CAREER Award: ILETES: Informal Learning Environments in Teacher Education for STEM

Friday, June 1, 2018 to Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Resource Type:
Project Descriptions
Environment Type: 
Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks, Professional Development and Workshops, Informal/Formal Connections, K-12 Programs
Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Learning Researchers
Education and learning science | General STEM
CUNY Graduate School University Center

This CAREER proposal focuses on the development of teachers' identities, which are operationalized as beliefs and practices, behaviors, and pedagogical knowledge. The PI uses a qualitative approach, occurring over two phases, to investigate the impact of formal-informal collaborations on identity development over time. The study is grounded in an ecological theoretical approach that incorporates a view of informal learning settings as learner-driven and unique in providing opportunities for interaction with objects during meaning-making experiences among groups of learners. The longitudinal research design includes collection of an array of data, including observations of teaching and learning activities, interviews, survey responses, and archival documents such as student work and videos of classroom experiences. The PI uses a narrative analysis and a grounded theoretical approach to generate themes about beliefs and practices around behaviors and pedagogical knowledge informed by informal science education experiences.

Research findings and related educational activities inform the field's understanding of best practices of integrating informal science activities into science teacher education, including determining appropriate kinds of support for STEM teachers who learn to teach in informal learning environments (ILE). The PI is integrating research findings in the revision of existing courses and the development of new courses and experiences for both new and experienced teachers. The project addresses the need for empirical evidence of impacts of ILE experiences on professional development, and will build capacity of informal science institution and university professionals to provide effective teacher education experiences and new teacher support.

Funding Program: 
AISL, Discovery Research K-12
Award Number: 
Funding Amount: 

Team Members

Jennifer AdamsPrincipal Investigator

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