The Hall has a long history of partnering with regional, national, and international networks to drive innovation in STEM education and communication efforts. This work stretches from innovative digital libraries providing access to open educational resources to large-scale science museum networks presenting cutting edge STEM to visitors. These partnerships help us elevate the quality of our work as well as steering the global conversation on the public understanding of STEM research.
As scientific knowledge of our world continues to grow, educating the public about advances in scientific research ensures that people can make informed choices related to public policy and to the improvement of their own lives.
The Hall helps scientists to improve their own communication skills, and to develop museum exhibits, websites, curriculum units and outreach programs that put students, teachers, and the public into direct contact with cutting edge discoveries. We work with leaders in the field, researchers, and students who are passionate about doing science but need support to communicate about the importance of their work to all of our daily lives. We also provide K–12 and informal educators with opportunities to collaborate directly with scientists, and to connect them not only to the content, but also to the nature of science itself, and what it is like to think like a scientist. This enables educators to apply newly gained science knowledge to better meet the needs of their students.
The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net) is a national community of researchers and informal science educators dedicated to fostering public awareness, engagement, and understanding of nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. By 2015, NISE Net had reached over 500 institutions, including over 300 science museums, with professional development, activity kits, and mini-exhibitions. The Hall was one of the 14 museums that led the network since its early years, and managed the Southwestern regional hub.
The Hall is a key member and the host site of COSEE CA, which is dedicated to creating strong partnerships between scientists, educators, and the public.
Science On a Sphere (SOS)® is a spherical display system approximately 6 feet in diameter which shows “movies” of animated Earth system dynamics. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) supports the use of spherical display systems, such as SOS, in public exhibits as part of a focused effort to increase environmental literacy. The institutions that currently have NOAA’s Science On a Sphere, as well as other partners who are creating content and educational programming for these systems, have formed a collaborative network. The SOS Users Collaborative Network is supported by NOAA’s Office of Education (OEd) and the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) to provide a mechanism for these institutions to work together to maximize the effectiveness of the SOS system as an Earth system science education platform. The Hall has been a part of this network since the installation of its SOS in 2009.
Howtosmile is a digital library aimed at informal educators, or anyone interested in the best science and math hands-on activities on the web. Launched in 2010, Howtosmile was an NSF-funded project that put together a network of science museums led by the Hall and including the Exploratorium, Science Museum of Minnesota, Children’s Museum of Houston, and NYSCI. With over 3000 cataloged activities, thematic collections, a powerful search engine, and user-generated lists, Howtosmile continues to be the most popular and successful digital library for the science museum field.
The National Science Digital Library provides high quality online educational resources for teaching and learning, with current emphasis on the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines—both formal and informal, institutional and individual, in local, state, national, and international educational settings. The NSDL collection contains structured descriptive information (metadata) about web-based educational resources held on other sites by their providers. These providers have contributed this metadata to NSDL for organized search and open access to educational resources via this website and its services. Starting in 2015, OER Commons, a project of the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), became the new home for the NSDL. The Hall has been a working partner of the NSDL since 2007, helping to shape its evolution as the largest provider of open educational resources for STEM education.
These workshops are for scientists who are interested in teaching a college course on how to build understanding of science with a broad public audience including students, the media, and policy makers.