Press Release

3 Aug 2015

Van Andel Education Institute releases NexGen Inquiry™

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Web-based platform engages teachers and students in science and engineering practices

to support the development of 21st Century skills 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (August 3, 2015)Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI), the science education division of Van Andel Institute, announces NexGen Inquiry™, an innovative, Web-based, science investigation platform accessible across all major browsers. Released in preparation for the 2015-16 school year, NexGen Inquiry™ includes an interactive teaching and learning platform that supports existing curriculum, integrated teacher professional development, a teacher community and a resource library.

Built by teachers for teachers, NexGen Inquiry™ is the result of more than a decade of work with students and science educators at the Van Andel Education Institute Science Academy in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a foundational support for the Next Generation Science Standards as well as other state standards.

NexGen Inquiry™ includes a Web-based journal wherein students can complete investigations designed and distributed by their teachers and also plan and conduct their own investigations. The journal incorporates VAEI’s Community of Scientific Practice model and QPOE2® (Question, Prediction, Observation, Explanation and Evaluation), its process of scientific inquiry. As students complete investigations, they have the ability to easily add content in a variety of forms:  text, images, data tables, charts and videos, using tools readily available within their own journals.

“The Community of Scientific Practice and QPOE2® opened my eyes to real, hands-on science and has taken my science instruction methods to the next level,” said Jessica O’Donnell, fifth-grade teacher at Spring Lake Intermediate School in Spring Lake, Michigan. “I am excited to incorporate the NexGen Inquiry™ teaching and learning platform with my fifth grade class this year as we increase technology access for our students.”

Teacher professional development resources are built into NexGen Inquiry through self-paced video modules. Video modules have been designed to mirror the progression of VAEI’s highly successful face-to-face trainings with more than 700 local science educators. Advanced levels of professional development modules are planned for release during the 2015-16 school year.

“The beauty of the online professional development offered within NexGen Inquiry is the opportunity for teachers to learn, enhance, strengthen and apply the best practices of inquiry-based teaching and learning,” said Jim Nicolette, Associate Director of VAEI’s Science Academy. “It is incredible to take the success of our face-to-face professional development and extend our reach to teachers across the country.”

NexGen Inquiry™ further supports science educators by providing a resource library with full access to instructional scaffolds and posters for use in implementing the Community of Scientific Practice model and QPOE2® its process of scientific inquiry. Teachers interested in asking questions of other practitioners or sharing ideas and best practices with their peers and VAEI staff can participate in just-in-time professional development activities by participating in forum discussions and polls within the NexGen Inquiry™ Teacher Community.

NexGen Inquiry™ is designed to meet the growing need for enhanced tools, resources and teacher professional development in science education to build the nation’s science, technology, engineering and math capacity and meet the demands of an increasingly complex and technical world.

Visit for more information and to begin a FREE, 90 day trial.


Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent, research and educational organization based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science, and to achieving excellence in education by probing fundamental issues of education and the learning process. Through programs that provide hands-on, inquiry-based learning opportunities across the entire educational spectrum – from elementary through graduate school to the professional development level – Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI), VAI’s non-profit education arm, is dedicated to strengthening science education and preparing and motivating individuals to pursue science-related professions. 100% to Research, Discovery & Hope®


Beth Hinshaw Hall, Van Andel Institute,, 616.234.5519