Photo of Joanne Olson
Joanne Olson
Professor of Science Education, Teaching, Learning, and Culture
Office#: 443 Harrington Office Building
Mail Stop: 4232
Office Phone: Not provided
Directory Title: Professor of Science Education
Primary Emphasis Area: Science Education and Technology
Vita: View Document
Office Hours
Monday     12-2 pm
Wednesday     1-3 pm
Short Bio
Dr. Joanne Olson is a professor in science education and the former president of the Association for Science Teacher Education. Her research efforts focus on: 1) science teacher preparation; 2) the inclusion of engineering in elementary science standards and how "STEM" is addressed by teachers and teacher education programs; 3) the nature of science and nature of engineering and their role in improving STEM education; 4) philosophical underpinnings of teacher education and their role in curriculum design and pedagogical practices. Dr. Olson is a recipient of several awards for her teaching and research, including the Outstanding Science Teacher Educator of the Year award from the Association for Science Teacher Education, and the Outstanding Paper Award from NARST, a worldwide organization for improving science teaching and learning through research. She was the PI of a $4.5M NSF-funded project to study triad teaching structures using engineering graduate students in elementary classrooms with student teachers, and remains active as a Co-PI on this project at TAMU. She is a former elementary and middle school science teacher from the Los Angeles area.
Research Interests
Science and Engineering Integration in K-5
Science Education
Science Teacher Preparation
The Nature of Science in Science Education
Publications (journal articles, books, book chapters)*

1. Pleasants, J., & Olson, J. K. (2019). Accurately communicating the nature of engineering in the science classroom. B. Akpan (Ed.). Science Education: Visions of the Future.

2. Pleasants, J. B., Clough, M. P., Olson, J. K., & Miller, G. (2019). Fundamental issues in the nature of technology: Implications for STEM education. Science & Education, 28(3), 561-597. DOI: 10.1007/s11191-019-00056-y Impact Factor: 1.265

3. Pleasants, J., Clough, M. P., & Olson, J. K. (2019). The urgent need to address the nature of technology: Implications for science education. B. Akpan (Ed.). Science Education: Visions of the Future.

4. Pleasants, J. B., & Olson, J. K. (2019). What is Engineering? Elaborating the Nature of Engineering for K-12 Education. Science Education, 103(1), 145-166. DOI: 10.1002/sce.21483 Impact Factor: 3.035

5. Pleasants, J. B., Olson, J. K., & Tank, K. M. (2019). What students learn from engineering instruction: Perspectives from elementary teachers. Journal of Science Teacher Education. Impact Factor: 1.14

6. Olson, J. K. (2018). The Inclusion of the Nature of Science in Nine Recent International Science Education Standards Documents. Science & Education, 27(7), 637-660. DOI: 10.1007/s11191-018-9993-8. Impact Factor: 1.265

7. Herman, B. C., Clough, M. P., & Olson, J. K. (2017). Pedagogical reflections by secondary science teachers at different NOS implementation levels. Research in Science Education, 47(1), 161-184. DOI 10.1007/s11165-015-9494-6

8. Olson, J. K. (2017). Teacher preparation for science education. In K. Taber and B. Akpan (Eds.). Science Education: An International Course Companion (pp. 523-537). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

9. Herman, B. C., Olson, J. K., & Clough, M. P. (2017). The role of informal support networks in teaching the nature of science. Research in Science Education. DOI 10.1007/s11165-016-9610-2

10. Olson, J. K. (2016). Afterword. In G. Buck and V. Akerson (Eds.). Enhancing professional knowledge of pre-service science teacher education by self-study research (pp. 457-462). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

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* Publication was joint-authored with students
Diss Publication was from a dissertation
ROS Publication was from a record of study

College of Education and Human Development Grants and Contracts (Current)

Collaborative Research: Science Modeling through Physical Computing:Contextualized Computational and Scientific Learning in the Grade 5-6Classroom12/31/202312. (Co-PI)
National Science Foundation (Federal)
2020/01/01 - 2023/12/31
Total Funding: 225,635.

Catapult #5. (PI)
2018/11/01 - 2020/05/01
Total Funding: .

Promoting Improvements in Teacher Quality Through Massively Open Online Professional Development. (Co-I)
US Department of Education (Federal)
2018/07/01 - 2021/06/30
Total Funding: 7,580,548.
Courses Taught
2019 - 2020
EDCI 663, TEFB 413
2018 - 2019
EDCI 671, TEFB 413

(2017). Innovation in Teaching Science Teachers award.  Association for Science Teacher Education

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