Walter S. Smith, Ph.D.
Office: Education 359
Smith has been active in the development of science teaching materials for teachers to use with middle school children. He led the development of the two volume COMETS – Career Oriented Modules to Explore Topics in Science – science teaching materials to encourage students, especially girls, in grades 5-9 to continue taking science courses and consider science careers. COMETS was published by the National Science Teachers Association, used across the country, and became a model for a similar program in Australia. He conceived and directed the MASTERS – Math And Science Teachers for Reservation Schools – Project at the University of Kansas and the TIES – Technology and Invention in Elementary Schools – Project at the University of Akron. Presently he directs the (mostly) online Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with specialization in STEM education at Texas Tech University that is referred to as Global PRiSE to highlight its two key outcomes: development of global STEM educators and pragmatic researchers in STEM education.
Currently his research focuses on global collaborative science education. In this regard heads the World MOON Project in which children aged 10-14 worldwide observe the moon, record their observations, write and upload these observation, read and analyze these uploaded lunar observations from students in different locations, identify global patterns in this data, share the patterns they’ve found with other students, and finally create causal explanations for the global patterns thus identified. Participation is free to teachers.
He has published in journals such as the Journal of Science Teacher Education, Science Education, Journal of Elementary Science Education, International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, and all four of the National Science Teacher Association’s journals for teachers. He has had over three million dollars in grants that frequently have focused at the middle level, and he has previously served on the National Science Teachers Association’s Board of Directors and as President of the Council for Elementary Science International.
He was among the first group of recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics, Science and Engineering Mentoring which he received at the White House in 1996. He has also received the Distinguished Service to Science Education Award from the National Science Teachers Association in 1993, NSTA’s Ohaus Award for Innovations in Teaching in 2003, and the Outstanding Mentor Award from the Association for Science Teacher Education in 2002.
- BS in Biology, Cornell University, 1964.
- MSEd in Student Personnel Administration, Indiana University (Bloomington), 1965.
- PhD in Science Education, Indiana University (Bloomington), 1973.
Area of Expertise
- Science Education
Cook, Linda A., Smith, Walter S., Lan, William Y. and Carpenter, D. (2016). The development of global competencies and global mindedness through global education experiences. International Journal of Global Education. 5(2), 1-16.
Cook, Linda, Bell, Meredith, Nugent, Jill & Smith, Walter S. (2016). Global collaboration enhances technology literacy. Technology and Engineering Teacher. 75(5), 20-25.
Nugent, Jill, Cook, Linda, Bell, Meredith & Smith, Walter S. (2015). 21st century citizen science: from global awareness to global contribution. The Science Teacher. 82(8). 34-38.
Cheon, J., Lee, S., Smith, W. S., Song, J., & Kim, Y. (2013). The determination of children’s knowledge of global lunar patterns from online essay using text mining analysis. Research in Science Education, 43(2), 667-686. doi: 10.1007/s11165-012-9282-5.
Davey, Sandy, Smith, Walter S. and Merrill, Chris (2009). “Internationalizing technology teaching with blogs and bananas.” The Technology Teacher. 69(2), 22-26.
Wilhelm, Jennifer, Smith, Walter S., Walters, Kendra, Sherrod, Sonya and Mulholland, Judith (2008). “Engaging pre-service teachers in multinational, multi-campus scientific and mathematical inquiry.” International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education. 6, 131-162.
Trundle, K. C., Willmore, S. and Smith, W. S. (2006). The MOON Project. Science and Children. 43(6), 52-55.
Smith, W., Gould, S. and Jones, J. (2004). “Starting the semester at odds: Science educators’ versus college students' reasons for studying science.” Journal of College Science Teaching. 34(3), 44-49.
Smith, W., Campbell, M. and Hoopingarner, A. (2004). "Data mining the internet: Immersing high school students in electronic inquiry." Science Activities. 41(1), 9-15.
Smith, W. (2003). ”Meeting the moon from a global perspective." Science Scope. 26(8), 24-28.
Welton, E., Smith, W., Owens, K., and Adrian, M. (2000). "Hands-on science as a motivator for children with emotional/behavioral disabilities." Journal of Elementary Science Education. 12(2), 33-37.
Smith, W., McLaughlin, E. and Tunnicliffe, S. (1998). "Zoo-related science and language arts instruction for primary level students." Journal of Science Teacher Education. 9(2), 123-142.
Smith, W. (1998). "Native american perspectives." The Science Teacher. 65(3), 32-36.
Matthews, C. and Smith, W. (1994). "Indian-related materials in elementary science instruction." Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 31(4), 363-380.
Smith, W., et al. (1984). COMETS Science. Washington, DC: National Science Teachers Assoc.