1st Edition

Amplifying Informal Science Learning Rethinking Research, Design, and Engagement

Edited By Judy Diamond, Sherman Rosenfeld Copyright 2023
    388 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    388 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection explores the broad landscape of current and future out-of-school science learning environments. Written by leading experts and innovators in informal science learning, these thoughtful and critical essays examine the changing nature of informal institutions such as science museums, zoos, nature centers, planetariums, aquaria, and botanical gardens and their impact on science education. The book examines the learning opportunities and challenges created by community-based experiences including citizen science, makerspaces, science media, escape rooms, hobby groups, and gaming. 

    Based on current practices, case studies, and research, the book focuses on four cross-cutting themes – inclusivity, digital engagement, community partnerships, and bridging formal and informal learning – to examine how people learn science informally.

    The book will be of interest to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) educators – both in and out of school – designers of science and experiential education programs, and those interested in building STEM learning ecosystems in their communities.

    PART I: Exhibits and Informal Science Learning  1. Transforming Learning Landscapes: A Radical Model for Informal Science Learning   2. What About AIDS? The Case of the National AIDS Exhibit Consortium and its Traveling Exhibition  3. Designing for Diversity  4. Origin of Interactive Science Centres and the Status of Science Centres in the Middle East  5. Helping Young Children Make Conceptual Connections in a Science Museum  6. How Planetariums Offer Diverse Opportunities to Engage a Broad Audience in STEM  7. Now it’s Africa’s Turn: The Status and Potential of Science Centres and Informal Science Education Initiatives on the ‘Bright Continent’  8. Teachers as Designers: Learning by Exhibit Prototyping  PART II: Engaged with Earth Stewardship  9. Salmon Camp: The Design of an Immersive Science Education Program for Native American Youth  10. Cultivating Sustainability: Youth Food Systems & STEM Learning  11. Wild Hearts: Exploring the Connection between STEM Learning and Conservation Psychology in Zoos and Aquariums  12. Out-of-School Science Education Institutions for Sustainability  13. Informal Learning through Citizen Science: Authentic, Meaningful, Impactful  14. From School-based Citizen Science to Transition-driven Activism with the Community  15. Where You Stand and Why You Stand There: Cultural Competency as a Lens for Understanding Climate Change in the Minds of Rural Pennsylvania Fairgoers  PART III: Places and Spaces for Informal Science Learning  16. Libraries are for Science  17. Night Skies and Butterflies: Leisure Science Activities and STEM Interests  18. Chemical Escape Rooms: Bridging the Gap between Formal and Informal Science Learning  19. STEM Applied Learning Programme: Infusing the Formal with the Informal  20. Equitable Access to Making through Public Libraries  21. The Street Code Project: Computational Literacy and the Performing Arts  22. Bridging Informal Science Learning with Schools: The Open Schooling Model  23. Benefits of Engineering Beyond the School Day: Insights from Research  24. Digitally-Mediated Learning Modalities for Computational Thinking: Promises and Challenges for Informal STEAM Learning  25. Outdoor and Outreach: Informal Science Education Outside the Four Walls of Science Centers  PART IV: Rethinking Informal Science Learning  26. Creating Awareness of the Challenges of Cross-Cultural Communication in Informal Science Settings Through an Indigenous Lens  27. On-Ramps to Where?  28. Fostering Youth STEM Identities Through Social Network Connections in Informal Science Settings  29. Speculative Design for STEM Learning  30. Limiting Claims about Museums, STEM, and Social Issues  31. The Virtuous Cycle of Affect, Engagement, and Learning  32. Data Narratives for Action: Innovative Approaches to Data Collection and Reporting to Tell the Story of Informal Science Learning  33. Should Science Centres Evict STEM? The 1960s Dream for Peace, Beauty, and Awe versus Cold War Pragmatism and Problem-solving  34. Reflections on 50 Years in the Science Center Profession


    Judy Diamond PhD is Professor of Libraries and Curator at the University of Nebraska State Museum and a leader in the field of informal science education. She is lead author of the books Practical Evaluation Guide: Tools for Museums and Other Informal Educational Institutions (2016) and World of Viruses (2012) and co-author of several popular science books, including Parasites: The Inside Story (2022), Thinking Like a Parrot: Perspectives from the Wild (2019), Concealing Coloration in Animals (2013), and Kea: Bird of Paradox (1999).

    Sherman Rosenfeld PhD has worked as a researcher and science educator at the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Rehovot, Israel, since 1982. His research interests include bridging the gap between formal and informal science learning, teacher professional development, and Project-Based Learning (PBL). He directed a science museum in California, led informal science education programs for youth in Israel’s institutions of higher learning, spearheaded the introduction of PBL in Israel, and participated in multi-national research projects funded by the European Union.

    "The chapters are clearly written, well edited, and thematically organized; one may read it from cover to cover or simply choose areas of interest. Each chapter provides a robust set of references to allow readers to go deeper. This book is written for practitioners and aspiring practitioners from a variety of fields that engage in informal science learning. It would be appropriate for advanced undergraduates and beyond."

    -Recommended, R. A. Kolvoord, James Madison University, as published in CHOICE (A publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries)