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ASTC and ULC to partner in youth Learning Labs initiative funded by IMLS, MacArthur

The ASTC and the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) have announced a partnership to manage a new Learning Labs project supported through $4 million in funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

“Science centers and museums are ideal places to engage and educate young people through new forms of media, and ASTC is honored to be chosen as a cooperating partner for such an exciting and important project,” said ASTC’s CEO Anthony (Bud) Rock. “This new undertaking nicely complements our presidentially-endorsed Youth Inspired Challenge initiative, as both will help expand the impact of science centers and museums to assist our young people to become the innovative and creative thinkers we need for the 21st century.”

ASTC and ULC will be responsible for supporting a network of Learning Labs that will use best practice principles, based on research and evidence in the field of youth digital learning, to engage youth in 21st century skills and effective STEM education. The Labs will be spaces for experimentation where young people explore traditional and digital media and use hands-on, interest-based learning to strengthen their creativity and critical thinking skills.

A Request for Proposals for the Learning Labs project will be issued to eligible library and museum applicants in June, and an August deadline is anticipated. Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded for each Learning Lab, and awards will be announced by IMLS in October/November. This will be the first of two grant rounds; a second deadline will occur in April/May 2012. (Note that dates are subject to change.) Answers to frequently asked questions about the Learning Labs project are available at: www.imls.gov/pdf/MacArthurLabsFAQ.pdf.