Dr. Idit Adler

School of Education
ביה"ס לחינוך סגל אקדמי בכיר

General Information

About myself

For as long as I can remember, I have been deeply drawn to both biology and education; I participated in science and nature after-school activities and summer camps, took science classes in school, and served as a counselor for several years in a youth movement of the Society for the Protection of Nature. Therefore, after completing my military service and a B.Sc in biology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, I continued to a M.Sc in the department of zoology at Tel Aviv University, under the supervision of Prof. Yehuda Beneyahu. My research examined the relationship between soft corals and their symbiotic algae. Once I completed my master’s degree and following a re-location to Africa, I had the opportunity to focus on my second interest and completed an M.A in social sciences with a focus on education, through online courses at the Open University.

Upon my return to Israel, I continued to the field of science education, which enabled me to combine my two interests. My doctoral thesis under the supervision of Prof. Michal Zion and Prof. Zemira Mevarech from the science education program at Bar-Ilan University, examined the relationships between metacognition and environmental literacy. During my research, I developed a model that embeds metacognitive scaffolds in an open inquiry-based environment, within the framework of environmental education. The innovation and uniqueness of the model was the combination of personal and social metacognition, and the concurrent support for the two aspects of metacognition to develop students’ environmental literacy.

I continued to a postdoctoral position at the CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University, USA, under the supervision of Prof. Joe Krajcik. I lead the development and research of middle school science units aimed at supporting students’ informed responsible and active science-based citizenship, specifically around issues of health and well-being related to the interaction between genes and the environment. The uniqueness of the research was in the formation of an academy-schools-community partnership, as well as students’ engagement in their community in an attempt to promote individual and collective health and well-being.


Years University Subject Degree

The Hebrew University

Life Sciences B.Sc

Department of Zoology

Faculty of Life Sciences

Tel Aviv University

Life Sciences M.Sc

The Open University

Social Sciences with major Education B.A

The School of Education

Faculty of Social Sciences

Bar-Ilan University

Social Sciences Ph.D


CREATE for STEM Institute

Prof. Joseph Krajcik

Michigan State University

Science Education Research Associate (postdoc)


My research

One of the biggest challenges of education in general and in science education in particular is leading instructional processes in the classroom, which are based on educational research as well as practice and experience. It is therefore crucial to develop learning environments which are based on theories of learning and examine their effectiveness on different aspects of science learning. Since I believe in the importance of close relationship between research and practice, the first and foremost purpose of science education research in my view is to respond to the needs of educational field, and provide guidance based on theoretical knowledge and experience, designed to advance both theory and practice.

My research focuses on science teaching and learning in socio-constructivist learning environments, which are environments in which students construct their understanding based on previous experiences and knowledge, and through social interactions. I started specializing in these environments during my PhD research, and continue to study them from three interrelated aspects:

Teaching and learning within socio-constructivist environments - This aspect of my research focuses on understanding the teaching and learning processes in socio-constructivist science learning (e.g., inquiry, project-based learning - PBL, model-based learning ), and examining ways to promote meaningful learning within these environments. Learning through inquiry is highly recommended in the field of science education, as it concurrently promotes scientific understanding and acquisition of scientific practices, as well as fosters students’ motivation to learn science. However, inquiry-based environments, especially those that are designed to support students’ autonomy such as open inquiry, are not common in the science classroom. My research is based on scholarship on scaffolds and examines ways in which scaffoldings can be designed and embedded in the inquiry process to support students’ learning.

Leveraging opportunities for self-regulated learning in the science classroom - This aspect of my research focuses on examining the way science teachers can leverage opportunities for self-regulated learning during their instruction in the science classroom. Self-regulated learning refers to the proactive process that learners use to systematically focus their thoughts, feelings, and actions on the attainment of their goals, and through which they become masters of their learning and performance (Pintrich, 2000, 2004; Schunk & Zimmerman, 2012). Supporting students in developing their ability to self-regulate their learning is regarded as one of the major goals of education. As of today, much research in the field focused on students, and examined ways to support them in becoming self-regulated learners. These studies form the basis of my research, which is unique in that it focuses specifically on teachers, and on the ways in which they can encourage, support and develop self-regulated learners. This is because I see teachers as key players in raising awareness, encouraging, and developing these abilities.

Community-based science for social justice - This aspect focuses on science teaching as a means to promote informed, responsible and active citizenship, and support students in becoming agents of change in their community and promote health, environment, and social justice. In science education, the intersection between science and society is the focus of Vision II, where science learning aims to support students in understanding the usefulness of scientific knowledge in their everyday life. This contrasts with Vision I, which views the students as novice scientists and focuses on learning science content for later application and education. Recently, researchers conceptualized Vision III where science education aims to develop students as responsible citizens within society. Broadening the scope of responsible behaviors, justice-centered science education centers on the social transformation of science to enact justice and equips students to recognize and respond to social issues and inequities (Forsythe & Chan, 2021). My research focuses on development and research of authentic learning environments, which are based on the rich life experience of the students (Vision II), encourage active engagement in community life to promote individual and collective well-being based on an understanding of the social-political context (Vision III), and concurrently encourage development of scientific understanding and acquisition of scientific practices (Vision I).

Selected publications

Zion, M., Adler, I., & Mevarech, Z. (2015). The effect of individual and social metacognitive support on students’ metacognitive performances in an online discussion. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 52(1), 50-87.

Adler, I., Zion, M., & Mevarech, Z. R. (2016). The effect of explicit environmentally oriented metacognitive guidance and peer collaboration on students’ expressions of environmental literacy. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 53(4), 620-663.

Adler I., Schwartz L., Zion, M., & Madjar, N. (2018). Reading between the lines: Supporting students' motivation in an on-line forum during an open inquiry process. Science Education, 102(4), 820-855.

Zion, M., Schwartz, S. R., Rimerman-Shmueli, E. & Adler, I. (2018). Supporting teachers’ perception of Nature of Science and Inquiry through personal experience and perception of inquiry as a dynamic process. Research in Science Education, 50, 1281-1304.

Adler, I., Rimerman-Shmueli, E., & Zion, M. (2019). Fostering teachers’ reflections on the characteristics of dynamic inquiry through metacognitive prompts. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 30(7), 763-787.

Schwartz L., Adler I., Madjar, N., & Zion, M. (2021). Rising to the challenge: The effect of individual and social metacognitive scaffolds on students’ expressions of autonomy and competence throughout an inquiry process. Journal of Science Education Technology, 30, 582-593.

Dubovi, I.  & Adler, I. (equal contribution) (2022) Students’ engagement while learning with online computer-based simulations: The impact of COVID-19 anxiety and the mediating role of boredom. Interactive Learning, 1-16.

Modell, S., Bayer, I., Morales, C., Adler, I., & Green-Moton, E. (2023). Health om Our Hands: A new genomic framework for schools and communities. Journal of Community Genetics, 14, 211-215.

Adler, I., & Karam, C. (2023) Djaji mahsheye, Moghrabeye and Labaneh: Making science relevant.  Journal of Research in Science Teaching – JRST, in press.

Zion, M., & Adler, I. Special Issue: Education for well-being and sustainability: The role of 21st century skills for informed, responsible and active citizenship. Sustainability (2024)

אורטל-עברי, ג., אדלר, ע., ציון, מ. (2023). טיפוח אוריינות סביבתית באמצעות הנחייה להכוונה עצמית בלמידה בקרב סטודנטים לחינוך. אקולוגיה וסביבה.

Adler, I., & Sarsour, L.*(2023) A case of two classes: The interplay of teacher’s guidance with structuring or problematizing scaffolds within inquiry-based environments (in press in Instructional Science)

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