NWP and ASTC Receive NSF Grant to Develop Integrated Science and Literacy Program

October 9th, 2012 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured, Member News, Partners, Professional Development by Larry Hoffer

The National Writing Project (NWP) and the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) have received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to design a program that will integrate science and literacy. As part of this program, Building Informal Science Education and Literacy Partnerships (NSF Grant No. 122461),NWP sites and ASTC-member science centers and museums will forge partnerships to develop innovative programs for educators and youth.

This grant was created to address the critical need for more programming that integrates two very important areas of curriculum – science and literacy,with a strong commitment to expanding access to high quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and literacy education. The NWP/ASTC partnership will foster the creation of new program models able to reach a more diverse range of youth and educators, resulting in an infusion of literacy practices in informal settings as well as increased exposure of formal educators to STEM-rich learning experiences.The program will build on recommendations in the Common Core State Standards and the National Research Council’s publication, “A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas.”

Ten partnerships from across the country will be selected in the coming months with the goal of creating new programs that merge science and writing, as well as building on promising practices and innovations. Partnerships will design projects which may include citizen science projects like The Great Sunflower Project or FoldIt, or science journalism projects such as scijourner, an NSF-funded project based at the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Education, in collaboration with the Saint Louis Science Center and the Normandy School District.

“Both NWP and ASTC share a long history of working with educators and youth,” said Dr. Sharon J. Washington, NWP Executive Director. “The collaboration of these organizations will generate a multitude of professional development programs for hundreds of informal and formal educators, as well as create rich opportunities for hundreds of young people across the country.”

“We are tremendously energized by the opportunities for collaboration that this project presents,” remarked ASTC Chief Executive Officer Anthony (Bud) Rock. “ASTC-member science centers have a long history of developing programs to target underserved youth, and partnering with NWP sites will foster a greater ability to reach those youth who might develop an interest in STEM through participation in literacy activities. The science center community will truly benefit from the results of this project.”

About NWP:The National Writing Project (NWP) is a nationwide network of educators working together to improve the teaching of writing in the nation’s schools and in other settings. NWP provides high-quality professional development programs to teachers in a variety of disciplines and at all levels, from early childhood through university. Through its nearly 200 university-based sites located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the National Writing Project develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners. For more information, visit www.nwp.org.

About ASTC: The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) is a global organization providing collective voice and professional support for science centers, museums, and related institutions, whose innovative approaches to science learning inspire people of all ages about the wonders and the meaning of science in their lives.Through strategic alliances and global partnerships, ASTC strives to increase awareness of the valuable contributions its members make to their communities and the field of informal STEM learning.Founded in 1973, ASTC now represents over 600 members in nearly 50 countries, including not only science centers and museums,but also nature centers, aquariums, planetariums,zoos, botanical gardens, and natural history and children’s museums, as well as companies, consultants, and other organizations that share an interest in informal science education. For more information about ASTC, or to find a science center near you, visit www.astc.org.

Trekaroo ranks top 10 science and technology museums for children

April 25th, 2012 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured, Member News by Larry Hoffer

Trekaroo, a blog focused on traveling with children as well as child- and family-friendly activities, recently released their list of the top 10 U.S. science and technology museums for children, based on user reviews from their site. The Exploratorium, San Francisco, was ranked the number one overall museum; the Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose, California, was ranked the number one technology museum; and the American Museum of Natural History, New York, was ranked the number one natural history museum. All 10 museums on the list, as well as the seven awarded honorable mention, are ASTC members. Learn more: blog.trekaroo.com/2012/04/18/top-10-science-and-technology-museums/.

Application guidelines now available for “Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums”

April 25th, 2012 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured, Member News by Larry Hoffer

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is accepting applications in the Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums program, jointly funded by IMLS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The program is managed by ASTC and the Urban Libraries Council (ULC).

Applications are due June 15, 2012.

These grants will support the planning and designing of Learning Labs in libraries and museums throughout the country. The Labs are intended to engage middle- and high-school youth in mentor-led, interest-based, youth-centered, collaborative learning using digital and traditional media. Grantees will be required to participate, in-person and online, in a community of practice that will provide technical assistance, networking, and cross-project learning. Projects are expected to provide prototypes for the field and be based on current research about digital media and youth learning.

To learn more about the program, ask questions, and listen to the questions and comments of other participants, you are invited to participate in one of two pre-application webinars. These webinars have been scheduled for:

Wednesday, May 9 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET (12:00-1:00 p.m. PT)
Thursday, May 23 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. PT)

The ULC/ASTC team will also offer “office hours” to pose final questions closer to the application deadline. The “office hour” schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, June 5 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. PT)
Monday, June 11 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. PT)

To register for the May 9 webinar, visit https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/274016350. The link for the May 23 webinar and the two “office hour” sessions will be available at this same address one week prior.

The Learning Labs guidelines can be found at http://www.imls.gov/applicants/learning_labs_guidelines.aspx. For questions or more information, please contact Margaret Glass at (202) 783-7200 x 129 or mglass@astc.org.

Executives from 15 ASTC-Member Institutions Named 2012-2013 Noyce Leadership Fellows

February 22nd, 2012 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured, Member News by Larry Hoffer

Earlier today, The Noyce Foundation, in collaboration with ASTC and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), announced the participants in a fifth round of yearlong sponsored fellowships, as well as plans to recruit more leaders in the following year, with the aim of increasing the public impact of science centers, museums, and related institutions. Of the 18 senior-level executives from science centers, children’s museums, natural history museums, and field-based institutions named as 2012-2013 Noyce Leadership Fellows, 15 represent ASTC-member institutions.

Through their experience as Fellows, these individuals will gain access to knowledge, tools, promising practices, and professional networks that increase their capacity to lead effectively and advance innovation in their own institutions, their home communities, and in the broader field. They were selected through a competitive process by a committee composed of professionals representing the fields of informal science education and executive leadership. The Fellowship program provides an action-learning framework via a mix of face-to-face sessions, executive coaching, peer learning, audio conferencing, and other learning strategies over a year, followed by ongoing Fellow alumni activities.

The 18 Noyce Fellows and their Strategic Initiative Sponsors are as follows. (ASTC-member institutions are noted with an asterisk.)

Accokeek Foundation, Maryland
Fellow: Lisa Hayes, President & CEO
Sponsor: Wilton C. Corkern, senior advisor

American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York*
Fellow: Lauri Halderman, senior director, exhibition interpretation
Co-Sponsors: David Harvey, senior vice president for exhibition, and Lisa J. Gugenheim, senior vice president, institutional advancement, strategic planning and education

Boston Children’s Museum, Massachusetts*
Fellow: Tim Porter, project director, education
Sponsor: Leslie Swartz, senior vice president of research and program planning

Copernicus Science Center, Warsaw, Poland
Fellow: Irena Cieślińska, deputy director
Sponsor: Robert Firmhofer, CEO

Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley*
Fellow: Gretchen Walker, public science center interim director
Sponsor: Elizabeth Stage, director, Lawrence Hall of Science

Madison Children’s Museum, Wisconsin*
Fellow: Brenda Baker, director of exhibits
Sponsor: Ruth Shelly, executive director

Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.*
Fellow: Erika Shugart, deputy director
Sponsor: Patrice Legro, director

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago*
Fellow: Patricia Ward, director, science and technology
Sponsor: Kurt Haunfelner, vice president, exhibits and collections

Museum of Science, Boston*
Fellow: Christine Reich, director of research and evaluation
Co-Sponsors: Wayne Bouchard, chief operating officer, and Britton O’Brien, vice president, human resources

National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Miraikan, Japan*
Fellow: Yasushi Ikebe, principal investigator of science communication
Sponsor: Mamoru Mohri, CEO

Natural History Museum, London*
Fellow: Ian Jenkinson, museum manager
Co-Sponsors: Ailsa Barry, head of interactive media, and Andy Polaszek, keeper of entomology

Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
Fellow: Paul Voogt, director, public programs
Sponsor: Edwin van Huis, CEO

New York Hall of Science, Queens*
Fellow: David Kanter, director, SciPlay, Center for Play, Science and Technology Learning
Sponsor: Margaret Honey, president & CEO

Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul*
Fellow: Bob Breck, director of marketing and membership
Sponsor: Paul Martin, senior vice president of science learning

Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma City*
Fellow: Sherry Marshall, director of the Oklahoma Museum Network
Sponsor: Don Otto, CEO

Thanksgiving Point Institute, Lehi, Utah
Fellow: Blake Wigdahl, vice president, design and programming
Sponsor: Mike Washburn, president and CEO

The Franklin Institute Science Museum, Philadelphia*
Fellow: Dale McCreedy, director, gender and family learning programs
Sponsor: Frederic Bertley, vice president, science and innovation

Universeum, Gothenburg, Sweden*
Fellow: Carina Halvord, deputy managing director and head of development
Sponsor: Lars Rehnman, CEO

The Noyce Foundation and its partners are proud to announce a sixth NLI Fellowship in 2013-2014. Senior-level leaders interested in learning more about the application process should visit www.noycefdn.org.

The Institute bears the name of Robert Noyce, co-founder of Intel and and inventor of the integrated circuit. His work in leading science, engineering, and technology to a whole new level of innovation — as well as the creation of new industries — is legendary. Known for his integrity, authenticity, character, inclusiveness, and continuous innovation, Noyce’s legacy continues to serve as a standard for leaders today. Primary funding for the Noyce Leadership Institute comes from the Noyce Foundation, with additional support to date from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.

Three ASTC members receive IMLS/MacArthur Learning Labs grants, four more to partner with awarded libraries

November 21st, 2011 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured, Member News by Larry Hoffer

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced yesterday that three ASTC-member institutions—the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Portland; New York Hall of Science, Queens; and the Da Vinci Discovery Center of Science and Technology, Allentown, Pennsylvania—were among the first 12 winners of a national competition to build 21st Century learning labs in museums and libraries around the country.

The winners—four museums and eight libraries—will receive a total of $1.2 million in grants to plan and design the labs. Inspired by YOUMedia, a new teen space at the Chicago Public Library, and innovations in science and technology centers, these labs will help young people move beyond consuming content to making and creating it.

In addition to the three ASTC members that received Learning Labs grants, four additional ASTC members—California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; COSI, Columbus, Ohio; Institute for Learning Innovation, Edgewater, Maryland; and Science City at Union Station, Kansas City, Missouri—will partner with awarded libraries in their communities.

The learning labs will be based on new research about how young people learn today. Teens will use both digital and traditional media that promote creativity, critical thinking, and hands-on learning. The labs will connect teens to mentors and peers, as well as anytime, anywhere access to information through online social networks so that they can pursue their interests more deeply. The winning institutions will match the funds from the competition and partner with local educational, cultural, and civic organizations to build a network of learning opportunities for young people.

ASTC CEO Anthony (Bud) Rock remarked, “Science centers and museums nurture the innovative spirit so crucially needed for success in today’s world, and using digital media to further ignite the excitement of our nation’s youth about lifelong STEM learning will ensure that future generations cultivate the skills they need, such as problem solving, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. The fact that three of the four museums named as grant recipients are science centers is an exciting testament to the strength of our field as incubators of innovation in our communities.”

The 12 recipients of this round of grants were selected out of a pool of 98 applicants from 32 states. Applications were evaluated by professionals with relevant expertise in digital media and learning and museum and library management. Winners will participate—in-person and online—in a community of practice that will provide technical assistance, networking, and cross-project learning. In addition to the Da Vinci Center, New York Hall of Science, and OMSI, those institutions selected as grant recipients include: San Francisco Public Library, California; Rangeview Library District and Anythink Libraries, Thornton, Colorado; Howard County Public Library, Columbia, Maryland; St. Paul Public Library, Minnesota; Kansas City Public Library, Missouri; Columbus Metropolitan Library, Ohio; Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation, Pennsylvania; Nashville Public Library Foundation, Tennessee; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas.

For information on those museums and libraries chosen as Learning Labs grant recipients, visit www.imls.gov/news/21st_century_learning_lab_locations1.aspx. Application materials for a second round of grants will be available in spring 2012. More information is available at www.imls.gov.

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