Studying and Improving Networks for Disseminating STEM Educational Materials in After-School Programs

September 1st, 2009 - August 31st, 2014 | PROJECT

The intent of this project is to use social network methods to study networks of afterschool and informal science stakeholders. It would attempt to create knowledge that improves afterschool programs access to informal science learning materials. This is an applied research study that applies research methods to improving access to and enactment of informal science education programs across a range of settings. The investigators plan to collect data from 600 community- and afterschool programs in California, conduct case studies of 10 of these programs, and conduct surveys of supporting intermediary organizations. The analysis of the data will provide descriptions of the duration, intensity, and nature of the networks among afterschool programs and intermediary agencies, and the diffusion patterns of science learning materials in afterschool programs. The project will yield actionable knowledge that will be disseminated among afterschool programs, intermediary organizations, funding agencies, and policymakers to improve the dissemination and support of afterschool science learning opportunities. The project is focused on free-choice settings where every day the largest numbers of children attend afterschool programs at schools and in other community settings. It seeks information about what conditions are necessary for informal science programs to significantly impact the largest possible number of children in these settings.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Challenges in Designing and Conducting Research on Afterschool Programs
Studying and Improving Networks for Disseminating STEM Educational Materials in After-School Programs presentation
Poster - SRI's Afterschool Science Networks Study
Navigating the Future of Afterschool Science: Afterschool Science Networks Study Recommendations

Team Members

Barbara Means, Co-Principal Investigator, SRI International
Ann House, Co-Principal Investigator, SRI International
Carlin Llorente, Co-Principal Investigator, SRI International
Raymond McGhee, Co-Principal Investigator, SRI International


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0917536
Funding Amount: 2476861


Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | Evaluators | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Education and learning science | Engineering | General STEM | Mathematics | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Afterschool Programs | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Public Programs | Resource Centers and Networks