education.
  • Akerson, V.L., Pongsanon, K., Nargund, V., Weiland, I. (accepted). Developing a professional identity as a teacher of nature of science.International Journal of Science Education.
  • Weiland, I., Park Rogers, M., Pongsanon, K., Akerson, V. L. Lesson study as a tool for promoting elementary preservice teachers reflective practice. Journal of Science Teacher Education.
  • Deniz, H. Akerson, V. L. (2013).Examining the impact of a professional development program on elementary teachers views of nature of science nad nature of scientific inquiry, and science teaching efficacy beliefs. Electronic Journal of Science Education, 17 (3), 1-19.
  • Walls, L., Buck, G. A., Akerson, V. L. (2013). Race, culture, and nature of science in elementary settings. In Bianchini, et. al (Ed) Moving the Equity Agenda Forward: Equity Research, Practice, and Policy in Science Education. (p. 131-152) Dordrecht, Heidelberg: Springer.
  • Weiland, I., Akerson, V. L. (2013). Toward understanding the nature of a partnership between an elementary classroom teacher and an informal science educator. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 24 1333-1355.
  • Bianchini, J., Akerson, V. L., Calabrese-Barton, A., Lee, O., Rodriguez, A. (2013). Moving the Equity Agenda Forward: Equity Research, Practice, and Policy in Science Education. Springer.
  • Akerson, V. L., Nargund-Joshi, V., Weiland, I. S., Pongsanon, K. (accepted). What third grade students of differing ability levels learn about nature of science after a year of instruction. International Journal of Science Education.
  • Akerson, V. L., Weiland, I.S., Nargund-Joshi, V., Pongsanon, K. (2013). Becoming an elementary teacher of nature of science: Lessons learned for teaching elementary science. In M. Dias, C. Eick, and L. Brantley-Dias (Eds) Science Teacher Educators as K-12 Teachers: Practicing What we Teach.
  • Akerson, V. L., Townsend, J. S., Weiland, I. S., Nargund-Joshi, V. (2012). Developing an on-line/on-site community of practice to support K-8 teachers improvement in inquiry and nature of science conceptions. In P. Ghislandi(Ed) E-Learning: Theories, design, software, and application. (p. 187-212). Croatia: InTech.
  • Akerson, V.L., Donnelly, L. A., Riggs, M. L., Eastwood, J. (accepted) Supporting preservice elementary teachers nature of science instruction through a community of practice. International Journal of Science Education, 34, 1371-1392.
  • Bianchini, J., Akerson, V. L., Calabrese-Barton, A., Lee, O., Rodriguez, A. Moving the Equity Agenda Forward: Equity Research, Practice, and Policy in Science Education. Springer.
  • Walls, L., Buck, G. A., Akerson, V. L. (2012). Race, culture, and nature of science in elementary settings. In Bianchini, et. al (Ed) Moving the Equity Agenda Forward: Equity Research, Practice, and Policy in Science Education. (p. 131-152) Dordrecht, Heidelberg: Springer.
  • Akerson, V. L., Buzzelli, C. A., Eastwood, J. A. (2012). Bridging the gap between preservice early childhood teachers cultural values and their perceptions of values held by scientists, and the relationship9s of these values to conceptions of nature of science. Journal of Science Teacher Educaiton, 23, 133-157.
  • Akerson, V. L. (2012). (invited book review). Energy, environment, natural resources. Science Books and Films, 48, (5), 12B.
  • Oliveira, A., AKerson, V.L., Colak, H., Pongsanon, K., Genel, A. (2012). The implicit communication of nature of science and epistemology during inquiry discussion. Science Education, on line version.
  • Oliveira, A., Akerson, V. L., Oldfield, M. (2012). Environmental argumentation as sociocultural activity. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49, 869-897.
  • Quigley, C., Buck, G., Akerson, V. L. (2011). Take the 30 day NOS Challenge: Thirty days of explicit-reflective Nature of Science instruction for elementary students. Science and Children, 49 (2), 57-61.
  • Akerson, V. L., Buzzelli, C. A., Eastwood, J. A. (2011, on line version). Bridging the gap between preservice early childhood teachers cultural values and their perceptions of values held by scientists, and the relationships of these values to conceptions of nature of science. Journal of Science Teacher Education. (DOI) 10.1007/s10972-011-9244-1
  • Akerson, V. L., Young, T. A. (2011). Science the Write way: Nonfiction writingactivities help students learn science. In J Wheeler-Toppen (Ed) Science theWrite Way. Pp. 5-10 NSTA Press: Arlington, VA.
  • Akerson, V. L., White, O., Colak, H., Pongsanon, K. (2011). Relationships between elementary teachers conceptions of scientific modeling and the nature of science. In M. S. Khine and I. M. Saleh (Eds) Models and modeling: Cognitive tool for scientific inquiry. Netherlands: Springer, pp. 221-238.
  • Nargund, V., Park Rogers, M., Akerson, V. L. (2011). What supports are neededfor change" Exploring Indian secondary teachers orientations and practice for teaching science with respect to reform. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48, 624-647.
  • Akerson, V.L., Weiland, I. S., Pongsanon, K., Nargund, V. (2011). Evidence-based Strategies for Teaching Nature of Science to Young Children.Journal of Kirsehir Education, 11 (4), 61-78.
  • Akerson, V. L., Buck, G. A., Donnelly, L. A., Nargund, V., Weiland, I.S. (2011). The importance of teaching and learning nature of science in the early childhood years. The Journal of Science Education and Technology, 20, 537-549.
  • Cullen, T. A., Akerson, V. L., Hanson, D. L. (2010). Using Action Research to Engage K-6 Teachers in Nature of Science Inquiry as Professional Development. Journal of Science Teacher Education.
  • Quigley, C., Pongsanon, K., Akerson, V. L. (2010). If we teach them, they can learn Young students views of nature of science aspects during an informal science education program. Journal of Elementary Science Education, 21, 887-907
  • Akerson, V. L., Buzzelli, C. A., Eastwood, J. (2010) The relationship between preservice early childhood teachers cultural values and their perceptions of scientists cultural values. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 21, 205-214.
  • Akerson, V. L., Townsend, J. S., Donnelly, L. A., Tira, P., White, O. (2009) Scientific modeling for inquiring teachers network (SMITN): The influence on elementary teachers views of nature of science, inquiry, and modeling. Journal of Science Teacher Education,20, 21-40.
  • Akerson, V. L., Cullen, T.A., Hanson, D. L. (2009). Fostering a community of practice through a professional development program to improve elementary teachers views of nature of science and teaching practice. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46, 1090-1113.
  • Oliveira, A. W., Colak, H., Akerson, V. L. (2009). Who polluted the Potomac" The translation and implementation of an environmental story in Brazilian and Turkish elementary classrooms. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 4, 89-132.
  • Oliveira, A. W., Colak, H., Akerson, V. L. (2009). Curriculum translation and environmental education: Considering issues of discursive intentionality, interpretation, and validity. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 4, 141-148.
  • Akerson, V. L., Buzzelli, C. A., Donnelly, L. A. (Dec. 2009 on line version). On the nature of teaching nature of science: Preservice early childhood teachers instruction in preschool and elementary settings. Journal of Research in Science Teaching.
  • Akerson, V. L., Donnelly, L. A. (2009, May 27 on-line version). Teaching Nature of Science to K-2 Students: What understandings can they attain" International Journal of Science Education.
  • Abd-El-Khalick, F., Akerson, V. L. (2009 April 2, on line version). The influence of training in metacognitive strategies on preservice elementary teachers conceptions of nature of science. International Journal of Science Education.

PRESENTATIONS
  • Akerson, V. L., Weiland, I., Nargund-Joshi, V., Pongsanon, K. (2013, April). Evidence-based strategies for teaching nature of science to young children. Paper presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Akerson, V. L., Weiland, I., Nargund-Joshi, V., Pongsanon, K. (2013, April). Third grade students conceptions of NOS following one year of explicit reflective NOS instruction. Paper presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Koehler, C., Akerson, V. L., Lederman, N.G., McComas, W., Abd-El-Khalick, F., McDonald, C., Binns, I. (2013, April). Nature of Science: We know the past, but what about the future" Symposium presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Oliveira, A., Akerson, V. L., Oldfield, M. (2013, January). Environmental Argumentation as Sociocultural Activity. Paper presented at the Association for Science Teacher Education, Charleston, SC.
  • Dias, M., Eick, C.J., Weinburgh, M., Akerson, V. L., Jablon, P., Guy, M., Brown, S., Meadows, L., Lott, K. (2013, January). Science Teacher Educators Teaching K-12 Students as Professional Development: An Interactive Panel Discussion on Various Approaches, Goals, and Benefits. Paper presented at the Association for Science Teacher Education, Charleston, SC.
  • Akerson, V. L., Buck, G. A., Borgerding, L., Nargund-Joshi, V., Weiland, I. (2013, January). Young Childrens Views of NOS. Paper presented at the Association for Science Teacher Education, Charleston, SC.
  • Quigley, C. Buck, G. A., Akerson, V. L. (2012, March). Elementary teachersTake the 30 day nature of science challenge. Paper presented at the National Science Teachers Association, Indianapolis, IN.
  • Wiebke, H., Park Rogers, M., Nargund-Joshi, V., Akerson, V. L. (2012, January). Iterative Model Building: Developing preservice elementary teachers abilities to uncover students scientific thinking to inform instruction. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Science Teacher Educators, Clearwater, FL.
  • Fouad, K., Wiebke, H., Akerson, V. L. (2012, March). Using history of science to teach the nature of science to elementary students. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching., Indianapolis, IN.
  • Akerson, V. L., Buck, G. A., Nargund-Joshi, V. (2012, March). The importance of teaching and learning nature of science in early childhood years. Paper presented at the National Science Teachers Association, Indianapolis, IN.
  • Akerson, V. L., Nargund-Joshi, V. (2012, March). Evidence-based strategies for teaching nature of science to young children. Paper presented at the National Science Teachers Association, Indianapolis, IN.
  • Lederman, N. G., Lederman, J. S., Akerson, . L., Walls, L., Buck, G. A., Burton, E. P. (2012, March). Teaching and assessment of inquiry and nature of science with early childhood students. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching., Indianapolis, IN.
  • Oliveira, A., Akerson, V. L. (2012, January). The implicit communication of nature of science through teacher hedging. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Science Teacher Educators, Clearwater, FL.
  • Nargund-Joshi, V., Park Rogers, M. A., Wiebke, H. L., Akerson, V. L. (2012, March). Re-thinking early field experiences for the purpose of preparing elementary preservice teachers pedagogical content knowledge. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching., Indianapolis, IN.
  • Akerson, V. L., Weiland, I. S., Bilican, K., Pongsanon, K. Park Rogers, M. A. (2012, March). Exploring elementary science methods course contexts for improving nature of science conceptions and understandings of NOS teaching strategies. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching., Indianapolis, IN.
  • Akerson, V. L., Weiland, I., Park Rogers, M., Pongsanon, K., Bilican, K. (2012, January). Elementary science methods courses: Varying contexts for improving conceptions of and strategies for teaching nature of science. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Science Teacher Educators, Clearwater, FL.
  • Discussant for New Scholars Symposium Teaching and Learning Science in Diverse Contexts--Local and Global Perspectives, National Association for Research in Science Teaching Conference
  • Attended The Academy for Co-Teaching and Collaboration two-day workshop exploring new models of student teaching as part of an IU team.
  • Akerson, V. L., Weiland, I., Nargund-Joshi, V., Pongsanon, K. (2013, April). Evidence-based strategies for teaching nature of science to young children. Paper presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Pongsanon, K., Akerson, V. L., Park Rogers, M., Weiland, I. S. (2011, April). Exploring the use of lesson study to develop elementary preservice teachers PCK for NOS. Paper presented at the annual conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Orlando, FL.
  • Akerson, V. L., Nargund, V., Weiland, I., Pongsanon, K. (2011, January). Comparative case studies of the development of third graders conceptions of nature of science. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Association for Science Teacher Educators., Minneapolis, MN.
  • Feldman, A., Capobianco, B., Cullen, T., Lebak, K., Subramaniam, K., Megowan-Romanowicz, C., Akerson, V., Hanson, D., Tinsley, R., Goodnough, K. (2011, January). Action research in science teacher education. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Association for Science Teacher Educators., Minneapolis, MN.
  • Colak, H., Oliveira, A., Akerson, V. L., Pongsanon, K., Genel, A. (2011, April). Teacher hedging and the tentative nature of science inquiry discussions. Paper presented at the annual conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Orlando, FL.
  • Weiland, I., Park Rogers, M., Pongsanon, K., Akerson, V. (2011, January). Fostering PSTs knowledge of how to build models of elementary childrens thinking. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Association for Science Teacher Educators., Minneapolis, MN.
  • Bianchini, J., A., Akerson, V. L., Calabrese-Barton, A. M., Lee, O., Rodriguez, A. J. (2011, April). Moving the equity agenda forward: Equity research, practice, and policy in science education. Paper presented at the annual conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Orlando, FL.
  • Finson, K., Farland-Smith, D., Carnes, N., Akerson, V., Tippett, C., Milford, T., Cullen, T. (2011, January). Somewhere over the rainbow: Potential futures for DAST research. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Association for Science Teacher Educators., Minneapolis, MN.
  • Akerson, V. L., Nargund-Joshi, V., Weiland, I., Pongsanon, K. (2011, September). What third grade students of differing ability levels learn about nature of science after a year of instruction. Paper presented at the conference of the European Science Education Research Association, Lyon, France.
  • Akerson, V. L., Nargund, V., Weiland, I. S., Pongsanon, K. (2011, April). Case studies of third graders conceptions of nature of science. Paper presented at the annual conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Orlando, FL.
  • Deniz, H., Akerson, V. L., (2010, March). Teaching about nature of science and scientific inquiry integrated with language arts at the elementary level. Paper presented at the annual conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Philadelphia, PA.
  • Weiland, I., Park Rogers, M., Akerson, V. L., Pongsanon, K. (2010, January). Developing a way to determine preservice teachers abilities to predict elementary students scientific reasoning. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Association for Science Teacher Education, Sacramento, CA.
  • Townsend, J. S., Akerson, V. L., Weiland, I. (2010, January). Developing a hubrid online/on-site community of practice to support K-8 teachers improvement in inquiry and nature of science conceptions. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Association for Science Teacher Education, Sacramento, CA.
  • Akerson, V. L., Pongsanon, K. , Nargund, V., Weiland, I. (2010, March). Teaching nature of science in a third grade classroom: An assessment of strategies and student knowledge. Paper presented at the annual conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Philadelphia, PA.
  • Akerson, V. L., Pearson, R., Wong, A. , Lie, H., Granger, E., Rose, K., Lederman, N.G., Lederman, J. S., Schwartz, R., Southerland, S. (2010, March). Putting nature of science research into classroom practice: Real teachersreal teaching. Symposium presented at the annual conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Philadelphia, PA.
  • Townsend, J. S., Akerson, V. L., Weiland, I. S. (2010, March). Developing a hybrid online/on site community of practice to support K-8 teachers improvement in inquiry and nature of science conceptions. Paper presented at the annual conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Philadelphia, PA.
  • Weiland, I.S., Akerson, V. L., Park Rogers, M. , Pongsanon, K. (2010, March). Lesson study with preservice teachers: Perceptions on the role of peer feedback in supporting reflective practice. Paper presented at the annual conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Philadelphia, PA.
  • Akerson, V. L., Pongsanon, K., Nargund, V., Weiland, I. (2010, January). Learning to teach nature of science in a third grade classroom: Can I do it" Paper presented at the annual conference of the Association for Science Teacher Education, Sacramento, CA.
  • Akerson, V. L. (2010) Using Childrens Literature to Launch Science Lessons. Professional Development program for Preschool Teachers at Wonderlab, Bloomington, IN.
  • Abell, S. K., Smith, D. C., Moore-Mensah, F., Friedrichsen, P. M., Akerson, V. L., Feldman, A., Munford, D., Zembal-Saul, C. (2010, March). Mentoring doctoral researchers: Stories from the NARST summer research institute. Symposium presented at the annual conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Philadelphia, PA.
  • Akerson, V. L., Buzzelli, C. A., Eastwood, J. L. (2010, March). Bridging the gap between preservice early childhood teachers cultural values, the values they perceive are held by scientists, and relationships to conceptions of Nature of Science. Paper presented at the annual conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Philadelphia, PA.

AWARDS
  • Nominated for Outstanding Mentor Award by by current and former doctoral students.
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