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Snacks by Melissa Ballard
JUL
29

STEM
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Tell us your thoughts on computer science in afterschool!

By Melissa Ballard

We need your help to better understand what the afterschool field thinks about computing and computer science education. Don’t know what those terms mean? That’s okay! We are looking for a range of practitioners to respond to this survey—from those with no familiarity, all the way to those who would consider themselves experts!

Because we value your time and expertise, we’re giving away some prizes! Complete the survey before August 7 to be in the running for a brand-new iPad Air. If completed before the final deadline of August 14, you will be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

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learn more about: Science
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JUL
10

STEM
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The latest in STEM learning research: July 2015

By Melissa Ballard

It’s all about making and tinkering in this month’s batch of research briefs from the Relating Research to Practice (RR2P) project! Three of these briefs were also featured in the Connected Collection, “Learning through Tinkering in STEM Education.” For a great discussion with researchers and practitioners, check our June webinar, “Digging into Research: Making and Tinkering in Afterschool.”

Follow the RR2P project on Twitter and Facebook


An overview of learning through making and tinkering

Vossoughi and Bevan conducted a literature review of educational research on making and tinkering. They considered what was known about learning opportunities for young people afforded by high-quality tinkering and making experiences. Specifically, they reviewed the historical roots of making, the emerging design principles that characterized tinkering and making programs, the pedagogical theories and practices that lead to supportive and collaborative learning environments, and the possibilities and tensions associated with equity-oriented teaching and learning.

Keywords:  Creativity, Culture, Equity, Everyday Experiences, Learning Across Settings, Participation

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learn more about: Equity Science
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JUN
18

STEM
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Digging into research with new resources & webinars!

By Melissa Ballard

We’re excited to announce the release of a new resource from our friends at the Research + Practice Collaboratory—the Connected Collection! Each collection synthesizes of-the-moment science education topics and comes with a bundle of research briefs that provide multiple cases, examples, and ongoing challenges for busy professionals to consider as they seek to improve learning environments for youth. The Connected Collection emerged from our work on the Relating Research to Practice project as a practical tool that out-of-school-time practitioners could use to help expand their own thinking, shape program structure and guide the professional development of staff.

What’s ready for you now:

 Coming up:

  1. Gender Equity
  2. Interest and Identity
  3. STEM Practices
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learn more about: Science
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APR
20

STEM
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Enter the STEM Uncovered video competition

By Melissa Ballard

Every day a light goes on in a young person's head as they grasp new concepts in science, mathematics, engineering and technology (STEM), all because an afterschool or summer learning program has created a hands-on experience where interests are sparked and passions are fueled. Now is the time to tell that story!

Afterschool and summer learning STEM programs are invited to enter the STEM Uncovered: Telling Our Afterschool Stories video competition, a national video competition sponsored by the Noyce Foundation with support from the C.S. Mott Foundation.

Create a short (3 minute) video highlighting the impact of your program—students should creatively communicate what they love about their afterschool and summer STEM learning programs and how it inspires their future plans.

Deadlines:

  • June 15 (for school-year afterschool programs)
  • August 1 (for summer programs)

Six winning videos (3 videos from each category) will receive:

  1. An award of $1,000
  2. Recognition at a national STEM Summit in September 2015 in Washington D.C.
  3. The opportunity to work with media consultant Mobile Digital Arts to edit and refine submissions for broader dissemination

Visit www.stemvideocompetition.org for more information about the competition and video guidelines.

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learn more about: Science Arts
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MAR
13

STEM
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The latest in STEM learning research: March 2015

By Melissa Ballard

In this month’s batch of research briefs from the Relating Research to Practice (RR2P) project, we’ve got new research on scaling up effective education programs; understanding how youth learn across in-school and out-of-school settings; and more! One brief from Afterschool Alliance VP of STEM Policy Anita Krishnamurthi covers research on why and when we become interested in STEM.

Follow the RR2P project on Twitter and Facebook


Exploring the causes of initial interest and retention of interest in STEM

Researchers Maltese, Melki, and Wiebke investigated when lasting interest in STEM is sparked and how it is maintained by comparing the experiences of adults who did and did not persist in STEM. Both groups said that they became interested in STEM early, usually by Grade 6. Those who persisted in STEM were more likely than those who did not to say that they had always been interested in STEM. Parents and teachers were early influences for those who stayed in STEM fields.

KEYWORDS: Families, Learning progressions, Motivation.

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learn more about: Science
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JAN
27

STEM
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The latest in STEM learning research: January 2015

By Melissa Ballard

Interested in what current research in education is saying about STEM learning?  Don’t have time to keep up with it all?  We hear you!

We’ve been a part of the Relating Research to Practice project for a while now, and we think it’s a fantastic resource.  Along with a group of researchers from the Exploratorium, the University of Washington and Kings College London, we monitor more than 10 peer-reviewed journals in science education, museum studies and the learning sciences.

Then, we write short briefs intended for educators who work in afterschool and summer programs, at science centers and museums, and in other out-of-school time settings.  The briefs are written with the interests, needs, and institutional settings of these educators in mind, with the hope that they'll be used to inform professional development, discussion, reflection and practice.

So whether you’re interested in equity, identity or environmental education—there’s something for you!

Want to get the monthly updates in your inbox? Register on the RR2P website and elect to receive the monthly digests.  And be sure to follow the RR2P project on Twitter and Facebook!

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learn more about: Science
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JAN
20

STEM
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Guest blog: Student and families coding & making together

By Melissa Ballard

Ricarose Roque is a PhD candidate with the Lifelong Kindergarten research group at the MIT Media Lab.  She leads the Family Creative Learning project, a program that engages whole families to learn together with creative technologies.  She is also a member of the MIT Scratch Team, which designs and develops the Scratch programming language and online community for kids.  Previously, she helped to coordinate the Project GUTS afterschool program in Chicago, IL and worked on other educational technology projects such as StarLogo TNG, a programming and simulation environment for kids. 

With our rapidly changing world, how can we engage our youth and our communities as creators and inventors to shape an increasingly digital society?  I believe that engaging whole families in creative learning experiences with technology can build a necessary network of support as youth participate and pursue their interests in an ever-changing landscape.

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learn more about: Guest Blog Science
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JAN
13

STEM
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Successful science center partnerships for Lights On Afterschool

By Melissa Ballard

This past October, 20 science centers and afterschool programs across the U.S. partnered up to co-host a STEM-themed Lights On Afterschool event in their community. Most partners had previously been interested in working together, but hadn’t yet found the right opportunity to do so. We worked with the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) to offer a $1,500 mini-grant that would allow each science center-afterschool pair to make the first steps in what we hoped to be a continuing partnership.

After hearing back from all the grantees, we’re happy to report that the initiative saw many successes! An average of 190 children and 50 adults attended each event, participating in a variety of hands-on science, engineering, and “maker”-style activities. Science center and afterschool partners were able to learn more about each other’s work and find common ground. Many of the Statewide Afterschool Networks and city intermediaries lent a hand, inviting local policy makers and other VIP’s.

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learn more about: Competition Events and Briefings Science State Networks Academic Enrichment Community Partners
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