A Research to Practice Conference to Identify and Disseminate the Evidence, Characteristics and Program Models that Demonstrate the Value of Connected STEM Learning
The National Science Teachers Association will convene a conference that will bring together STEM researchers and practitioners to review the growing connected science learning movement. A connected science learning environment has been described as a robust science ecology containing a wide variety of programs, across a range of institutions and places, allowing youth different and multiple ways to engage with STEM. Such environments can include small partnerships, such as a science museum and K-12 schools, or a large, community-wide network of a variety of organizations such as K-12 schools, museums, universities, government agencies, and community organizations. The conference will bring together over forty participants, who will meet in a series of several online meetings. The conference will result in a series of papers, articles in the online Connected Science Learning journal and other publications, a series of webinars and online forums where participants can engage with themes identified in the conference, and conference presentations at the annual meetings of organizations including the National Science Teachers Association, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and others. This award is funded by the Advanced Informal STEM Learning program which seeks to advance new approaches to, and evidence-based understanding of, the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments.
The conference will: (1) document the research foundation that supports and demonstrates the impact and value of high-quality connected science learning experiences; (2) identify areas for which future research is recommended; and (3) provide effective, practitioner-focused resources that advance connected STEM learning. The conference will include participants that represent a wide range of researchers and practitioners in informal and formal STEM education, as well as representing gender, racial/ethnic and geographical diversity. The results and products of the conference will be instrumental in developing the understanding and appreciation for connecting STEM learning and ultimately improving connected STEM learning for K-12 youth. The importance of emphasizing diversity, equity, and accessibility will be strongly represented in the key evidence identified through the conference and will be reflected in the resources that will be disseminated to a broader audience.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.