Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (2012-2015)

June 15th, 2012 - May 31st, 2015 | PROJECT

The Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE), a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, is a partnership of the Association of Science-Technology Centers with faculty and professionals from the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE), Oregon State University (OSU), the Great Lakes Science Center, KQED Public Media, advisors and other collaborators. CAISE works to support and resource ongoing improvement of, and NSF investments in, the national infrastructure for informal Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. CAISE's roles are to build capacity and support continued professionalization for the field by fostering a community that bridges the many varied forms in which informal STEM learning experiences are developed and delivered for learners of all ages. To that end, CAISE activities also include: creating field-driven evidence databases about the impacts of informal STEM education; facilitating federated searches of those databases; furthering dialogue and knowledge transfer between learning research and practice; working to enhance the quality and diversity of evaluation knowledge and processes; and helping STEM researchers improve their efforts in informal STEM education, outreach and communication. For Principal Investigators (PIs) and potential PIs, CAISE provides resources that can assist in the development of evidence-based proposals. It also facilitates and strengthens networks through PI meetings, communications, and other methods that encourage sharing of deliverables, practices, outcomes and findings across projects. For the AISL Program at NSF, CAISE is assisting program officers in understanding the portfolio of awards, identifying the portfolio's impacts in key areas, and integrating the program's investments in education infrastructure.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products User Study User Study Infographic
Informal STEM Education: Resources for Outreach, Engagement and Broader Impacts
Blog Series on Institutional Review Board (IRB) Considerations in Informal Science Education Settings
The Palo Alto Convening on Assessment in Informal Settings Synthesis Report
Summary of the CAISE Convening on Building Capacity for Evaluation in Informal Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education
Informal Science Education: Lifelong, Life-Wide, Life-Deep
Informal STEM Learning: A Roadmap for Research and Practice
2014 AISL PI Meeting Visual Documentation
Practitioner Perspective: Reflections and Questions for the CAISE Convening on Evaluation and Practice
Reflections on Evaluation: An “Organizational Leadership” Perspective
Funder Perspective: Perspectives on Funders and ISE Evaluation
Evaluator Perspective - Returning to the informal: Changing questions and changing assumptions
CAISE Convening on Broader Impacts and ISE Front‐End Report
The Year in Informal
CAISE Year Nine Evaluation Report
CAISE Year 8 and Year 9 Evaluation Reports

Team Members

James Bell, Principal Investigator, Association of Science-Technology Centers
John H Falk, Co-Principal Investigator, Oregon State University
Kevin Crowley, Co-Principal Investigator, University of Pittsburgh
Kirsten Ellenbogen, Co-Principal Investigator, Great Lakes Science Center
Sue Ellen McCann, Co-Principal Investigator, KQED Public Media
Trevor Nesbit, Contributor, Association of Science-Technology Centers
Kalie Sacco, Project Manager, Association of Science-Technology Centers
Wendy Pollock, Former Principal Investigator, Association of Science-Technology Centers
Grace Troxel, Contributor, Association of Science-Technology Centers
Jared Nielsen, Contributor, Association of Science-Technology Centers
Patricia Montano, Project Manager, Association of Science-Technology Centers


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 1212803
Funding Amount: $499,788


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Evaluators | Museum | ISE Professionals | Scientists
Discipline: Education and learning science | Engineering | General STEM | Mathematics | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Resource Centers and Networks