21st Century Learning in Natural History Settings

The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, with support from the National Science Foundation, is pleased to host the 21st Century Learning in Natural History Settings Project and Wiki. The purpose of the project is to develop, initiate, and disseminate a collaborative and sustained learning research agenda to inform how natural history museums can best use their resources to support our audiences in the 21st Century.

A key component of the project was the 21st Century Learning in Natural History Settings Conference, held at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, February 12 - 15, 2012. During the conference, 100 participants from across the US and three international sites engaged in a dynamic process of initiating the development of a Call to Action and Learning Research Agenda to guide natural history museums into the future.

This wiki reflects the conference structure: There are major themes, each representing a focus topic for respective working groups during the conference. Each working group has a space on the Wiki. Working group spaces continue to evolve from transcribed conversations to synthesis of key learning research themes and major innovations for moving the field forward. They continue to be open for public and professional comment.

Conference Highlights

The conference schedule integrated whole group discussions, extended working group sessions, networking opportunities, and keynote speakers.


Research Agenda

The research agenda is based on dialogue initiated before the conference via ASTC Connect and during working sessions at the conference.

For this project, the research agenda is considered to be a set of nested questions that, if answered, will help transform what natural history museums do for and with their publics. We will articulate, justify, and prioritize questions and issues that natural history museums most need to address in order to use our unique assets to serve our publics in the 21st Century.

The working DRAFT overview of the learning research agenda was drafted by the Learning Research Agenda Working Group.

Call to Action

The group working on Theme 3, Intersections between Natural History Scientific Value and Educational/Public Value for the 21st Century, began a DRAFT of a Call to Action that articulates the Long Term Vision and Value of Natural History Museums and other, related informal natural history learning settings.

Working Groups

Working groups are organized by discussions about intersections between critical scientific and historical features and assets of natural history museums and opportunities afforded by the changing landscape of societal and educational context in the 21st Century.

Theme 1: Intersections between Natural History Museum assets and 21st Century Audience Engagement Strategies

Theme 2: Intersections between Natural History Museum assets and 21st Century Audience and Societal Contextual Factors

Theme 3: Intersections between Natural History Scientific Value and Educational/Public Value for the 21st Century

Synthesis Groups

Synthesis groups met after working groups had completed their sessions to begin to extract key themes and opportunities related to the conference goals and in response to the needs and recommendations of the conference participants.

Dissemination



How to use this conference wiki

Discussion


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