J. Bryan Henderson

Assistant Professor
Guiding Research Questions: 
  • How can emerging technologies be utilized to promote more frequent peer-to-peer interactions in science classrooms?
  • Not all interactions are created equal. How can teachers and their students be supported to promote increasingly critical interactive engagements?
  • Speaking and listening, which are key modalities for peer interaction, can be much more difficult to assess than reading and writing literacy. How can speaking and listening, and particularly critical speaking and listening, be assessed in a more valid and reliable fashion?
  • Most importantly, how can potential answers to all of the above questions be leveraged in a practical manner that educational practitioners will find useful?
Research Agenda: 

Dr. J. Bryan Henderson’s research agenda focuses on utilizing the affordances of modern technology to design learning environments where students feel more comfortable and motivated to talk and interactively co-construct scientific understanding with each other. Dr. Henderson believes strongly in the notion that students possess many ideas about the natural world constructed prior to formal science instruction, and that by providing them a safe space to play with those ideas, ask questions, or admit confusion, more frequent, authentic, critical, and meaningful engagements can occur between students and a new era of science curriculum.

Area of Expertise: 
  • Peer Learning
  • Science Argumentation
  • Educational Technology
Current Projects: 

As a Co-Founder and Research Director of the Braincandy non-profit, Dr. Henderson is working with teachers across the U.S. to make formative assessment materials and best practices freely accessible via cloud-based applications. Braincandy allows students to participate in classroom activities anonymously, and then make discrepancies in anonymous student thinking transparent to the entire classroom through visualization tools. You can learn more about Braincandy at www.braincandy.org

The Braincandy project is an example of how Dr. Henderson seeks to create a synergy between his research and his teaching. Indeed, he utilizes Braincandy in every class he teaches, and as Braincandy is very popular with students, Dr. Henderson has been named by the student body as a recipient of the ASU Centennial Professorship for outstanding teaching, leadership, and service.

Dr. Henderson continues to develop DiALoG (Diagnosing Argumentation Levels of Groups), which is an assessment that offers teachers and researchers a means to operationalize classroom talk and listening that spans multiple unique aspects of oral argumentation. Since DiALoG is designed for a group level of analysis, teachers do not have to focus on individual utterances, and hence DiALoG’s eight-question assessment has potential for practical classroom use. Further simplifying things for teachers, Dr. Henderson has created a tablet-based application that allows teachers to easily enter and edit their scores – scores that are automatically tabulated and recorded by the application.

Educational History: 
  • 2013 – PhD Science Education with an emphasis in Educational Technology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
  • 2008 – MS Physics, Portland State University, Portland, OR
  • 2008 – Graduate Certificate, Teaching Adult Learners, Portland State University, Portland, OR
  • 2006 – MS Education, Portland State University, Portland, OR
  • 2004 – BS Physics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • 2004 – BS Astronomy, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • 2004 – BA Philosophy, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Selected Readings or Presentations: 
  • Henderson, J.B., MacPherson, A., Osborne, J., & Wild, A. (2015). Beyond construction: Five cases for the role and value of critique in the learning of science. International Journal of Science Education, 37(10), 1668-1697. doi: 10.1080/09500693.2015.1043598

  • Henderson, J.B., Osborne, J., MacPherson, A., & Szu, E. (2014). A new learning progression for student argumentation in scientific contexts. In C. P. Constantinou, N. Papadouris & A. Hadjigeorgiou (Eds.), Science education research for evidence-based teaching and coherence in learning:  E-Book Proceedings of the ESERA 2013 Conference, Part 7 (co-ed. M. Evagorou & K. Iordanou) (pp. 26-42). Nicosia, Cyprus: European Science Education Research Association. ISBN: 978-9963-700-77-6

  • Henderson, J.B., Fenton, C., McNeill, K., Pearson, D., & Barber, J. (2015, April). DiALoG: A practical instrument designed for the assessment of verbal classroom argumentation in real time. Paper presented for the 2015 Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Chicago, IL.