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Informal Learning Collaborative

The Informal Learning Collaborative (ILC) program is designed for informal educators who work with outside educational agencies (such as schools and afterschool organizations) to strengthen science teaching and learning in their communities. 

The goal of the program is for participants to design and lead stronger, more strategic programs that build on the particular strengths and affordances of informal settings to support the needs and strengths of formal science teaching and learning.  Extensive program evaluation, conducted by Inverness Research Associates, indicates that the program has positively affected both quantity and quality of participants programs.

Who are the Informal Educators?

Educators based at science museums, zoos, botanic gardens, aquaria and other informal science institutions (ISIs) participate in a three-year long program that builds their professional networks, knowledge, and practices.  Participants design and lead ISI-based teacher development programs, curriculum development, and other programs for school/afterschool leaders.

ISI-based educators who work with teachers and afterschool leaders have particular professional development needs.  They need to be knowledgeable not only about science, exhibits, informal contexts, workshop design, and adult learning; they also need to understand education policy, partnerships, classrooms, issues of cultural and linguistic diversity, child development, and assessment.  This knowledge, moreover, needs to be consistently current to maintain credibility in the school world.


What is the ILC Program Content?

The ILC provides four core workshops: inquiry, learning theory and design, education policy, and current research (at the Bay Area Institute) - and maintains an ongoing electronic network, with quarterly reading groups that discuss recently published relevant research and policy documents.  The program brings in a range of experts from other fields to expand our thinking and challenge us to better integrate our resources into the broader educational landscape of our communities.

Past workshops have included:

Oct 28-31 2006     ASTC Network Meeting, Louisville
Guest Faculty: Dennis Schatz (Pacific Science Center), Diane Miller (St Louis Science Center), Ronneta Guha (SRI, International), and Bill Watson

Aug 18-20, 2006     Professional Development Design, San Francisco
Guest Faculty: Hubert Dyasi (CUNY), Maria Lopez-Freeman (UCLA), Judy Brown (Miami Museum of Science), Mayumi Shinohara(WestEd), Laura Stokes and Pam Castori (Inverness Research Associates)

Feb 10-12 2006     Education Policy, San Francisco
Guest Faculty: Richard Duschl (Rutgers University),
Meryl Bertenthal (University of Illinois Chicago), Mike Timms (WestEd), and Carlos Ayala (Sonoma State University),and George Hein (Lesley University)

Oct 15-18 2005     ASTC Network Meeting, Richmond

Aug 20-22, 2005     Bay Area Institute, San Francisco

Apr 28-30 2005     Education Policy, San Francisco
Guest Faculty: George DeBoer (AAAS)

Feb 23-25 2005    Learning Theory/Design, San Francisco
Guest Faculty: Barbara Rogoff (UC Santa Cruz) and George Hein (Lesley University

Oct 21-27 2004    Inquiry Workshop, San Francisco
Guest Faculty: Doris Ash (UC Santa Cruz) and Joanna Haigood (Zaccho Dance Theatre)

August 22-24, 2004    Bay Area Institute, San Francisco

Sept 18-21 2004 ASTC Network Meeting, San Jose, CA

Feb 24-26 2004         Learning Theory/Design, San FranciscoGuest Faculty: Barbara Rogoff and Sally Duensing (UC Santa Cruz), George Hein (Lesley University), Suzanne Wilson (Michigan State University), and Wayne Ransom (Franklin Institute) 

Oct 16-22, 2003     Inquiry Workshop, San Francisco
Guest Faculty: Joanna Haigood (Zaccho Dance Theatre)

August 15-18, 2003     Bay Area Institute, Santa Cruz

Mar 26-27, 2003     Education Policy Workshop, PhiladelphiaGuest/Host Faculty: Wayne Ransom, Susan Holmes, and Molly McLaughlin (Franklin Institute)

Sept 18-24, 2002     Inquiry Workshop, San FranciscoGuest Faculty: Tom Zimmerman (IBM) and Tim Hunkin (UK)