Pushing the Limits: Building Capacity to Enhance Public Understanding of Math and Science Through Rural Libraries

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 to Monday, August 31, 2015
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Project Descriptions
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Library Programs
Adults | General Public | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals
Education and learning science | Engineering | General STEM | Mathematics | Technology
Access and Inclusion: 
Dartmouth College, Dawson Media Group, Oregon State University

This project is intended to develop a model for STEM education through local libraries. There are several unique features in this endeavor. The model is being aimed at rural libraries and adult residents that are geographically remote from typical venues such as museums, zoos, and science centers. According to the 2000 census, there are 50 million individuals in this designation and the size of the group is increasing and becoming more diverse. Efforts to impact diverse audiences who are economically disadvantaged will be part of the plan. In many rural locations there are few community venues, but libraries are often present. The American Library Association and the Association Rural and Small Libraries have begun the reinvention of these libraries so they can become more attuned to the communities in which they are apart. Thus, this project is an effort to find new ways of communicating STEM concepts to a reasonably large underserved group. The design is to derive a "unit of knowledge enhancement" (some portion of Climate Change, for example) through a hybrid combination of book-club and scientific cafe further augmented with videos and web materials. Another part of the design is to enhance the base STEM knowledge of library staff and to associate the knowledge unit with an individual who has the specific STEM topic knowledge for a specific unit. Considerable effort shall be expended in developing the models for staff knowledge enhancement with a progressive number of librarians in training from 8 to 20 to 135. To build the content library model, five units of knowledge will be devised and circulated to participating libraries. Evaluation of the project includes front end, formative and summative by the Goodman Research Group. In addition to the "units of knowledge enhancement," the major results will be the model on how best to relate and educate citizens in rural environments and how to educate the library staff.

Funding Program: 
Award Number: 
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Team Members

Daniel RockmoreDaniel RockmorePrincipal Investigator
Marcelo GleiserMarcelo GleiserCo-Principal Investigator
Marion RiceMarion RiceFormer Principal Investigator
John H FalkCo-Principal Investigator
Alfred BennettAlfred BennettCo-Principal Investigator
Meighan MaloneyMeighan MaloneyCo-Principal Investigator

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