The NISE Network creates educational products for a wide range of public audiences in informal learning settings. The NISE Network also creates a variety of professional development materials for scientists and educators to raise their capacity to engage the public in current science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Inclusive Audiences Approach
The NISE Network seeks to increase professional and institutional capacity to effectively engage underserved and underrepresented audiences, including girls, bilingual audiences, and persons with disabilities, in informal learning experiences related to STEM content.
The NISE Net strives to reach a diverse audience with regard to geography, dis/ability, gender, race/ethnicity, language and income. Some examples of this work include:
- Geography: building partnerships with existing regional networks and other informal learning organizations that serve rural areas
- Dis/Abilities: using Universal Design principles when designing programs and exhibits, making video materials more accessible through the use of video captions, and using audio labels and audio descriptions for exhibits
- Gender: partnering with informal learning organizations that serve girls
- Race/Ethnicity: partnering with diversity-serving organizations
- Language: translating many public education materials into Spanish
- Income: encouraging partners to collaborate locally with community partners
Resources available on the website:
- Tips for leading hands on-activities and Using positive responses with difficult concepts
(misconceptions) (Explore Science: Earth & Space)
- Tips for Visitor Conversations one-page tip sheet (Building with Biology)
- Tips for Engaging Visitors one-page tip sheet (NanoDays)
- Tips for Visitor Conversations one-page tip sheet (NanoDays)
- Tips for Engaging Girls one-page tip sheet
- Tips and Tricks for Engaging Girls in Museum Programming recorded online workshop
- More resources for engaging Girls in STEM:
- Spanish Language Translations: A listing of all the NISE Network Spanish-language resources, including STEM hands-on activities, selected longer-length programs, media, and graphics. Based on input from NISE Network partners, we have adapted our most popular programs for Spanish-speaking audiences. We have placed the highest priority on translating products that directly serve public audiences. Professional resources, such as instructional materials and educator’s guides are only available in English at this time.
- Translation Process Guide: A guide describing the NISE Network’s translation process, including a Spanish Style Guide reference guide.
- Bilingual Design Guide: This guide presents the variety of interpretive and design strategies the Network has used for different bilingual products, including exhibits, programs, and media. The guide focuses on NISE Net educational products offered in English and Spanish, but the considerations and solutions presented are more generally applicable to bilingual and multilingual museum experiences.
- Bilingual Audiences Workshop Resources: In June 2013, NISE Net partners representing twenty informal education centers around the country explored how to better engage Hispanic/Latino audiences with science, technology, and engineering. Workshop resources include the agenda, information on sheltered instruction, presentation slides, TBI resources, and workshop handouts.
- Strategies for Engaging Bilingual Audiences: This document outlines key tips for developing culturally responsive programs that engage bilingual families, specifically Hispanic and Latino, in informal science education.
- Bilingual Forums Formative Evaluation: This report summarizes data collected from focus groups that were conducted with bilingual individuals to gather feedback on the forum materials that NISE Net had translated into Spanish and to learn about Latinos’ perception of the bilingual forum.
- Resources for for equity and inclusion: www.nisenet.org/racialjustice
- Reflecting on race in STEM: https://www.nisenet.org/blog/post/reflecting-race-stem
Collaborations to reach under-served audiences
- Museum & Community Partnerships: Collaboration Guide and additional resources including videos, templates, and more
- After School Framework: A framework for a four-week after school program for children ages 8 – 12. Originally developed by the New York Hall of Science to establish a partnership with a local Boys and Girls Club.
- Universal Design Guidelines: Exhibits: Basic concepts and guidelines for creating exhibits that are as accessible as possible for museum visitors with a broad range of abilities and disabilities.
- Universal Design Guidelines: Programs: Guidelines describing ways educators can develop and implement public programs such as interpretation carts, state demonstrations, and science theater so that they are inclusive of the wide range of museum visitors.
- Universal Design of Educational Programs Workshop Resources: Hosted in July 2013 by the Museum of Science, Boston, the Universal Design of Educational Programs workshop was intended for museum educators who develop and conduct educational programs or train those who do. Included here are the slides, handouts, and other resources from the workshop.
- Universal Design for Public Programs online workshop recording: Recorded on August 21, 2012, the workshop focused specifically on the NISE Net’s Universal Design Guide for Public Programs. Workshop facilitators give a brief introduction to the guide and look at some examples of universal design in NISE Network programs and activities.
The NISE Network is enthusiastic about broadening participation and engaging underrepresented audiences in current science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experiences.
Collaborating with Youth-Serving Organizations
- Explore the Museum & Community Partnerships: Collaboration Guide and additional resources including videos, templates, tips, tools, includes profiles of national youth-serving organizations
- Collaborating with an existing youth-serving organization on STEM activities is an effective way for museums and university outreach programs to connect with audiences they may not regularly reach, particularly underserved audiences. Profiles of national youth-serving organizations have been compiled to assist museums and university outreach programs in developing partnerships with a community organization or a local chapter of a national youth-serving organization. These profiles are intended to provide a brief introduction to each organization: 4-H, Afterschool Alliance, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), Boy Scouts of America (BSA), Girls Inc., Girl Scouts, libraries, National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), Parent Teacher Association (PTA), Y (YMCA), and YWCA
- Listed below are just a few examples of how you can contribute to this effort:
- Incorporate the hands-on activities into existing outreach programs (for example, with local afterschool programs, programs for Title 1 schools, or Boys and Girls Clubs).
- Partner with a diversity-serving organization to offer a STEM-themed activity day (at your site or theirs).
- Include older youth from different backgrounds in your efforts to deliver the activities to the public, or include them in a mentoring program.
- Seek out volunteers from diversity serving professional societies.
- Share your experience and lessons learned with the Network through the NISE Network e-newsletter, blog post, or social networking.
- More resources for Broadening Participation
- CAISE Toolkit: https://www.informalscience.org/broadening-perspectives
Partnering with Diversity Serving Professional Societies
Professional STEM societies designed to support under-represented groups are eager to foster interest in STEM careers and diversify the STEM workforce. Many of these societies have local chapters located across the United States; opportunities for collaboration on local public engagement include special events, community outreach, and mentoring programs.
- American Association of University Women www.aauw.org
- American Indian Science and Engineering Society: www.aises.org
- National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering: www.nacme.org
- National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE): www.nobcche.org
- National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP): www.noglstp.org
- National Society of Black Engineers: www.nsbe.org
- MAES - Latinos in Science and Engineering: mymaes.org
- Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM) for LGBTQ+ people in STEM: ostem.org
- Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS): sacnas.org
- Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers: www.saseconnect.org
- Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers: www.shpe.org
- Society of Women Engineering: www.swe.org
- Women in Engineering Program Advocates Network: www.wepan.org
- Women in Technology International: www.witi.com
Partnering with Local Scientists
Resources for finding and collaborating with local subject matter experts:
- Event planning guides (by STEM topic):
- Explore Science: Earth & Space Event Planning and Promotion Guide
- Explore Science: Let's Do Chemistry Event Planning and Promotion Guide
- Frankenstein200 Event Planning and Marketing Guide
- Building with Biology Event Planning and Marketing Guide
- Sustainability in Science Museums Planning and Promotional Guide
- Explore Science - Zoom into Nano Planning & Promotional Materials
- NanoDays Planning Guide