The Real World Guide
Mobilizing STEM is currently developing the Real World Guide. Elaine Seymour (Co-PI, Mobilizing STEM) and Catherine Fry (Project Manager, Mobilizing STEM) are mapping (a) the nationwide, virtual community of STEM education practitioners who are improving STEM education by using real-world relevant materials and methods, and (b) the resources they have produced, tested, and disseminated.
This work is central to Mobilizing STEM’s efforts to increase uptake of existing high quality resources for undergraduate education, in particular, real-world-relevant materials and methods that enable an educated citizenry to address serious global problems. We propose to design, build, launch, test, and refine a digital guide to quality, real-world relevant resources for undergraduate education. We will feature resources from both STEM and other disciplines that have been produced by individuals, small groups and informal networks, and as part of larger initiatives and organizations, including disciplinary and professional societies. The guide will feature curriculum content and materials, pedagogical methods, learning assessment tools, and links to relevant published work. It will be easy to locate, search, and navigate using popular search engines, and will describe resources in a common format. The database is designed not as a collection of educational resources, but as a guide to them. We are not, therefore, duplicating the content of existing websites or resources available in national databases and libraries, such as the National Science Digital Library (NSDL). Rather, we are summarizing the nature and purposes of resources, categorizing them by searchable criteria, organizing them into a common format, and providing links to the resources. The guide aims to attract and direct new users to existing resources and will be evaluated for its capacity to increase their uptake. Some resources will be well-known and widely used; others may not yet be well disseminated. We are paying particular attention to the work of disciplinary and professional societies that showcase and promote developments in STEM curricula, pedagogy, and learning assessment relevant to real-world issues and that offer professional development in their use. Our working title for the database is: “The Real World Guide: Accessible Resources for STEM Educators and a Sustainable Future”
As the information is gathered, it is passed on to Mobilizing STEM colleagues who use it in building networks and alliances that encourage the uptake and scale-up of good STEM educational practices that address real-world issues. Mobilizing STEM’s work crucially depends on easy faculty access to the whole array of good quality, real-world relevant educational resources that are now scattered across many individual websites, digital collections, and databases. In order to showcase and promote the use of quality resources, Mobilizing STEM, the disciplinary and professional societies, funders, and other stakeholders need to be able to locate resources in a searchable, well-categorized, body of work.We are actively seeking funding to develop our initial work into a formal project in 2011.