ASTC Connect Forum on Attendance Trends: June 18-20

June 12th, 2013 - Posted in ASTC Connect, Featured by Christine Ruffo

What factors have contributed to attendance patterns in recent years, and what might we expect in years to come?

From June 18-20, ASTC Connect will host an online forum entitled Attendance Trends: 10 Years Past and Into the Future, moderated by the ASTC Research Advisors Group. The forum will look at science center attendance trends over the past 10 years, identify internal and external factors that impact attendance, and discuss “next steps” that can be taken by centers to grow attendance.

To join the forum, go to ASTC Connect at, log in to your account, click “All Courses,” and select “Attendance Trends” to join. Don’t have an ASTC Connect account? Click on the “Create New Account” button on the login page and follow the simple instructions.

For more information, please contact Christine Ruffo, ASTC Research Manager.

ASTC Connect Forum: Beyond painting science pink

November 16th, 2009 - Posted in ASTC Connect, Annual Conference by Laura Huerta Migus

Beyond Painting Science PinkHow can museums create science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs that present solid science content in ways that engage girls’ interests and learning styles? In “Beyond Painting Science Pink: Creating Programs that Engage Girls in STEM,” an October 31 session at the ASTC Annual Conference, Christina Soontornvat of the Austin Children’s Museum, Texas, led a panel discussion on integrating research-based best practices with high-interest content to develop programs that serve girls in meaningful ways.

Panelists Jennifer Stancil of the Girls, Math & Science Partnership at Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, Karen Peterson of the National Girls Collaborative Project and the Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, Lynnwood, Washington, Dr. Lisa Regalla of Twin Cities Public Television, and Georgette Williams of the New York Hall of Science, introduced participants to a number of best practices in designing STEM experiences for girls, followed by examples of hands-on activities developed based on these practices.

The conversations started during this session are continuing in a postconference online discussion on ASTC Connect, November 16–20.  The enrollment key for the “Beyond Painting Science Pink” discussion is “stemgirls.”

About the image: Session participants try out “speed networking.” Photo by Christine Ruffo

November 9: Informal Science Education Infrastructure

November 4th, 2009 - Posted in ASTC Connect by Wendy Pollock

It’s been called an “invisible infrastructure”—the rich diversity of places and pursuits that ignite our curiosity and support lifelong learning about science. Join John Falk of Oregon State University and other members of a CAISE Inquiry Group for a week of discussion, starting November 9, and be one of the first to try out a guide to collecting stories that will help build a portrait of the informal science education infrastructure today. To sign up go to ASTC Connect, set up an account, and use the word “informal” to join the CAISE Forum.

November 2: Science Identity for Learners in Informal Environments

October 27th, 2009 - Posted in ASTC Connect by Wendy Pollock

Join Johnny Fraser of the Institute of Learning Innovation and other researchers for this online discussion in the CAISE Forum, November 2-6. The discussion will build on results of a recent survey about “science identity”—how learners view themselves with respect to science and become comfortable with, knowledgeable about, or interested in science. “Identity” was one of six “strand of learning” described in the 2009 National Research Council report Learning Science in Informal Environments. To join the discussion, set up an account in ASTC Connect and enroll in the CAISE Forum (keyword “informal”).

October 5-8: The Longevity Revolution

September 28th, 2009 - Posted in ASTC Connect by Terri Gipson

Join Russell Morgan of the SPRY Foundation, October 5-8, for an online discussion in the CAISE Forum, The Longevity Revolution: Opportunities for Informal Science Education.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans 65 and older is projected to increase from 40 million in 2010 to 55 million a decade later—and the prospects are similar in many other countries. As more people live longer, with higher levels of education, there is both an opportunity and a need to develop creative approaches for engaging older adults in a range of informal science learning activities.

Taking as a starting point the recent publication A Lifetime of Curiosity: Science Centers and Older Adults, and an earlier NSF-funded conference, The Longevity Revolution, the discussion will touch on what’s known about adult audiences’ interests and capacities and examples of successful programming for older adults. Russell Morgan, organizer of the 2006 conference, will offer background and moderate the discussion about the potential for expanding informal science learning opportunities for the growing population of older adults.

To participate in the discussion, go to, set up an account, then sign yourself into the “CAISE Forum” area by entering the keyword “informal.” You’ll receive an email from Russell as we get started on Monday. The discussion is asynchronous. You can set your own schedule for when you join the discussion. Relevant reading material is available on the CAISE Forum site.

If you can’t join this discussion, keep an eye on the CAISE website. We are setting up more online discussions for November and December.

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