551 Views
  1. Scott Bellman
  2. Manager, DO-IT Center
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of Washington
  1. Rochelle Bowyer
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/rwbowyer/
  3. Office Assistant, Undergraduate Student
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Washington
  1. Sheryl Burgstahler
  2. https://sites.uw.edu/sherylb/
  3. Director, DO-IT and Accessible Technology Services
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Washington
  1. Ellie Kravets
  2. Graduate Student
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of Washington

Access to Informal STEM Learning

NSF Awards: 1906147

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

All Age Groups

Informal STEM learning (ISL) is lifelong learning in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) that takes place outside of the traditional classroom. This video presentation shares student perspectives from the NSF-funded Access to Informal STEM Learning (AccessISL) project, which is hosted by the University of Washington. AccessISL is creating promising practices and resources that can lead to making ISL activities and resources more welcoming and accessible to individuals with disabilities nationwide. AccessISL activities engage stakeholder groups that include students with disabilities, museology students and faculty, ISL program leaders, and professionals who have worked with people who have a wide range disabilities to identify and access issues in many contexts. All AccessISL efforts work toward the goal of increasing the availability of inclusive ISL programs in communities. Project outcomes benefit society by making STEM opportunities available to more citizens and enhancing STEM fields with the talents and perspectives of people with disabilities.

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (18 posts)
  • Icon for: Sheryl Burgstahler

    Sheryl Burgstahler

    Co-Presenter
    Director, DO-IT and Accessible Technology Services
    May 10, 2021 | 02:10 p.m.

    We at AccessISL are particularly interested in learning of successful practices at informal STEM learning programs nationwide so that we can link to them form our website at uw.edu/doit/programs/accessisl/overview/about-accessisl. Do you have resources to share? At our website is also information about how you can join our online community of practice for ongoing conversations on this topic. 

  • Icon for: Jeanne Reis

    Jeanne Reis

    Facilitator
    Co-Director
    May 11, 2021 | 06:49 p.m.

    Thanks for this presentation - I'll be sure to browse your website for more information. This has certainly been a year of exploring virtual learning options, applications, platforms and features! I'm wondering if you can share specific examples of creative and broadly user-friendly projects built around the guidelines or consultation offered by your team. Thanks! 

  • Icon for: Scott Bellman

    Scott Bellman

    Lead Presenter
    Manager, DO-IT Center
    May 11, 2021 | 07:51 p.m.

    Jeanne, Individuals who are interested in learning about emerging projects are encouraged to join the AccessISL Community of Practice. AccessISL offers mini-grant projects designed to help ISL programs conduct activities related to accessibility and universal design as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, the Riverside Art Museum in CA is exploring further development of hands-on, accessible, remote learning kits. In Seattle, the Pacific Science Center is exploring ways to further enhance the accessibility features of their large number of new online offerings, while the Burke Museum is exploring new training opportunities to serve neurodiverse students and patrons.

  • Icon for: Rochelle Bowyer

    Rochelle Bowyer

    Co-Presenter
    Office Assistant, Undergraduate Student
    May 12, 2021 | 02:30 p.m.

    To expand on Scott's point. The Riverside Art Museum has been sending out art kits and other hands-on kits paired with lessons. Part of the mini-grant is to create videos that allow kids to listen and learn via video learning instead of relying on text. Our intern is also thinking critically about the projects and working with local community organizations such as Braille Institute to ensure their products as many aspects of Universal design.

  • Icon for: Karen Mutch-Jones

    Karen Mutch-Jones

    Facilitator
    Senior Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 09:00 p.m.

    Thank you to Center and to the Access ISL interns who reminded us of the tools and supports that make virtual STEM environments engaging and increase the chances that more people can use them fully.  I liked the phrase 'meaningful accessibility' that interns used in the video. Could you describe that further?  Or could you provide and example of site features that lead to 'meaningful accessibility'?  I'm eager to hear more. 

  • Icon for: Ellie Kravets

    Ellie Kravets

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Student
    May 12, 2021 | 02:47 p.m.

    Karen, 

    Thanks for your question! When we developed this video, we used the phrase “meaningful accessibility” to reference the idea that accessibility should be a mindset, not a feature. We encourage ISL practitioners to consider the broad accessibility in their work at all levels of program design, as an integrated, holistic, and continuous part of the design process. (As opposed to reducing accessibility to a series of “checkboxes” to be filled.) For many programs, this means directly engaging with stakeholders to determine what formats, features, and program styles would work best within your specific context. 

    As far as specific recommendations go, I really appreciated the Nanoscale Informal Science Education (NISE) Network’s Guide to Universal Design in Public Programs, both for their specific recommendations (many of which are applicable to virtual programs) as well as for the model they utilized to develop those recommendations. 

    Hope this helps!

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Rochelle Bowyer
  • Icon for: Rochelle Bowyer

    Rochelle Bowyer

    Co-Presenter
    Office Assistant, Undergraduate Student
    May 12, 2021 | 02:50 p.m.

    Meaningful accessibility; means that accessibility is not an afterthought. Its about creating a program or learning experience, it's essential to think about the vast ways you can communicate information and the different ways people learn. For example, Ellie is working with the Port Townsend Marine Science Center. Working alongside the staff, they have been thinking about new ways for kids to interact and learn about plankton. The museum uses microscopes with plankton to allow kids to interact and see what plankton looks like. But, if someone has a visual impairment, they are then excluded from the learning experience. Working alongside the staff, Ellie developed an idea of creating 3D structures of the plankton via 3D printing. This would allow students to feel the shape of plankton and better learn with everyone else. At its core, meaningful accessibility means creating an equal experience for everyone in space, starting at the beginning of program planning. It involves thinking about the vast ways people received and interact with knowledge. I hope this example helps! Let me know if you need any more explanation.

  • Icon for: Karen Mutch-Jones

    Karen Mutch-Jones

    Facilitator
    Senior Researcher
    May 14, 2021 | 01:45 p.m.

    Thank you, Ellie and Rochelle, for describing what "meaningful accessibility" means, from your perspectives and for sharing description and examples of how it shapes your work in the project (and I imagine in life!). Some of my projects have focused, explicitly, on accessibility.  And while I believe our practices did cultivate a different mindset and greater access to curricula and learning activities, I don't think we were quite as intentional as we might have been. I appreciate your helping me to reflect on that.  And I'm sure that as you share your results, you will help others to do the same.  Thank you!

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Scott Bellman
  • Icon for: Eric Pyle

    Eric Pyle

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 09:13 a.m.

    Thank you for presenting an interesting video.  Too often, the word "informal" is associated with "less than" in terms of meaningful learning.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I prefer the term "free-choice" learning because of the ownership the individual has over it, what they gain, and what they take away.  I saw at the end of the video a reference to Universal Design - could you perhaps expand upon this referece, especially in terms of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles?

  • Icon for: Scott Bellman

    Scott Bellman

    Lead Presenter
    Manager, DO-IT Center
    May 12, 2021 | 01:16 p.m.

    Eric, 

    Thanks for checking out our video! The universal design of informal learning offerings has potential to make everyone feel welcome and minimize the need for special accommodations for individual participants. Regarding ISL programs and ISL training programs, universal design can be applied to planning, policies, evaluation, information resources and technology, facilities, staff training, and more. We have created tools for interested stakeholders, such as the publication Equal Access: Universal Design of Informal Learning.

    The AccessISL website offers a page that explores Universal Design and offers a Universal Design Framework. The resource talks about the scope of application for various stakeholders, seven principles of universal design, and three helpful guidelines: 

    1. Provide multiple ways for participants to learn and to demonstrate what they have learned.
    2. Provide multiple ways to engage.
    3. Ensure all technologies, facilities, services, resources, and strategies are accessible to individuals with a wide variety of disabilities.

    We will also be talking about universal design in the Access to Informal STEM Learning Community of Practice. We encourage others to join the community.

  • Icon for: Lindsay Palmer

    Lindsay Palmer

    Graduate Student
    May 12, 2021 | 07:17 p.m.

    What an interesting approach to accessibility in STEM environments. I enjoyed watching your video!

  • Icon for: Julie Robinson

    Julie Robinson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2021 | 01:33 p.m.

    I love how you are highlighting how these informal, virtual STEM experiences actually provide the opportunity to increase access and participation for broader representation.  I also really appreciate your emphasis on "meaningful accessibility" - you share some wonderful considerations of how you are ensuring increased accessibility for all participants. 

  • Icon for: Sheryl Burgstahler

    Sheryl Burgstahler

    Co-Presenter
    Director, DO-IT and Accessible Technology Services
    May 16, 2021 | 08:30 p.m.

    Yes, ISL programs do so well at reaching out to diverse communities. It is good to see more intentional, systemic efforts to fully include individuals with disabilities in their offerings.

  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Researcher
    May 17, 2021 | 02:57 p.m.

    COVID has shown us the how online access can help, but also revealed its limitations. I am wondering how your team is thinking about addressing the benefits of informal learning in an online space, i.e., how to operationalize the 6 interwoven strands of LSIE?

  • Icon for: Scott Bellman

    Scott Bellman

    Lead Presenter
    Manager, DO-IT Center
    May 17, 2021 | 06:02 p.m.

    Martin, Thanks for your comments. I'm sharing the strands here for others who might be interested in discussing this topic:

    Strand 1: Experience excitement, interest, and motivation to learn about phenomena in the natural and physical world.

    Strand 2: Come to generate, understand, remember, and use concepts, explanations, arguments, models, and facts related to science.

    Strand 3: Manipulate, test, explore, predict, question, observe, and make sense of the natural and physical world.

    Strand 4: Reflect on science as a way of knowing; on processes, concepts, and institutions of science; and on their own process of learning about phenomena.

    Strand 5: Participate in scientific activities and learning practices with others, using scientific language and tools.

    Strand 6: Think about themselves as science learners and develop an identity as someone who knows about, uses, and sometimes contributes to science.

    The biggest thing we are hearing now from ISL programs near us is imagining how to continue building on virtual programming and virtual programming accessibility as on-site programming returns. I think some of the ideas that will increase accessibility for virtual offerings (e.g., sending out hands-on kits for virtual learners, connecting students virtually to mentors as they build or create things, offering different modalities that appeal to different learning characteristics) will also help with the concepts laid out in the 6 strands. I am curious to hear thoughts from others.

  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Researcher
    May 17, 2021 | 06:24 p.m.

    Thanks, Scott, for posting them. I always assume that all ISL folks have those memorized and can repeat them when suddenly woken at 4 am  ;o)

    Alas, you are mentioning a few things that make a lot of sense, like sending out activity kits. I had my own experience with remote ISL for my 10-year old during COVID. AN excellent ISL educator recruited a dozen or so families to provide these engaging home activities for after school. She did an amazing job weaving the strands in these activities we did at home, with only easily accessible household items. It was one of the best examples of this I ever experienced. Alas, you needed good internet access, and a designated parent to support it (one who is home and is flexible to devote an hour to it, if not totally involved, then at least at the ready to help). As I said, it was marvelous. And yet it revealed all the issues: to make it LSIE-worthy (so to say), it took effort that flexible, well-resourced caregivers can put in...

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Ekeoba

    Jacqueline Ekeoba

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2021 | 04:51 p.m.

    Informal STEM learning experience for preservice teachers exposes them to other possibilities for teaching and learning outside of the classroom. Thank you for sharing this! 

    I also wanted to invite to view an informal STEM experience done at University of Houston: https://videohall.com/p/2031

  • Icon for: Scott Bellman

    Scott Bellman

    Lead Presenter
    Manager, DO-IT Center
    May 17, 2021 | 05:53 p.m.

    Jacqueline, Thanks for sharing your video here. The student at the end of your video really brought the work to life! Those are the moments we all work for and remember.

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