There's a growing body of knowledge about teaching and learning in informal environments such as afterschool and summer programs, science centers and museums, and other out-of-school time settings. However, most educational research still focuses on classrooms, and much of this research is not easily accessible to educators working in informal settings. These studies can be informative and relevant to afterschool and the field of informal science education (ISE), and the Relating Research to Practice (RR2P) project seeks to connect informal science educators to this research.
The Relating Research to Practice project
NCWIT is a nonprofit community of more than 450 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and nonprofits working to increase women's participation in technology and computing. Latinas & Tecnología de la Información is a project of NCWIT’s K-12 Alliance, funded by Motorola Solutions Foundation. NCWIT K-12 Alliance is comprised of nearly 45 national girl-serving organizations, professional educator associations, academic institutions and businesses working to make all girls more aware, interested and confident with technology.
The Afterschool Alliance is a member of the K-12 Alliance, along with several other afterschool-allied organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club, 4-H and Techbridge.
Sarah Carter is the STEM and Outreach Specialist for SciGirls, a children’s television show, website, and outreach effort produced by Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minnesota. SciGirls mission is to inspire millions of girls to explore STEM and STEM careers.
If you haven't seen the Emmy-nominated SciGirls television show from PBS Kids Go, you're missing out on a powerful teaching tool that features real tween girls putting science and engineering to work in their everyday lives. The SciGirls brand has grown into a far-reaching transmedia enterprise, serving girls, families and educators in both English and Spanish. Using evidence-based practices in STEM education for girls, SciGirls’ videos, online resources, hands-on activities and professional development work together to address a singular but powerful goal: to inspire, enable and maximize STEM learning and participation for all girls, encouraging greater interest in STEM careers.
The Spirit of Innovation Challenge is for students aged 13-18 who want to create the next world-changing, commercially-viable product or service that addresses global sustainability.
To celebrate the launch of the 2013-2014 Spirit of Innovation Challenge, the Conrad Foundationis bringing the world together for a night of innovation and entrepreneurship. Live streamed from Space Center Houston at www.ConradAwards.org and +SocialGood, don't miss this one-night-only global event dedicated to finding ways to change the world.
Join in and:
- Learn how YOU can be a part of the 7th Annual Spirit of Innovation Challenge
- Listen to world-famous entrepreneurs discussing how education and innovation put them on the path to making the world a better place
- Discover how to run a brainstorming session that can kickstart your Spirit of Innovation Challenge team project in to high gear
- Participate in the conversation via Twitter using #SOICLaunch and @ConradAwards
- Share how many product ideas your team generated via Twitter and Instagram using #SOICLaunch
By Jodi Grant
Earlier this week, the Coalition for Science After School (CSAS) announced plans to sunset early next year, concluding a decade of impressive work advancing the cause of science education in afterschool programs. I have been privileged to serve on the organization's advisory board, so I've seen up close the outstanding work of the organization.
When CSAS came on the scene in 2004, afterschool programs had barely begun to tap their STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) potential. With CSAS's leadership, the contributions of several other state and national organizations, and countless hours of hard work by educators in the field, afterschool programs are now rightly recognized as a vital force for STEM. Across the nation today, afterschool and summer learning programs are offering kids hands-on, sleeves-rolled-up opportunities to build robots, to plant and tend gardens, learn about biology and rocketry, and so much more.
This has been a busy summer for immigration reform advocates—after years of inaction, Congress has started acting quite rapidly on immigration reform legislation. Immigration reform has intersected with STEM education improvement efforts in a very unexpected and interesting way in both the House and Senate versions of the legislation. The basic idea is that employers who hire foreign nationals would pay a fee for H-1B visas that would be deposited into a “STEM Education and Training Account.”
- 70% to support formula-based funding to states to support STEM activities related to strengthening standards, recruiting educators, promote college completion, and improving community college and worker training programs. The provision also emphasizes computer science as an encouraged focus area. The initiative would be run through the Department of Education and administered jointly by governors and chief state school officers.
- 20% to support minority-serving institutions of higher education in pursuing STEM-related activities through the Department of Education.
- 5% for STEM-related job training administered by the Department of Labor.
- 3% to support the creation of “American Dream Accounts” by the Department of Education to support college tuition for low-income students studying in STEM fields.
- 2% for administration of STEM programs, including evaluation, by the Department of Education.
The Afterschool Alliance is very excited to announce that we have formalized a partnership with the Association of Science-Technology Centers(ASTC), the professional association of science centers and museums dedicated to furthering public engagement with science. This formal partnership and the actions we will take form our Commitment to Action for the Clinton Global Initiative America. CGI America is an annual event focused on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in the United States, bringing together leaders from the business, foundation, NGO and government sectors to advance a number of domestic objectives, including education and skills development.
Afterschool programs pride themselves on forming deep and meaningful partnerships in their communities to offer programming that can engage young people. As afterschool providers continue to enthusiastically embrace STEM programming, they are staying true to the philosophy of bringing together community assets and are forming partnerships with STEM-rich institutions in their communities.
Science centers are natural partners for afterschool providers as they have STEM content expertise as well as experience teaching STEM in the out-of-school time environment, frequently provide professional development opportunities for educators, have great hands-on resources, and are increasingly looking to do more community outreach. Science centers range from very large museums in large urban centers to mid-size and smaller locations in small towns and rural areas. While some science centers are already engaged in the afterschool space, many are not aware of the potential of afterschool STEM learning and how they can partner effectively.
Alyssa Schwenk is the research associate at Change the Equation, a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to mobilizing the business community to improve the quality of STEM education nationwide. To that end, they have developed iOn Future, a program geared toward sparking middle schoolers’ interest in a STEM career.
Looking for a way to introduce your students to the wide world of STEM this summer? Try iOn Future, an online learning suite featuring four STEM-centric games. iOn Future helps middle schoolers see how STEM is used every day in their own world, and helps them identify what STEM careers might be most interesting to them. It's designed to support and extend programming around STEM and STEM careers. Leaders can use the game to preview units on STEM careers, and students can use the game independently to explore career paths of interest to them like astrobiology, oceanography or mechanical engineering. Download the iOn Future Learning Guide or visit iOnFuture.org to learn more.
In the STEM Career Matchmaker game, students can choose topics of interest and are returned a list of careers that match. They can further sort careers by the skills needed, education level required and the potential salary they can make.