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CAISE NEWS RSS Feed

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    In 1970 my wife and I made a vacation trip to England, the first time we had traveled outside the United States. I was a brand new assistant professor of physics and was sure my career would always be in physics research and teaching. In a few days, a series of museum experiences taught me three lessons that completely changed my views of what museums could do, and eventually changed my career choices.


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  • 03/21/08--00:00: Forces of Nature
  • Forces of NatureForces of Nature, a giant-screen film made possible in part by the NSF's ISE Program, showcases some of the most dramatic geological and meteorological events on Earth-earthquakes, volcanoes, and severe storms. Viewers follow scientists on their groundbreaking quests to predict these natural disasters and to mitigate their destructive effects.


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    A three-year nationwide study found that a visit to a zoo or aquarium in North America had a measurable impact on the conservation attitudes and understanding of adult visitors. The study, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) ( DRL-0205843) and developed through partnerships with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Institute of Learning Innovation (ILI), and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, provides additional evidence for a growing body of research that shows that informal science education experiences support the public's science understanding and, at least in the case of zoos and aquariums, enhance the public's appreciation for and commitment to animal conservation.


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    Visits to science centers and museums can elicit powerful emotions, which help create memorable learning experiences, reinforce existing knowledge, and encourage positive attitudes toward learning and careers in science. This was the conclusion of a review of the evidence undertaken in 2006 by Ecsite, the U.K. Network of Science Centres and Museums. This article summarizes the evidence reviewed in Ecsite-uk's full report.


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    A recent collaboration between the production staff of DragonflyTV and 29 institutions of informal science learning pushed beyond the traditional roles of museum-media partnerships by engaging museum professionals in the production of television content and featuring the partner institutions on the TV show. The 14 DragonflyTV episodes produced as part of these partnerships were subtitled DragonflyTV GPS: Going Places in Science and were produced over two production seasons.


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    Youth Astronomy ApprenticeshipYouth Astronomy Apprenticeship (YAA) is an out-of-school time initiative that fosters science learning as an effective way of promoting overall youth development and competitive professional opportunities among urban teenage youth and their communities. The program progressively develops youth's science knowledge and 21st century employable skills through several program stages. In the after-school program, youth engage in astronomy investigations, take astronomical images using robotic telescopes, learn to process astronomical images, and produce reports and presentations about their investigations.


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    The St. Louis Science Center, in collaboration with the City College of New York and the Science Museum of Minnesota, are combining their considerable expertise with youth programs to create new opportunities for after-school STEM learning.


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  • 10/02/08--07:09: CAISE Online Discussions
  • CAISE hosts online discussions with a focus on topics investigated by CAISE Inquiry Groups and NSF-sponsored informal science education workshps and conferences. Join the CAISE Forum to participate.  


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    In 1970 my wife and I made a vacation trip to England, the first time we had traveled outside the United States. I was a brand new assistant professor of physics and was sure my career would always be in physics research and teaching. In a few days, a series of museum experiences taught me three lessons that completely changed my views of what museums could do, and eventually changed my career choices. As we planned our trip, I knew in advance some of the things I wanted to see. Among my interests were astronomy, ships, and clocks. So we planned to visit the Old Royal Observatory at Greenwich, the Cutty Sark clipper ship, and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, which I’d heard had many ship models and old clocks. I had noticed that in fact these three attractions were within walking distance of each other, but I hadn’t wondered why an observatory might be close to a maritime museum. I knew that there was a connection between astronomy and sailing (something to do with navigation), but it wasn’t a particularly important connection for science, I thought.


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    Visits to science centers and museums can elicit powerful emotions, which help create memorable learning experiences, reinforce existing knowledge, and encourage positive attitudes toward learning and careers in science. This was the conclusion of a review of the evidence undertaken in 2006 by Ecsite, the U.K. Network of Science Centres and Museums. Established in April 2001, the network represents more than 50 science centers and a similar number of discovery centers in museums, botanic gardens, aquariums, and zoos. (Throughout this article, the term science center is used to refer to all of these types of institutions.) This article summarizes the evidence reviewed in Ecsite-uk’s full report.


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  • 10/09/08--10:35: CAISE Fellows 2008-09
  • The CAISE Fellows Program aims to broaden participation by and build capacity of professionals in informal science education (ISE) who are from underrepresented groups and underrepresented regions of the United States. During 2008-2009, the program was structured around mentoring and networking events that inform participants about grant proposal writing, grant administration, NSF and its ISE Program, and the development of innovative ISE programs and services.


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    A three-year nationwide study found that a visit to a zoo or aquarium in North America had a measurable impact on the conservation attitudes and understanding of adult visitors. The study, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (DRL-0205843) and developed through partnerships with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI), and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, provides additional evidence for a growing body of research that shows that informal science education experiences support the public’s science understanding and, at least in the case of zoos and aquariums, enhance the public’s appreciation for and commitment to animal conservation.


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    The CAISE Leadership & Diversity Fellows Program aims to broaden participation by and build capacity of ISE professionals who are from underrepresented groups and underrepresented regions of the United States. The program is structured around mentoring and networking events that inform participants about grant proposal writing, grant administration, NSF and its ISE Program, and the development of innovative ISE programs and services. Application information for the 2009-2010 program will be available in February 2009.

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    The CAISE Inquiry Group on Public Participation in Research seeks input about the myriad ways that individuals and groups of non-scientists are participating in scientific investigations.


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    The group has developed a set of questions to pilot with several groups who have worked with NSF funding to increase access


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    While informal science education (ISE) has long used the terms engage and engagement to describe many of the things we do to attract, interest, and involve people in learning about science, the public policy meaning of engagement focuses on seeking public input into policy decisions about the application of science and technology in our society. In the last several years ISE professionals have begun to explore what Public Engagement in Science in informal science education might mean.


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  • 11/17/08--12:50: CAISE Sessions at ASTC 2008
  • ASTC 2008At ASTC 2008 CAISE hosted two sessions reporting out current work.Audience members had the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on its current activities ...


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    CAISE organizes biennial ISE Summits in Washington, DC, for principal investigators of projects supported by the NSF Informal Science Education (ISE) Program and others who take an active interest in broad strategic issues that cut across the informal science education field. ISE Summits offer an opportunity to discuss trends and issues in the field and to get updates on the latest directions in federal funding. The next ISE Summit is scheduled for March 3-5, 2010.

    To read about the 2008 ISE Summit, follow the link (below).


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    At the request of the National Science Foundation (NSF), CAISE is organizing a meeting for NSF Informal Science Education (ISE) Program principal investigators (PIs), July 25-26, in Washington, D.C. The ISE PI Summit 2008 will provide PIs of recent and active NSF ISE grants the opportunity to discuss the state of ISE with other leaders in the field and to get updates on the latest directions in NSF funding. ISE PI Summit 2008 will be held at the National Zoo and the nearby Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.


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    Travel and Hotel Information for the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.


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