As CAISE gets up and running, we’re working with what we call Inquiry Groups to harvest insights about the impact of informal science education (ISE) and lessons we’re learning together about good practice.
CAISE Inquiry Groups are composed of people working in and studying the ISE field. They are organizing around issues and questions of recurring and significant interest, which are identified by the CAISE team in conversation with NSF program officers and colleagues from throughout the field. Participants are also selected through this process.
The process they follow varies, but includes review of work funded by NSF’ Informal Science Education Program as well as relevant research literature, when it exists. Each Inquiry Group will be producing papers and other documentation geared both to funders and to practitioners, which will be made available through this website, the CAISE newsletter, and other means. The University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE), a CAISE partner, participates in all of the Inquiry Groups, including providing research support.
Now underway are Inquiry Groups on these topics:
Another group is examining the portfolio of projects funded by NSF’s Informal Science Education Program over the last 10 years. These groups, and others now in planning (including one focusing on work across formal and informal education), cast a wide net in considering topics of varied and recurring interest in a field devoted to lifelong engagement with scienc—from access and inclusion to emerging technology.
Inquiry Groups are one of the key mechanisms CAISE will be using to distill and synthesize research and experience from across the broad and varied ISE field and make it more readily available both to practitioners and to those who support our work.
We’ll be using this blog to provide updates about Inquiry Group work and welcome your experiences and perspectives and suggestions for future inquiries.