Welcome

InformalScience.org is a central portal to project, research and evaluation resources designed to support and connect the informal STEM education community in museums, media, public programs and a growing variety of learning environments.

Search and Browse Informal Education Resources

ISE experiences offer dynamic, creative platforms for communicating science to learners of all ages. InformalScience.org has strategies and examples for this work from a variety of environments, institutions and projects.

Outreach For Scientists 

Science Learning+ is a UK/US partnership that seeks to strengthen the research and knowledge base regarding the impact of informal STEM experiences in both countries.

Science Learning+ 

Access peer-reviewed articles from thousands of learning research journals through EBSCO’s Education Research Complete database, available to logged- in members of InformalScience.org.

EBSCO 
 

Recent Site Activity

Funding Opportunities from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

IMLS has announced two funding opportunities that are relevant to those interested in developing ISE projects in libraries.

Dear Colleague Letter: Support for Engaging Students and the Public in Polar Research

The NSF released a Dear Colleague letter to encourage proposals bridging data from polar regions with informal STEM education.

EHR Core Research (ECR) Solicitation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a new solicitation for the EHR Core Research (ECR) program.

Enhancing Evaluation Capacity in Informal Science Education

Our interview with Dr. Alice Fu about the new Enhancing Evaluation Capacity in Informal Science Education site.

Indigenous Knowledge and Informal STEM Learning

These resources explore some of the ways in which informal STEM education bridge Indigenous knowledge and Western science.

Broadcasting Informal STEM Education on the Small Screen

Learners of all ages have access to a wealth of informal STEM resources through the small screens of television and computers.

Affinity Spaces for Informal STEM Learning

For the NSF Science Learning+ program, Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) received funding for "Affinity Spaces for Informal Science Learning: Developing a Research Agenda." With collaborators in the US and the UK, the project is developing a set of concepts, issues and questions that will guide future investigations into how participation in online affinity spaces can promote and enable new approaches to informal science learning. The project is an innovative, pioneering exploration of a neglected but urgently needed arena of informal science learning research. This Group will provide relevant documents related to this project and future iterations of this work. Particularly with the ability of affinity spaces to connect millions of learners, developing a research agenda to learn how these spaces can involve youth in experiences across the entire spectrum of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) promises to reveal new ways to enhance and enrich the entire ecosystem of informal science learning. The project builds on a wealth of research into the educational potential of "affinity spaces" (Gee, 2004). Affinity spaces can also support the evolving model of the informal science learning ecosystem (Falk, 2013) with a digital ecosystem, a web of online interconnections between existing organizations and programs, which can promote the interrelations among the diverse communities of practice (Jenkins, et al. 2006). Capitalizing on the explosive growth in online social media, the project promises to explore new ways to engage youth and adults in the social media space in STEM discourse, and, by learning more about the potential for connections between online and real-world spaces, leverage the potential of online discourse to increase the impact of all informal science education institutions.

 
SL+ Forum: Bridging the gap: July 6-17 2015

Science Learning Plus (SL+) funders hosted an asynchronous online CAISE forum called "Bridging the practice-research gap," from July 6-17, 2015. The forum brought together participants from the UK and the US to share promising practices for creating practice-research collaborations, a key goal of the SL+ Program. Topics included: How to make collaborations effective; Bridging between practice and research; Starting new collaborations; International collaborations. The forum was designed as an opportunity for newcomers to informal STEM education, those interested in applying for Phase 2 SL+ grants, and anyone interested in learning or sharing about partnerships, especially across the practice-research gap. It was jointly moderated by Sue Allen, a consultant to the Noyce Foundation, and Colin Johnson, an advisor to the Wellcome Trust. The forum is now closed, but the archive remains open to those who would like to join to peruse the various topic threads.

For more information about the SL+ program writ large, please visit http://informalscience.org/science-learning-plus

For assistance accessing the forum, please contact: caise@informalscience.org

 
NSF INCLUDES Workshop: Achieving Scale for Inclusion in STEM

The National Science Foundation's Inclusion Across the Nation of Communities of Learners that have been Underrepresented for Diversity in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) is a multi-year comprehensive national initiative to catalyze improvement in the preparation, participation, advancement and potential contributions of those who have been traditionally underserved in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Through INCLUDES, NSF will encourage exploration of novel approaches for broadening participation, using NSF's existing investments in broadening participation as the foundation for these efforts. This Group provides workshop documentation and a dialogue forum for invited participants from across the nation who will meet on June 3, 2015 to think about the broadening participation ecosystem through the lens of collective impact and catalytic innovation, in order to develop ideas, strategies, and actions that will alter the current landscape and result in scalable solutions for the inclusion of people from all sectors of American society to engage in STEM careers.

 
Let's Talk - Discussion Group

This public forum is a continuation of the Let's Talk project. The project addresses the lack of a generalizable body of knowledge about dialogue, the need for instructional models and theory to inform the use of Dialogue programming, and the opportunity to prepare future museum professionals. In this forum, we invite you to become part of the part conversation by discussing the role of facilitated dialogue in museum-based programming, sharing new examples of innovative practice and research, and collaborating with your colleagues in the field on next steps for the field. A full project description is available here: http://bit.ly/1F9LnPD