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Project Descriptions

A Research+Practice Collaboratory (2012-2017)

November 1, 2012 - October 31, 2017 | Media and Technology, Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks

The Exploratorium comes together with the Education Development Center, Inverness Research, TERC, the University of Colorado - Boulder, and the University of Washington to form a Research+Practice (R+P) Collaboratory. The Collaboratory seeks to address and reframe the gap between research and practice in K-12 STEM education. This gap persists despite decades of work by many leading organizations, associations, and individuals. Attempts to close the gap have generally focused on creating resources and mechanisms that first explain or illustrate "what research says" and then invite educators to access and integrate findings into practice. Recently, however, attention has turned to the ways in which the medical sciences are addressing the gap between research and clinical practice through the developing field of "translational research." In medicine, the strategy has been to shift the focus from adoption to adaptation of research into practice. Implicit in the notion of adaptation is a bi-directional process of cultural exchange in which both researchers and practitioners come to understand how the knowledge products of each field can strengthen the professional activities in the other. Along these lines, the R+P Collaboratory is working with leading professional associations and STEM improvement efforts to leverage their existing knowledge and experience and to build sustainable strategies for closing the gap. The R+P Collaboratory is developing an online 'Go-To' Resource Center website that houses the resources collected, created, and curated by the Collaboratory. The Resource Center also has significant 'Take-Out' features, with all materials meta-tagged so that they can be automatically uploaded, reformatted, and integrated into the existing communication and professional development mechanisms (e.g., newsletters, digests, conferences, and websites) of a dozen leading professional associations within a Professional Association Partner Network. In light of new and emerging standards in the STEM disciplines, the Collaboratory is focusing its work on four salient and timely bodies of research: (a) STEM Practices, (b) Formative Assessment, (c) Cyberlearning, and (d) Learning as a Cross-Setting Phenomenon. Special emphasis is being placed on research and practice that focuses on the learning of children and youth from communities historically underrepresented in STEM fields.


Funding Program: ITEST
Award Number: 1238253
Funding Amount: 7346532


  • BB 2015 leaves2
    Principal Investigator
  • REVISE logo
    Co-Principal Investigator
    TERC Inc
  • Bell March2016 headshot
    Co-Principal Investigator
    University of Washington
  • 2015 07 07 BP CU Web Site Portrait
    Co-Principal Investigator
    University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Pamela Buffington
    Co-Principal Investigator
  • Barbara Berns
    Former Co-Principal Investigator
  • Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM
    Audience: Undergraduate/Graduate Students | General Public | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals
    Environment Type: Media and Technology | Websites, Mobile Apps, and Online Media | Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks | Resource Centers and Networks

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