Whether seeking broader impacts for their research, planning to work more inclusively and equitably with their local communities or wanting to build and share education, communication and outreach knowledge for the wider field, scientists and STEM-based professionals often want to know what has worked for others and under what conditions.
What is CAISE?
The Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) is a resource center for the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program at the US National Science Foundation that provides resources and connectivity for informal STEM learning or science communication professionals who are seeking project examples, research articles or evaluation reports to inform their thinking and work, leveraging projects funded by the AISL program as a starting place.
Broadening the participation of underrepresented communities in STEM is a common goal and challenge across science communication and STEM education. At Science Talk ‘20 CAISE had the pleasure of conducting a pre-conference workshop on Broadening Perspectives on Broadening Participation, using a toolkit that our task force developed and can be downloaded as one pdf here. .The workshop addressed concepts and issues such as the cultural norms of STEM, asset vs. deficit- based approaches, and how to leverage learning research to inform communication strategies. With each new iteration of this workshop we have learned how to help professionals working in institutions and organizations introduce and facilitate conversations to identify barriers to broadening participation such as narrow definitions of STEM, pipelines vs. pathways and inadequate institutional support.
During this past turbulent year CAISE, like Science Talk and many others, has reprioritized our offerings to help support the STEM learning and science communication communities navigate the disruptions and challenges that the pandemic, and economic, systemic racism and social (in)justice crises have presented. We have sought and solicited contributions from the field on topics such as Equity in Informal Science Institutions: Insights and Practical Suggestions for Organizational Change, as well as highlighted findings from projects funded by the NSF AISL program on children’s COVID-19 questions and what it means to host a conference during the pandemic. CAISE has also initiated a BIPOC Voices interview and blog series with practitioners and scholars who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color working in a variety of education and communication settings.
The CAISE team continued to learn new things at Science Talk ‘21, which focused on Resilience, including how to continue to create, curate and share knowledge and resources that can support inclusive, equitable, and evidence-based practices across the STEM learning, communication and engagement landscape.
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