Learning more about the NGSS

125x125.bWhy am I at the table with a laptop, a tablet and a smartphone? Is this the ultimate example of multitasking? Have I finally leaped into geekdom?

Actually, I’m looking at three versions of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The standards have been on the NGSS website since last spring.  And now there is a free NGSS app that I downloaded for my iPad and iPhone (it’s also available for Android devices). Of course the information is the same, but I was curious how the app compares in format and user-friendliness to the full web version.

I admit I’m a big-picture type of person, so the web version, with each color-coded standard on a separate page appeals to me conceptually. But I can see how this text-dense format could be overwhelming. I also found it easy to overlook the clarification statements and assessment boundaries, which have critical information to use in developing curriculum and planning instruction.

NGSS graphic

Click for larger view

The app version is similar in that it uses the same color-coding and options. But I’m pleased that the app uses a slightly different format, making it easier to read. (OK, the smaller screen of the iPhone is a challenge for my eyes.) The iPad version is very user-friendly with an index in the left margin for the Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) and Topic Arrangements, like the website. Each performance expectation is displayed separately, and the clarification statements and assessment boundaries are clearly marked. Users can click on the links for expanded information on the practices, core ideas, and crosscutting concepts, which follow the same color-coding scheme as the website documents. The connections to Common Core standards are more prominently displayed, too.

The app has a Resources tab with the appendices and a link to the NRC Framework and additional materials from NSTA. And the app is available even if you’re not connected to the Internet.

The search feature in the app is not as robust as in the web version. For example, I searched for the term “gravity” on both. The app version showed the performance expectations where the term occurred (at the middle school level). The web version showed these, as well as the occurrences of the term in the clarification statements, assessment boundaries, and DCIs at the elementary level.

Here is more information from NSTA about the app:

Download the Next Generation Science Standards app, developed in partnership with MasteryConnect, by searching “MasteryConnect” or “Next Generation Science Standards” in your app store or visiting the iOS Store or Android Marketplace. As part of the partnership with MasteryConnect, NSTA is providing additional free resources within the app, including several articles from NSTA’s peer reviewed journals, and free chapters from its line of NGSS-related titles, including The NSTA Reader’s Guide to the Next Generation Science Standards and Science for the Next Generation: Preparing for the New Standards. Look for the app to be available in the Windows Store soon.

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