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Title: Collaboratory=Collaborate+Laboratory: The Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory

Abstract

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory created a network focused on collaboration in STEM education to design and deliver projects, resources, and professional learning opportunities in a testbed environment. How do you uncover and fill gaps in equitable access to high-quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education offerings in your local region? Where might you deploy strategies to improve STEM workforce preparation and increase public understanding of STEM-oriented issues? And how can you help to ensure that students, educators, parents, and the community are aware of these programs and know how to access them in schools, colleges, and community venues? If you are the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), you take on the huge goal of designing and implementing an innovative STEM education collaboration project that impacts all levels of local education, both inside and outside of school settings. PNNL is one of the 17 national laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Operated by Battelle, PNNL has a vested interest in preparing the next generation of scientists and engineers for their future careers, thus building a STEM-capable workforce and creating a STEM-literate community. One of Battelle’s core principles is a commitment to STEM education and its role in businessmore » competitiveness and quality of life. PNNL has been active in STEM education for decades, providing internships for future scientists, giving educators in-house lab experiences, and engaging its researchers in STEM outreach activities in classrooms and the community. The Collaboratory is a relatively recent outcome of Battelle’s longstanding efforts in STEM education. The original Collaboratory planning documents, developed by PNNL’s Office of STEM Education (OSE), state the objective to “design, implement, and mature a local STEM education collaboration zone that highlights the power of PNNL and Battelle to impact the educational ecosystem and serve as a model for amplifying and accelerating progress in addressing our STEM education and workforce challenges” (PNNL 2013). In other words, we (the OSE) sought to create a zone of collaboration in which members co-design and deliver STEM education programs, share findings and lessons learned from their experiences, and co-manage and sustain the organization. We started by identifying possible collaborators located nearby in the largely rural southeast corner of Washington State. Recognizing that our potential collaborators had differing norms, values, and relationships within the community, as well as their own areas of expertise and purpose, we convened representatives from K–12 public and private schools, higher education, community-based learning providers, and local business and industry to brainstorm a unified vision to resolve gaps in local STEM education needs. Through discussions with these collaborators, we started hunting for gaps where STEM efforts were lacking but a desire to improve existed. We gave ourselves permission to try things out and built a testbed space where we could experiment with new ideas, gather evidence of feasibility, and treat failures as constructive learning opportunities. Through this generative process and with seed funding from Battelle, inter-organizational teams now work together, both virtually and in real time, to develop, test, and deploy resources to support student success, educators’ effectiveness, and community engagement in STEM. Thus, the Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory (Collaboratory) was born. This is the story of our beginnings: our challenges, our lessons learned, and emerging indicators of success. For those interested in launching an education–business–community STEM learning ecosystem, we share our story.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1375376
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-126940
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Connected Science Learning, (3):June 13, 2017
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
STEM Education; Workforce Development; Collaboratory

Citation Formats

Willcuts, Meredith H., and Kennedy, Cathleen A.. Collaboratory=Collaborate+Laboratory: The Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory. United States: N. p., 2017. Web.
Willcuts, Meredith H., & Kennedy, Cathleen A.. Collaboratory=Collaborate+Laboratory: The Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory. United States.
Willcuts, Meredith H., and Kennedy, Cathleen A.. 2017. "Collaboratory=Collaborate+Laboratory: The Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_1375376,
title = {Collaboratory=Collaborate+Laboratory: The Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory},
author = {Willcuts, Meredith H. and Kennedy, Cathleen A.},
abstractNote = {Pacific Northwest National Laboratory created a network focused on collaboration in STEM education to design and deliver projects, resources, and professional learning opportunities in a testbed environment. How do you uncover and fill gaps in equitable access to high-quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education offerings in your local region? Where might you deploy strategies to improve STEM workforce preparation and increase public understanding of STEM-oriented issues? And how can you help to ensure that students, educators, parents, and the community are aware of these programs and know how to access them in schools, colleges, and community venues? If you are the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), you take on the huge goal of designing and implementing an innovative STEM education collaboration project that impacts all levels of local education, both inside and outside of school settings. PNNL is one of the 17 national laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Operated by Battelle, PNNL has a vested interest in preparing the next generation of scientists and engineers for their future careers, thus building a STEM-capable workforce and creating a STEM-literate community. One of Battelle’s core principles is a commitment to STEM education and its role in business competitiveness and quality of life. PNNL has been active in STEM education for decades, providing internships for future scientists, giving educators in-house lab experiences, and engaging its researchers in STEM outreach activities in classrooms and the community. The Collaboratory is a relatively recent outcome of Battelle’s longstanding efforts in STEM education. The original Collaboratory planning documents, developed by PNNL’s Office of STEM Education (OSE), state the objective to “design, implement, and mature a local STEM education collaboration zone that highlights the power of PNNL and Battelle to impact the educational ecosystem and serve as a model for amplifying and accelerating progress in addressing our STEM education and workforce challenges” (PNNL 2013). In other words, we (the OSE) sought to create a zone of collaboration in which members co-design and deliver STEM education programs, share findings and lessons learned from their experiences, and co-manage and sustain the organization. We started by identifying possible collaborators located nearby in the largely rural southeast corner of Washington State. Recognizing that our potential collaborators had differing norms, values, and relationships within the community, as well as their own areas of expertise and purpose, we convened representatives from K–12 public and private schools, higher education, community-based learning providers, and local business and industry to brainstorm a unified vision to resolve gaps in local STEM education needs. Through discussions with these collaborators, we started hunting for gaps where STEM efforts were lacking but a desire to improve existed. We gave ourselves permission to try things out and built a testbed space where we could experiment with new ideas, gather evidence of feasibility, and treat failures as constructive learning opportunities. Through this generative process and with seed funding from Battelle, inter-organizational teams now work together, both virtually and in real time, to develop, test, and deploy resources to support student success, educators’ effectiveness, and community engagement in STEM. Thus, the Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory (Collaboratory) was born. This is the story of our beginnings: our challenges, our lessons learned, and emerging indicators of success. For those interested in launching an education–business–community STEM learning ecosystem, we share our story.},
doi = {},
journal = {Connected Science Learning, (3):June 13, 2017},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 6
}
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