Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE)
The Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE), a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, is a partnership of the Association of Science-Technology Centers with faculty and professionals from the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE), Oregon State University (OSU), the Great Lakes Science Center, KQED Public Media, advisors and other collaborators. CAISE works to support and resource ongoing improvement of, and NSF investments in, the national infrastructure for informal Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. CAISE's roles are to build capacity and support continued professionalization for the field by fostering a community that bridges the many varied forms in which informal STEM learning experiences are developed and delivered for learners of all ages. To that end, CAISE activities also include: creating field-driven evidence databases about the impacts of informal STEM education; facilitating federated searches of those databases; furthering dialogue and knowledge transfer between learning research and practice; working to enhance the quality and diversity of evaluation knowledge and processes; and helping STEM researchers improve their efforts in informal STEM education, outreach and communication. For Principal Investigators (PIs) and potential PIs, CAISE provides resources that can assist in the development of evidence-based proposals. It also facilitates and strengthens networks through PI meetings, communications, and other methods that encourage sharing of deliverables, practices, outcomes and findings across projects. For the AISL Program at NSF, CAISE is assisting program officers in understanding the portfolio of awards, identifying the portfolio's impacts in key areas, and integrating the program's investments in education infrastructure.
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