Broad Implementation: Creating Communities Of Learners For Informal Cognitive Science Education

Thursday, September 1, 2011 to Wednesday, August 31, 2016
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Project Descriptions
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Museum and Science Center Programs, Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks, Professional Development and Workshops, Resource Centers and Networks, Exhibitions, Museum and Science Center Exhibits, Informal/Formal Connections, Higher Education Programs
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Pre-K Children (0-5) | Adults | Families | Parents/Caregivers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Scientists | Learning Researchers
Education and learning science | Nature of science | Social science and psychology
Museum of Science, Boston

Boston's Museum of Science (MOS), with Harvard as its university research partner, is extending, disseminating, and further evaluating their NSF-funded (DRL-0714706) Living Laboratory model of informal cognitive science education. In this model, early-childhood researchers have both conducted research in the MOS Discovery Center for young children and interacted with visitors during the museum's operating hours about what their research is finding about child development and cognition. Several methods of interacting with adult visitors were designed and evaluated, including the use of "research toys" as exhibits and interpretation materials. Summative evaluation of the original work indicated positive outcomes on all targeted audiences - adults with young children, museum educators, and researchers. The project is now broadening the implementation of the model by establishing three additional museum Hub Sites, each with university partners - Maryland Science Center (with Johns Hopkins), Madison Children's Museum (with University of Wisconsin, Madison), and Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (with Lewis & Clark College). The audiences continue to include researchers (including graduate and undergraduate students); museum educators; and adults with children visiting the museums. Deliverables consist of: (1) establishment of the Living Lab model at the Hub sites and continued improvement of the MOS site, (2) a virtual Hub portal for the four sites and others around the country, (3) tool-kit resources for both museums and scientists, and (4) professional symposia at all sites. Intended outcomes are: (1) improve museum educators' and museum visiting adults' understanding of cognitive/developmental psychology and research and its application to raising their children, (2) improve researchers' ability to communicate with the public and to conduct their research at the museums, and (3) increase interest in, knowledge about, and application of this model throughout the museum community and grow a network of such collaborations.

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Team Members

Becki KiplingPrincipal Investigator
Marta BiarnesMarta BiarnesCo-Principal Investigator
Clara CahillEvaluator
Catherine LussenhopCatherine LussenhopEvaluator

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