Edward Britton (Ted)

Associate Director, STEM Program, WestEd

Ted Britton is an associate director and senior researcher in WestEd’s program for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). With the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF), he recently completed a knowledge synthesis about professional learning communities (PLCs) involving STEM teachers. He has discussed these results for a U.S. Congressional briefing in summer 2011 and in a January 2012 keynote presentation at the annual meeting of NSF’s Mathematics and Science Partnership program (MSP). Britton has led several major research projects, including an international study of new ways to address the subject-specific needs of beginning mathematics and science teachers; a randomized controlled study of an artificial intelligence tutor for high school chemistry; and national reviews of curriculum materials in science, mathematics and technology. His earlier research includes helping design international procedures for analyzing curriculum materials during the original Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Prior to working at WestEd, Britton worked at the University of Florida, developing the first CD-ROM in science education and producing videos for teacher professional development. Britton also taught high school science in Florida for a number of years. He is the author of numerous publications and curriculum products. He received a B.S. in chemistry and education, an MS in analytical chemistry, and an EdD in science education from the University of Florida. Britton was the principal investigator of the NSF-funded project, Research on MSP Teacher Recruitment, Induction, Retention.

Professional Learning Communities for STEM Teachers

Administrators and leaders of professional development have, in recent years,developed professional learning communities (PLCs)—one of the most common professional development strategies in use today across education at large. And leaders in STEM education have universally advocated their use—the Successful K–12 STEM Education report specifically urges considering “factors that strengthen and sustain learning communities.” There are exciting rationales for PLCs, such as the desire to morph teaching from solo artisan instruction to a synergy of great teaching. Read more