Daniel Edelson

Vice President for Education and Executive Director, National Geographic Education Foundation

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As a curriculum designer, software developer and educational researcher, Danny Edelson has dedicated his career to improving young people’s understanding of the world they live in and their role in determining its future. In his position as vice president for education, he oversees National Geographic’s outreach to educators and its efforts to improve geographic and geoscience education in the United States and abroad. This work includes the creation of educational materials for learners of all ages, the delivery of professional development for educators, the implementation of public engagement programs, advocacy on behalf of geographic education in policy discussions and grant-making to support geographic literacy initiatives throughout the United States and Canada. 

Edelson began his career in education as a researcher in learning technologies with a focus on environmental and geographic education. Prior to joining National Geographic in 2007, he was a professor in education and computer science at Northwestern University for 14 years. As part of his integrated research and development at Northwestern, he created and published both software and textbooks for schools, including My World GIS™, a geographic information system for grade 6 through college; “Investigations in Environmental Science,” a case-based environmental science textbook for high school; and a number of project-based earth science units for comprehensive middle school science programs. He also created professional development programs for educators from middle school through college and led several large-scale instructional reform efforts in the Chicago Public Schools.

Edelson has written extensively on motivation, classroom teaching and learning, educational technology and teacher professional development, drawing on research conducted with colleagues and students. He is an author of more than 50 papers in journals, edited books and conference proceedings, including “The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences,” “The International Handbook on Science Education,” Journal of the Learning Sciences, Journal of Research on Science Teaching, and The Science Teacher. 

He received his Ph.D. in computer science (artificial intelligence) from Northwestern University and his B.S. in engineering sciences from Yale University.

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