A Recent Conference on Out-of-School STEM Learning in Rural Settings: Interim Report
The Rural Informal STEM Learning Conference, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and held at its headquarters on September 13–14, 2018, was the first of its kind to bring together key innovators and experts in rural STEM learning outside of school. People who live in rural settings are a frequently overlooked and significantly under-represented STEM audience. At the conference, which was led by the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, we addressed this key question: How can we build on recent innovations to create more effective experiences and pathways for informal (out-of-school) STEM learning in rural communities? Over the last decade, NSF has funded a small, committed group of organizations to design and conduct smallscale experiments in enhancing informal STEM learning in rural areas. These innovators, along with policy experts and STEM organization leaders came together to synthesize the work done so far, and to map out the synergies and fruitful directions going forward.