Science Learning+ will provide up to $14.4 million to support research into how learning happens outside the classroom, exploring the most effective practices and building the evidence base in this area. The aims are: (1) to learn more about, evaluate and maximize the impact of informal learning experiences; and (2) to improve understanding of how informal environments may help to widen access to STEM for youth from all backgrounds.
One-year-long Planning Grants (proposals due on July 10, 2014) will enable initial collaboration and idea development. Partnership Grants (due in 2015), will fund research activities for up to five years.
Science Learning+ funding is particularly aimed at encouraging collaborative projects between researchers and practitioners in the U.S. and U.K., developing stronger links and partnerships internationally, and building a learning community for exchanging experience and expertise.
The program’s objectives are:
Strengthen the research and knowledge base
- Research the value and impacts of informal STEM experiences, especially upon young people from birth to 19 years old;
- Develop a theoretical understanding of the processes that lead to these impacts;
- Develop better methodologies to measure the impacts of informal STEM experiences, especially upon learning and mediation of learning;
- Build research capacity in informal STEM learning.
This blog post was contributed by Laura Batt, director of educational programs at JASON Learning, an exploration-based organization that links students to real science and scientists. Laura works in JASON's out-of-school-time division, Immersion Learning, which focuses on developing multi-media ocean science curricula.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we wanted to recognize the incredible work being done in the afterschool field to encourage and support girls in STEM. Below are a selection of recent publications and a list of girl-serving afterschool and summer programs actively working on the best ways to engage girls in STEM learning.
And for a bit of history, all this month, the National Girls Collaborative Project is highlighting women who have made and are currently making a significant impact in the STEM fields.
What resources would you add to this list? Add your comments below or send us a tweet @afterschool4all!
- SciGirls Seven: How to Engage Girls in STEM (2013)
- Effective STEM programs for adolescent girls: Three Approaches and Many Lessons Learned (2013)
- Build IT: Scaling and Sustaining an Afterschool Computer Science Program for Girls (2012)
- Project Exploration’s Sisters4Science: Involving Urban Girls of Color in Science Out of School (2010). For a summary, see this research brief.
- The Girl Game Company: Engaging Latina Girls in Information Technology (2009). For a summary see this research brief.
- Evaluating Promising Practices in Informal Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education for Girls (2008). From the Girl Scouts of the USA.
- Encouraging Girls in Math and Science: A Practice Guide (2007). From the Institute of Educational Sciences and the Department of Education.
At the recent National AfterSchool Association (NAA) Annual Convention , I co-presented with Irene Lee, an expert in computer science education, on how afterschool programs are engaging kids in computing. Irene runs two computing afterschool programs in New Mexico, Project GUTS and GUTS y Girls, and works on several initiatives with the Computer Science Teachers Association. Project GUTS was the winner of our 2013 Afterschool STEM Impact Awards!
In our conference session at NAA, we talked about what computing is, what afterschool programs are doing with computing, and some tips to get started. Interested in Computing 101 for afterschool? Check out our presentation slides!
The Expanding Minds and Opportunities compendium highlights persuasive evidence on the effectiveness of expanded learning (afterschool, summer, inter-session, etc.) opportunities. In one article, the authors state:
“…Quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities work. We know that quality expanded learning programs are associated with increased academic performance, increased attendance in school, significant improvement in behavior and social and emotional development, and greater opportunities for hands-on learning in important areas that are not typically available during the school day” (Peterson, Fowler, and Dunham, p. 357).
Lisa Mielke, a former zookeeper, is the Science Manager at TASC (The After-School Corporation). She leads STEM training and professional development for directors and front-line staff at out-of-school-time programs throughout New York City. One of the ways TASC supports schools and community partners to expand learning opportunities is to build the capacity of staff members to lead STEM inquiry.
This post originally appeared on TASC’s blog on Feb. 27, 2014.
As someone who trains hundreds of New York City out-of-school-time program directors and frontline staff every year, I’m excited about the best resource I’ve seen in ages for supporting more and better STEM learning. It’s a new, interactive professional development website called Click2Science.
We loved the message of this recent GE ad, “Childlike Imagination.” Already, it has more than 1.2 million views on YouTube. Earlier this month we blogged about the importance of mentors for inspiring girls and other populations underrepresented in STEM. Working moms in STEM surely inspire their own daughters, and we hope they seek opportunities to inspire more girls in their community!
To celebrate last week’s national Engineers Week, the Afterschool Alliance hosted a webinar featuring three incredible afterschool programs engaging students in engineering, computing and technology education. We were joined by:
- Jen Joyce, Director of Professional Development at Techbridge in Oakland, CA
- Andrew Coy, Executive Director of Digital Harbor Foundation in Baltimore, MD
- Maureen Psaila-Dombrowski, Program Coordinator at the Santa Fe Institute, representing Project GUTS
All three were featured in our latest issue brief on computing and engineering, and they were able to provide a clearer picture on what has made their afterschool programs successful. Program profiles in our Afterschool STEM Storybook provide additional information. You can watch the full recording and view the slides on our webinar archives page. Below is a quick re-cap!