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Learning experiences for students often happen outside of the classroom—at community facilities, such as museums and sports centers, and through structured groups and activities, such as homework clubs and community service. Out-of-school learning can help students overcome learning disabilities and develop new talents, and increase their interest in education.
Current perspectives emphasize the role of out-of-school learning programs in critical issues, such as encouraging a diversity of students to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning and careers. This point of view underscores the importance of developing new research and evaluation approaches for out-of-school learning environments, while taking into account their distinct features.
SRI education researchers address the need for out-of-school programs by
Evaluating innovative programs within science museums and community centers
Studying out-of-school activities that engage girls in STEM projects
Investigating the foundations of out-of-school learning activity
SRI served as the external evaluator for a program that aims to increase the likelihood that San Francisco Bay Area students regularly experience high-quality science instruction aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core.
SRI Education is evaluating Start Making!, part of a Making! @ Clubhouses initiative, which provides resources to support hands-on making in Computer Clubhouse locations throughout the world.
SRI studied the pilot year of a program that aims to promote the expansion of high-quality STEM-rich tinkering activities into afterschool programs serving children from low-income communities.
SRI is conducting a multi-year examination of informal science offerings to explore the inquiry opportunities available for learners, the instructional materials used by staff, and the role of support partners.
By Torie Gorges