Designing Informal Vs Formal Education Activities—What We Have Learned

Date: 
Friday, May 15, 2020
Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Afterschool Programs, Informal/Formal Connections, K-12 Programs
Audience: 
Middle School Children (11-13) | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators | Learning Researchers
Discipline: 
Education and learning science | Engineering
Organization:
Hofstra University, CUNY CASE
Description: 

This paper examines the differences and challenges encountered when trying to create informal blended (virtual and hands-on) engineering design STEM activities. It contrasts the creation of STEM activities for formal and informal learning environments, stressing that the differences extend far beyond the length of the activity or depth of any learning goals. The discussion begins with an examination of differences between the two learning environments that need to be taken into consideration. These differences include the physical environments, organizational structures, and the goals or reasons for the delivery of STEM activities in both environments. The paper continues by explaining why curriculum developers must be mindful of the context that will be implementing the activities, including space and time availability. The facilitators who deliver STEM activities are likely to have very different backgrounds in formal school settings compared to informal settings. Furthermore, it is important to recognize that youth in informal settings often push back when activities seem too “school-like.” The paper concludes by presenting a detailed examination of the iterative process used to develop blended engineering design STEM activities in an informal setting. This process involved several revisions and tests of materials with youth in informal settings.

Funder(s): 
NSF
Funding Program: 
AISL
Award Number: 
1422436
Citation
DOI:
10.14434/ijdl.v11i2.27321
Publication Name: 
International Journal of Designs for Learning
Volume: 
11
Number: 
2
Page Number: 
39-45
Document:

Team Members

David BurghardtPrincipal Investigator
Deborah HechtDeborah HechtEvaluator

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