STEM programs in libraries, afterschool programs, and other informal learning settings offer unique opportunities for introducing young people to STEM. They can also empower young people to see themselves as changemakers in their communities. Yet scaling up those programs is no easy task, and program developers often struggle with issues of context, power, and equity when expanding their initiatives to new and larger audiences.
With funding from the National Science Foundation, EDC and the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) have partnered to examine the issue of equitably scaling up informal STEM education programs. The work aims to help funders, program developers, researchers, evaluators, and program implementers better understand the contexts within which scaling takes place, and to engage the field to address the challenges and opportunities of scaling with equity in mind.
The project is carrying out the following activities:
- Convene a national conference on scaling informal STEM programs in May 2023
- Create a white paper describing essential elements for equitable scaling
- Develop a self-assessment tool to help individuals implement equitable approaches to scale
- Highlight stories from individuals within the informal STEM education ecosystem
- 45 practitioners, including librarians, afterschool providers, funders, and STEM program developers, attended the May 2023 conference
- Resources containing best practices and considerations for centering equity in scaling will be disseminated in spring 2024.