Wednesday, August 20 through Friday, August 22, the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education CAISE hosted the 2014 National Science Foundation Advancing Informal STEM Learning (NSF AISL) Principal Investigator (PI) meeting. An AISL award and The Noyce Foundation support the SENCER-ISE initiative.
David Burns, Principal Investigator, Ellen Mappen, Project Director, and Hailey Chenevert, Project Coordinator, attended the meeting as representatives of the SENCER-ISE initiative.
The meeting brought together AISL PIs and project representatives to share their progress and results, and to discuss pressing topics faced by informal science education (ISE) institutions, such as how to measure success, the importance of reaching and maintaining the connection with new audiences, the use of new media, and how to partner with STEM educators and researchers to boost learning.
KQED Sue Ellen McCann, CAISE Co-PI and SENCER-ISE Advisory Board member, facilitated the “Diving Deeper, Looking Forward” breakout session, How is Technology Building New Audiences for ISE?, and was host to the new AISL PIs.
A number of the discussions paralleled the goals and principles of SENCER-ISE, which works to gain a better understanding of how cross-sector partnerships can provide strategies for improving STEM learning, and seeks to help the public appreciate the value of ISEs as credible and accessible high-quality lifelong-learning sources.
As Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, Assistant Director of the NSF for Education and Human Resources, said in her opening remarks, with a large percentage of learning taking place outside the classroom, the ISE sector must play a large role in “ensuring that we not only have a future set of scientists, but also in ensuring that we have a public that supports this.”
Dr. Ferrini-Mundy also noted that with its innovative and creative approaches to STEM education, the AISL community has the potential to act as a leader for the rest of the NSF community. SENCER-ISE hopes to contribute to that leadership and advancement of STEM education as we continue to support and learn from our ten Civic Engagement Partnerships.
The late Dr. Alan J. Friedman, CAISE Advisor and Founding Director of SENCER-ISE, was honored throughout the meeting, in the program book, during Dr. Ferrini-Mundy’s and CAISE Director Jamie Bell’s speeches, and through participant discussions.