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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQ

Find answers to your common questions about the NISE Network.

 

 


1) What is the NISE Network?

The National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Net) is a community of informal educators and scientists dedicated to supporting learning about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) across the United States. The mission of the NISE Network is to build the capacity of informal science education institutions and research organizations to work together to raise public awareness, understanding, and engagement with current science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Transition: In 2016 the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network is transitioned to a new, ongoing identity as the National Informal STEM Education Network. While we'll still be known as the NISE Net, network partners will now engage audiences across the United States in a range of STEM topics.

The NISE Network community within the United States is organized around four Regional Hubs based on geographic proximity. Regional Hubs Leaders facilitate partner interaction in the Network, help museum educators and scientists connect with each other, host regional workshops, and provide support to organizations in their respective regions. Regional Hub Leader contacts and a map can be found on our Contact Us page.

For more information about the NISE Network please see the About page.

2) Who are NISE Network partners?

The National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Net) supports informal learning about science, technology, engineering, and math(STEM) in communities across the United States. Most partners are museums/science centers and college/university outreach programs located in the United States.

 

The NISE Network seeks to broaden participation in STEM learning at school, at home, and in the community through local collaborations. The NISE Network achieves its reach and impact through the participation of over 600 partner organizations in Network activities each year. The Network creates resources and coordinates activities on a national and regional level, while Network partners coordinate and implement project activities locally. Through the diversity of our partner organizations, the Network has broad geographic and demographic reach across the country. Together, we engage 11 million people each year in high-quality STEM learning!

 

3) What is the purpose of nisenet.org?

The website is an online digital library of public educational products and tools designed for educators and scientists. The website's purpose is to share educational resources and tools with educators and scientists to increase their capacity to engage their audiences in current science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Many of the educational products and professional development tools on the website are available for free download. This website features two types of educational products:

  • ​NISE Network Products: The NISE Network has developed a wide range of educational products designed to be used in a variety of settings, with a range of audiences. These products have been developed with funding from different sources for each product. These materials are available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. NISE Network products are created through an iterative, collaborative process that involves scientists, professionals in the field of informal science education, and targeted public audiences. This process helps to ensure that our programs, exhibits, and other products are scientifically accurate, represent best practices in educational product development, and are effective experiences for our visitors. Learn more about the development process.

  • Linked Products: Linked Products are educational products created with funding from another source (other than the NISE Network) or by another institution. Linked Products have their own permissions and credits, and are not subject to the NISE Network 's Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. A small selection of educational resources created by other organizations have be added to the website following a review process.  We have linked to high quality educational materials that are relevant to NISE Network professional informal science educators and their public audiences that connect directly to one of the NISE Network's existing projects such as NanoDays or Building with Biology.

The NISE Network also provides the public direct access to information and activities about nanoscale science, engineering, and technology through our public websites www.whatisnano.org

and http://explorescience.org/sun http://explorescience.org/sun

 

 

4) I am located in the United States, how can I get involved?

The NISE Network welcomes new educators and scientists to get involved with the NISE Network and to use educational products created by the NISE Network; here are some steps you can take to get involved: 

 

5) I am located outside the United States, can I get involved in the same way as US partners? (International individuals and organizations)

The NISE Network is focused on informal science education at museums and university outreach programs in the United States, but we are happy to share downloadable electronic resources with people and organizations around the world.

International individuals and organizations may follow the same links above to learn more about professional development and audience engagement.

Unfortunately our physical kits are restricted to our eligible partners located within the United States. Digital versions of kits and activities are available for free download and contains digital version of activities, training materials, and media files.

New to the NISE Network? Visiting our Getting Started page

 

6) What is NanoDays and how can I participate?

NanoDays is held during a designated week each Spring (last week in March - first week in April), and consists of locally based educational events and activities focusing on nanoscale science and engineering. Any organization can plan download a digital kit and host an event. The digital kit includes a planning guide, marketing materials, activity signs and guides, supply lists, media, training videos, and much more to use during your NanoDays event. 

The NISE Network is no longer creating and distributing new NanoDays kits; the last kit we created was in 2015.  We encourage you to hold NanoDays events and use NanoDays materials year-round.  You can download digital kit materials from the 2015 kit as well as other prior kits.

NanoDays provides a great opportunity for scientists and museum educators to collaborate, creating unique learning experiences and engaging people of all ages. You do not need a physical NanoDays kit to hold a NanoDays event!  Free online download of past NanoDays kits is available to all nisenet.org visitors, and is intended particularly for locations outside the United States, K-12 educators, libraries, and other educational organizations. The digital kit includes a planning guide, marketing materials, activity signs and guides, supply lists, media, training videos, and much more to use during your NanoDays event. Many of the activities use inexpensive, readily available supplies. 

7) I am not receiving the NISE Network newsletter, what can I do?

We are sorry to hear you haven't been receiving the monthly NISE Network newsletter. Here are some suggestions to help:

  • Step 2) Check Your Spam Filter:
    Check your email spam filter to make sure the newsletter isn't caught in your spam folder 
    Search for messages that include the title “NISE Network Newsletter”
    Search for messages sent from the domain "vrmailer3.com"
    Then mark the message as non-spam

  • Step 3) Firewalls and White Listing: 
    It is possible the receiving mail server is blocking or filtering your message before it's delivered to the inbox. A possible solution is to whitelist our domain and IP ranges so that the server will allow messages through the block. You may want to check with your IT staff or service provider and ask them to use the information below to whitelist VerticalResponse servers. This will hopefully prevent future delivery problems. 

    • VerticalResponse IP ranges: 
      216.55.172.0/24 
      74.116.89.0/24
      74.116.91.0/24
      74.116.88.0/24

    • VerticalResponse Bounce domain:  cts.vresp.com

    • VerticalResponse From domain:  Vrmailer3.com and  mail.vresp.com 

Please note that once your email server has been updated with Vertical Response whitelist information, you may need to sign up for the NISE Network newsletter again.

  • Step 5) More Help: If you are still having trouble, please contact  your Regional Hub Leader (contacts and a map can be found on our Contact Us page). Please also note that monthly e-newsletters are typically distributed the first week of each month and are posted online at www.nisenet.org/newsletter.

8) How are educational products on the website categorized?

To learn more about how the educational products on the website are categorized, see the product category type descriptions.

To learn about Linked Products vs. NISE Network created products please see FAQ #14

You can see all educational products by going to the Table of Contents.

 

9) How do I find what I’m looking for on the website?

There are several options for navigating the website and filtering your search results:

  • Search box: You can find materials by using the Search box in the top right hand corner of the website look for the magnification glass icon; this is helpful if you are looking for something specific such as "carbon nanotube" or "gecko"  https://www.nisenet.org/search

  • Filtered search:  You can filter results by Audience, Product Category Type, and Topic; you can select multiple filters to further refine your results
    https://www.nisenet.org/search

 

10) How can I download videos from the website?

The NISE Network hosts videos on Vimeo and YouTube:

Most videos featured on nisenet.org are hosted on Vimeo. Vimeo allows you to download in MP4 format. You may want to download a video if you plan to incorporate the video into an exhibit or play it in a theater.  You may also want to download a video if you want to play a video during a program or training and do not want to depend on the reliabilty of your internet connection during the presentation. It's best to use Safari when downloading, and you will need an account with Vimeo. To create an account and download a video:

  • Step 1) Log on to www.vimeo.com/join
  • Step 2) Choose the Basic (free) package
  • Sstep 3) Set your account name, email and password
  • Step 4) Once this is complete, close the popup if necessary and find your video at www.vimeo.com/channels/nisenet
  • Step 5) Click the title of the video to bring up that video's page 
  • Step 6)  Under the video is a shaded block containing the video’s title and description; at the bottom of this block is a darker bar where you’ll find the buttons, "Follow", "Add to…", "Stats", and "Download"; click the "download" button and choose the desired file size.

11) I am having trouble downloading resources, what can I do?

Videos:
For help downloading videos, please see FAQ #10.

PowerPoint Presentations:
Some PowerPoint presentations (ppt files) on the website include larger media, which will slow downloads. Sometimes these presentations may download without larger media pieces. We try to include separate media files when available so you can download ppt files and media files individually, insert the missing pieces and re-save to your desktop.

We have also created some large presentations with video as pdf files. You will need Adobe reader 9 and flash player 10-both are free downloads available at https://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/ and https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/otherversions/

Use Adobe Reader to run pdf presentations with video. When Adobe opens it will give you a warning that it is about to enter full screen mode. Check the box next to "remember my choice" and click "allow." The first time through the video may not play. If this happens, hit escape and look for the yellow error bar in Adobe reader warning you that video is trying to play. Here, click on "options" and select "trust this document always" From then on, it will open in full screen mode and play all video on that computer (you will need to repeat this procedure for all computers you wish to use these files on).


Adobe Air Multimedia
Some of the multimedia "Zooms" ion the website require the Adobe Air software program to run. Carefully follow all instructions in the "Zoom Installation" read me files included with Air multimedia. To run files locally on your computer:

Step 1) Download All files and install Adobe Air free from http://www.adobe.com/products/air/sdk/
Step 2) Adjust Settings Manager at http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager04.html
Step 3) On the "Edit Locations" dropdown select "Add Location" and then "Browse for folder" and find the air file on your hard drive.
Step 4) Close page and open the Air file on your computer to run.

Other technical problems
For other persistent problems, please contact site support at webmaster and describe the problem in detail so that we can help you. Please describe exactly which files were not downloading properly, if the download process was incomplete or if the file did not open properly once downloaded.

12) What is a Creative Commons license?

NISE Network products are designed to be easily edited and adapted for different audiences so NISE Network-developed resources are available “open source ”under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license.

Creative Commons is a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools.  

The NISE Network strives to share almost all of the educational products developed through NISE Network projects under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license.

This license allows you to:

  • Share:  to copy, distribute and transmit the work
  • Remix:  to adapt the work

Under the following conditions:

  • Attribution: You must give appropriate credit for the image; the specific attribution depends on the original creator of the image
  • Non-commercial: You may not use this work for commercial purposes; you may use this work for educational or nonprofit purposes.
  • Share Alike: If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

Linked Products: Linked Products are educational products created with funding from another source (other than the NISE Network) or by another institution. Linked Products have their own permissions and credits, and are not subject to the NISE Network 's Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. 

Images (please see FAQ #17 for more details)
Before using any images, photos, or illustrations you find on this website, please read the different permissions and attributions apply to the image you are interested in.

Stock images purchased from third parties are not covered under the terms of Creative Commons. 
Examples of stock images are those purchased from a photo service such as iStock, Getty Images, Photo Researchers, etc. 

 

13) Sharing your own work and connecting with other partners (Social Media)

We encourage you to contact your regional hub leader if you are interested in having your work featured in a Partner Highlight blog post.

If you'd like to share news or stories about your educational efforts or want to connect with other partners about an idea or product, we encourage you to use our Social Media platforms

14) Can I contribute a Linked Product to the website?

We are no longer accepting new linked products for inclusion on our website. This website focuses primarily on a few specific topics related to NISE Network projects. There are many other great online clearinghouses featuring educational materials for a wide variety of topics, please see FAQ#27 for information on other online digital libraries and clearinghouses for STEM hands-on activities.

15) Where can I find logos, press photos, and promotional materials?

The NISE Network has created a variety of promotional and marketing materials for partners to use when promoting their current science, engineering and technology educational events and activities. These materials include logos, clip art, colors, fonts, and photos.

 

16) How should I credit materials I use or adapt from the NISE Network?

NISE Network products are designed to be easily edited and adapted for different audiences so NISE Network-developed resources are available “open source ”under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license.

As long as you’re using our products for non-commercial, educational purposes, you can print, download, reproduce, distribute, perform, and/or display them. We also welcome you to edit or adapt our resources (again, for non-commercial, educational purposes). If you do modify our resources, we just ask that you make them available to others under the same open source principles as the original and include a credit statement (see below). This is the same as a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/]

  • Exceptions? In a few cases, there are materials in our catalog or kits that were developed by other groups or organizations with limitations on how those products can be used. If there are limitations, they will be included in “Credits and Permissions” section for that specific educational product.
     
  • Examples of credits: Our physical products, such as hand-outs, posters, and guidebooks typically will already include a credit statement.. If you’re presenting a program, you can include that credit and logos as a slide, or you can credit the NISE Network and project funder verbally.
    • "Developed by [Organization] for the NISE Network with funding from [Funding source]. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funder.”
       
  • Example of a credit for an adapted or modified product: If you’ve made changes to our products, please include the following credit statement on your modified product such as :
    • “Based on [a program, exhibit, publication, video, or material] developed by [Organization] for the NISE Network, with funding from [Funding source]. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funder.”
       
  • How can you tell if it’s a NISE Network-developed resource? Unless we explicitly say so otherwise, anything that has a NISE Network logo and Creative Commons statement on it is free to use, reproduce, hack, perform, and otherwise make your own (for noncommercial, educational purposes, that is). We have two different kinds of educational products on the website, NISE Network Products and Linked Products:
    • NISE Network Products:
      The NISE Network has developed a wide range of educational products designed to be used in a variety of settings, with a range of audiences. These products have been developed with funding from the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 0532536 and 0940143. These materials are available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. NISE Network products are created through an iterative, collaborative process that involves scientists with expertise in the content area, professionals in the field of informal science education, and targeted public audiences. This process helps to ensure that our programs, exhibits, and other products are scientifically accurate, represent best practices in educational product development, and are effective experiences for our visitors. Learn more about the development process.  The NISE Network program and activity templates package includes tools for developing educational programs: a lesson plan template, activity guide template, slideshow presentation template, peer review guidelines, and Universal Design checklist.

    • Linked Products:
      Linked Products are educational products created with funding from another source (other than the NISE Network) or by another institution. Linked Products have their own permissions and credits, and are not subject to the NISE Network 's Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. A small selection of educational resources created by other organizations have be added to the website following a review process.  We have linked to high quality educational materials that are relevant to NISE Network professional informal science educators and their public audiences that connect directly to one of the NISE Network's existing projects such as NanoDays or Building with Biology.

  • Linked Product Review process We are no longer accepting new linked products for inclusion on our website. In the past Linked Products went through a vetting process to ensure suitability and non-duplication of similar products on the website. Review criteria for Linked Products suggested for inclusion in the nisenet.org website included:
    • science content and direct connections to NISE Network projects
    • relevance to informal science educators
    • relevance to scientists doing education public outreach
    • intentionally designed for public audiences (in comparison to college curriculum)
    • appropriate level of materials/concepts/vocabulary for the intended audience
    • uniqueness in comparison to existing educational products on nisenet.org
    • scientific accuracy
    • appropriate permissions, credits, and acknowledgement (such as crediting of images)
    • the ability of the owning institution to host the resources on their own website

17) Can I use an image or photo I found on the website? How do I credit the image?

Before using any images, photos, or illustrations you find on this website, please read about the different types of images below to see how the different permissions and attributions apply to the image you are interested in.

a) Images created by the NISE Network:

The NISE Network has created many publicity and educational images and shares these original images, photos and materials under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license.

  • This license allows you to:
    • Share:  to copy, distribute and transmit the work
    • Remix:  to adapt the work

b) Scientific Images:
There are many scientific images on this website that were created with other sources of funding and do not fall under the NISE Network Creative Commons license.  The creators of these images have allowed the NISE Network to make these images available for non-commercial and/or educational use. When using an image, you must provide proper attribution as detailed in the "Credits" information for a scientific image.

c) Linked Products and other images NOT created by the NISE Network:
There are many Linked Products and other images on this website that were not created by the NISE Network and you do not have permission to use these images without contacting the original owner of the image and requesting permission directly.

d) Stock images purchased from third parties are not covered under the terms of Creative Commons.
Examples of stock images are those purchased from a photo service such as iStock, Getty Images, Photo Researchers, etc. 

18) What is "Nano" and what is the Nano Content Map?

Nanoscience is an emerging field in which scientists study and research the novel properties and behaviors of systems operating at the nanoscale. The prefix "nano" means one billionth.  A nanometer is very, very small - there are one billion nanometers in a meter. On this website we often use the term "nano" as shorthand for nanoscience, engineering, and technology.

For more information please visit the Intro to Nano section of the website.
For members of the public and students, please visit our public website: whatisnano.org.

The Nanoscale Science Informal Learning Experiences: NISE Network Content Map presents four key science content ideas for informal science education in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology:
  • Idea 1: Nanometer-sized things are very small, and often behave differently than larger things do.

  • Idea 2: Scientists and engineers have formed the interdisciplinary field of nanotechnology by investigating properties and manipulating matter at the nanoscale.

  • Idea 3: Nanoscience, nanotechnology, and nanoengineering lead to new knowledge and innovations that weren’t possible before.

  • Idea 4: Nanotechnologies—and their costs, utility, risks, and benefits—are closely interconnected with society and with our values.

These four ideas represent a basic understanding of nanoscale science, technology, and engineering ("nano awareness"). For each main idea, the content map articulates supporting information and examples, allowing learners to connect different concepts and explore them more deeply ("nano understanding").

NISE Network programs, exhibits, media, and other educational experiences engage the public in these ideas. Each educational experience developed by the network focuses on different parts of the content map, as appropriate for its target audience, format, and topic. The content map is a companion to the NISE Network Learning Framework, which describes the kinds of learning experiences we value.

 

19) Are there educational materials translated into Spanish?

Many NISE Network educational products are available in Spanish. Based on input from NISE Network partners, we have adapted our most popular programs for Spanish-speaking audiences. Follow the link below to explore Spanish versions of several NISE Network public programs, as well as selected other resources. 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.

 

20) How can I get more ferrofluid?

If you would like more ferrofluid sealed in a leak-resistant plastic tube similar tot he ferrofluid in  Exploring Materials - Ferrofluid (NanoDays 08, 09, 10, 11, 14) activity you you can purchase it from:

If you would like a larger amount of ferrofluid, suspension liquid, or custom containers similar to the ferrofluid exhibit in the Nano mini-exhibition "Small, Smaller, Nano" exhibit, you can purchase it from 

For future reference, NISE Network educational products typically include details about consumable materials and contact information for vendors in their documentation.

21) How can I get more pre-cut paper buckyballs?

Pre-cut paper buckyballs used in the NanoDays Exploring Structures - Buckyballs program are no longer available for distribution.  However, you can make your own paper buckyball models by purchasing your own buckyball die to use with a hand-operated roller die-cutting machine by following the instructions included here: Exploring Structures - Buckyballs program.
 

22) How can I get more liquid crystal mixture?

To make your own liquid crystal mixture of the type used in the NanoDays Exploring Materials - Liquid Crystal program, please see the  information on supplies included in the documentation. For step-by-step video instructions for preparing the liquid crystal mixture visit:

Alternatively, you can purchase liquid crystal sheets from Educational Innovations: www.teachersource.com.

For future reference, NISE Network educational products typically include details about consumable materials and contact information for vendors in their documentation.

23) Who do I contact if I have technical issues regarding the website?

To report technical issues or broken links, please contact: webmaster

 

24) How can I use materials year-round for holidays, seasons, and special events?

Ideas for incorporating current science, engineering, and technology content into holidays, seasons, annual events, and special STEM events: www.nisenet.org/seasons

25)  How can parents and caregivers find STEM events and museums near me?

Here are several great resources to find a STEM event or organization near you:

25)  How can I find and work with local scientists?

We have a few different resources you may find helpful to find local scientist collaborators and volunteers:

26)  How can I find and work with local community collaborators?

We have a few different resources you may find helpful:

27)  Where can I find educational resources and clearinghouses for hands-on activities on STEM topics?

This website focuses primarily on a few specific topics related to NISE Network projects. There are many other great online clearinghouses featuring educational materials for a wide variety of topics, here are a few:
  • www.howtosmile.org 
    Howtosmile is a collection of the best educational materials on the web, in addition to learning tools and services – all designed especially for those who teach school-aged kids in non-classroom settings. SMILE was launched in 2010, by a group of science museums dedicated to bringing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) out of the academic cloister and into the wider world. SMILE was launched in 2010, by a group of science museums dedicated to bringing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) out of the academic cloister and into the wider world. Our organizations are resource hubs for educational programs that involve people of all ages and backgrounds. The founding partners of howtosmile were the Lawrence Hall of Science, the Exploratorium, the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Children’s Museum of Houston, and the New York Hall of Science.
  • NASA Wavelength
    NASA Wavelength is your pathway into a digital collection of Earth and space science resources for educators of all levels – from elementary to college, to out-of-school programs. These resources, developed through funding of the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD), have undergone a peer-review process through which educators and scientists ensure the content is accurate and useful in an educational setting. Use NASA Wavelength to quickly and easily locate resources, connect them to other websites using atom feeds, and even share the resources you discover with others through social media and email.
  • http://cleanet.org/index.html
    CLEAN Collection of Climate and Energy Educational Resources - a collection of 650+ free, ready-to-use resources rigorously reviewed by educators and scientists. CLEAN's primary effort is to steward the collection of climate and energy science educational resources and to support a community of professionals committed to improving climate and energy literacy. The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) Portal was launched in 2010 as a National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Pathways project. It is led by the science education expertise of TERC, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder, and the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College. As of 2012, CLEAN has been syndicated to NOAA's climate.gov portal. 

  • http://www.informalscience.org 
    The InformalScience.org database contains project, research and evaluation resources designed to support the informal STEM education community in a variety of learning environments. The Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) works in collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) Program to strengthen and advance the field of professional informal science education and its infrastructure by providing resources for practitioners, researchers, evaluators and STEM-based professionals. 

  • https://resources.makered.org
    Maker Ed offers a digital collection of maker education resources designed to support educators and families with accessible hands-on learning experiences.

28)  Are there fees to join the NISE Network or use resources?

There is no membership fee to join the NISE Network.

Professional Development online workshops are available at no charge. 

Digital materials are available for free download from the website.

NISE Network products are designed to be easily edited and adapted for different audiences so NISE Network-developed resources are available “open source ”under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license.

29)  Where is the Member Directory?

Our NISE Network social media sites have replaced the Member Directory. You can connect with other NISE Network partners by joining our social media platforms.

 

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