Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (2016-2021)
The Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded resource center, working in cooperation with the NSF Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program to build and advance the informal STEM education field. CAISE continues the work it began in 2007--serving professional audiences in informal STEM learning, which includes those working in science centers and museums, zoos and aquariums, parks, botanical gardens and nature centers, events and festivals, libraries, making and tinkering spaces, media (TV, radio, film, social), cyberlearning and gaming, and youth, community, and out-of-school time programs.
CAISE seeks to characterize, highlight, and connect quality, evidence-based informal STEM learning work supported by a diversity of federal, local, and private funders by providing access to over 8,000 (and growing) resources that include project descriptions, research literature, evaluation reports and other documentation on the InformalScience.org website. In addition, CAISE convenes inquiry groups, workshops and principal investigator meetings designed to facilitate discussion and identify the needs and opportunities for informal STEM learning.
In this award, CAISE is also tasked with advancing and better integrating the professional fields of informal STEM learning and science communication by (1) broadening participation in these fields, (2) deepening links between research and practice, and (3) building capacity in evaluation and measurement. These activities are being undertaken by cross-sector task forces of established and emerging who will be responsible for conducting field-level analyses, engaging stakeholders, and creating roadmaps for future efforts. CAISE is also building on existing communication channels for dissemination to the larger field, and through the InformalScience.org website. An External Review Board and Inverness Research are providing oversight of CAISE's program activities and evaluation of the center.
CAISE operates as a network of core staff housed at the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) in Washington, D.C. and co-principal investigators and other collaborators at academic institutions and informal STEM education (ISE) organizations across the U.S. Other key collaborators are the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Center for Public Engagement with Science, the National Informal STEM Education Network, and Arizona State University.
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