CAISE (Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education) hosted the 2016 AISL (Advancing Informal STEM Learning) Principal Investigators meeting outside of Washington, D.C. on February 29 through March 2. Documents from the meeting can be found here.
Jim Lewis, the Deputy Assistant Director of Education and Human Resources at the NSF, opened the meeting with a keynote address on the Foundation’s commitment to Informal STEM education. Throughout the rest of the meeting, attendees participated in sessions and discussions on topics such as connecting research and practice to create more equitable relationships, media and technology in the learning ecosystem, cyberlearning and computer science, the research behind how learning is measured, citizen science, and documenting impact over the long-term and across the ecosystem.
Meeting participants also presented posters about their AISL projects. David Burns and Hailey Chenevert’s poster about SENCER-ISE was very popular amongst poster visitors. SENCER-ISE’s emphasis on framing learning around civic engagement issues and creating equitable partnerships between higher education and informal science education institutions was very intriguing to the largely informal science education audience.
The final day of the meeting opened with a panel discussion about media and science communication, which included Sue Ellen McCann (KQED Executive in Charge, Science), Flora Lichtman (Co-Director of “Animated Life” and host of The Adaptors podcast), Miles O’Brian (Science Correspondent, PBS NewsHour), and John Besley (Associate Professor, College of Communication Arts and Science, Michigan State University). Sue Ellen McCann is on the SENCER-ISE advisory board and KQED is partnering with NCSCE on Do Now U. Flora Lichtman is a SENCER Leadership Fellow.
The most memorable part of the meeting for NCSCE was the distribution of the special Alan Friedman tribute issue of the Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal to all meeting participants. Printed copies of the ordinarily e-journal were made available through funds from the Noyce Foundation and the Alan J. Friedman Center for the Development of Young Scientists at the New York Hall of Science.