Interest in science and science education is at the all-time low in this country, which presents a significant impediment to the competitiveness of the U.S. economy in an increasingly global marketplace. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), a leading philanthropy providing funding and support to scientists and science education, has been engaged in an ongoing effort of finding innovative solutions to this critical problem. We have worked on multiple projects with HHMI, helping them to identify the most promising and effective tools, resources, and program elements that would engage students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, in science education and to inspire them to consider careers in science.
We have conducted numerous studies on behalf of HHMI informing the development and evaluating the efficacy of their digital educational resources for teachers and students, such as virtual labs, animations, science videogames, websites, DVDs and other educational digital media products. We have also examined the role of museums and aquaria across the nation in providing K-12 students with afterschool science education programs, and evaluated the impact of those programs on students’ interest in science.
Our research has helped HHMI to design its digital products and develop its platform and distribution strategy for reaching their intended audiences and making a desired impact. We have also provided intelligence on the optimal conditions for incorporating science education tools into classroom curriculum. Our research identified key elements that are essential for the success of science interventions in engendering student engagement and interest in science.
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