Upcoming Webinar- Back to School: Techniques and Tips for Evaluating School Group Experiences

September 8th, 2014 - Posted in Events, Professional Development by Mary Mathias

It’s that time of year when students are heading back to school and museums are getting ready for school group visits. But how do you know what students are learning and what can you say about the long-term impacts of sometimes very short experiences? In this webinar, we will explore concrete ways to evaluate school group visit experiences and get the most valuable and helpful feedback possible.

Join Jennifer Borland, a Senior Evaluator with Rockman Et Al – an evaluation firm that specializes in museum-based program evaluation – on September 24 at 2:00 p.m. ET for an hour-long, in-depth session that explores basic techniques, helpful hints, and creative ways to evaluate school group programs and visits.

This webinar is being co-hosted by the Association of Science-Technology Centers and the Visitor Studies Association. The registration fee is $25 and includes access to an archived recording of the webinar, a detailed handout with a variety of tips, and a digital badge/certificate for participating in the webinar.

Webinar participants will:

  • Learn tips and tricks for developing evaluation strategies for school groups (or ways to improve existing plans)
  • Learn how to hone evaluation instruments so that they are effective tools for gathering the type of data that is most helpful to you and your institution
  • Leave with actionable steps for effective school-group evaluation that can be implemented immediately
  • Get ideas for making school-group evaluation more fun and effective
  • Get ideas for how to use technology to streamline the evaluation process
  • Establish plans for utilizing evaluation data to make programmatic improvements in the future

Register Now
Date: September 24, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT
Fee: $25

ASTC Member Profile: The Science Zone – Casper, Wyoming

September 4th, 2014 - Posted in Member News by Mary Mathias

Mission: “The Science Zone strives to be the premier science center in Central Wyoming by offering quality programming, educators, and exhibits. We provide high-interest, hands-on learning experiences for all ages, thereby making involvement in STEM an integral part of our patrons’ lives.”

The Science Zone in Casper, Wyoming is the only public science center in the state. The center is designed for children and families to explore science, technology, engineering, and math through hands-on activities and programs. The museum currently has six main exhibits, including the Reflection Zone, Zone Zoo, Engineering Zone, and Bubble Zone, as well as sections on electricity and nanotechnology. It also boasts a variety of after school science clubs, such as:

The Science Zone also hosts a home school science class, a pre-K and younger science program, a monthly Night at the Museum evening event, and also runs a high school explainer program.

For more information, visit www.thesciencezone.org.

ASTC Member Profile: Museo de los Niños de Caracas – Caracas, Venezuela

September 4th, 2014 - Posted in Member News by Mary Mathias

Mission: Helping children to “learn by playing” with the principles of science, technology, art, and the fundamental values of society.

The Museo de los Niños de Caracas opened after eight years of planning, on August 5, 1982, led by Alicia Pietri de Caldera, the First Lady of Venezuela from 1969-1974 and 1994-1999. Exhibits and experiences at the museum are designed for children ages 6 to 14 and focus on being the opposite of a traditional “do not touch” museum. Exhibits are divided into four core subjects:

  • Biology – The Biology area includes information on the human body and brain, genetics, health and nutrition, and microscopy. Many of the exhibits include three-dimensional models and other interactive elements.
  • Communication – The Communication area includes exhibits on language, telecommunication, television, photography, film, and computing.
  • Ecology – The Ecology area demonstrates the relationships between living things and their surroundings, including information on ecosystems, food chains, natural resources, alternative energies, and environmental protection.
  • Physics – The Physics area covers the foundations of mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity, optics, and more thorough hands-on activities.

Visitors can also participate in programs on space travel, color, and living a drug-free life, as well as visit the newest exhibit all about energy. The museum also has a planetarium and hosts programs for children during school breaks and corporate events.

The Museo de los Niños de Caracas is open daily. For more information, visit www.maravillosarealidad.com/.

Science Festivals: Celebrations of Science Around the World

September 2nd, 2014 - Posted in 2014, Dimensions by Emily Schuster

This is an extended version of an article that appeared in the September/October 2014 issue of Dimensions magazine.

A growing number of science festivals are now taking place across the world every year. In the United States alone, around four dozen new science festival initiatives have emerged in just the past five years. Each science festival is the unique product of its own cultural geography, community, and leadership. They vary dramatically in scope, but many of these vibrant celebrations of science and technology are multiday, multivenue celebrations featuring scores—or even hundreds—of events across a region.
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If you could change one thing about the science center and museum field, what would it be?

September 1st, 2014 - Posted in 2014, Dimensions, Viewpoints by Emily Schuster

This is an extended discussion of the question that appeared in the Viewpoints department of the September/October 2014 issue of Dimensions magazine.

I worry that we are not confident enough about our place in the science learning ecosystem, with the result that we try to do more than we need to.  We may be less good at delivering information to people than the web or schools, but we are much better at instilling curiosity, providing context and providing a social environment where people can learn together and see each other learn.  We don’t set exit tests for our visitors, so we shouldn’t feel like we have to include lots of testable information just to fit with a stereotype of being “educational.”

Andy Lloyd, head of special projects, International Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom

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