Understanding the informal science education landscape: An exploratory study Public Deposited

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  • Mapping the informal science education landscape: An exploratory study
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  • This study investigated the informal science education (ISE) field to determine whether it currently functions as an effective community of practice. Research questions included: How do professionals describe and self-identify their practice, including what missions, goals and motivating factors influence their professional work? What challenges do they face and how are these resolved? Is participation in ISE activities perceived as central or ancillary to their work? Open-ended interviews were conducted with high-level representatives of 17 different ISE sub-communities; results were analyzed qualitatively. Findings showed this broad assortment of ISE sub-communities as not currently functioning as a cohesive community of practice. Although examples of shared practice and ways of talking were found, evidence of widespread, active relationship-building over time and coalescence around issues of common concern were absent. The article explores possible reasons for the current state of the ISE field and speculates how future events might influence these realities.
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  • Falk, J., Randol, S., & Dierking, L. D. Mapping the informal science education landscape: An exploratory study. (2012). Public Understanding of Science, 21(7), 865-874. doi: 10.1177/0963662510393606
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