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Unit Nine
Expanding and Enriching Library STEM Programs

As we’ve learned in earlier units, STEM programs that incorporate informal science learning techniques are appealing and engaging to a wide spectrum of the adult population. However, there may be people in your community who do not even entertain the idea of attending a program that includes mention of STEM topics. This unit will help you develop strategies to broaden the reach of library STEM programs in your community.

In this unit, you will:

    • Become familiar with factors that may contribute to an individual’s lack of engagement in STEM topics
    • Understand the components of Pushing the Limits program videos that are designed to encourage STEM engagement
  • Develop strategies to target and engage individuals that may not identify as STEM-interested
    • When you announce that the library will be having a program for adults about STEM topics, do you get reactions that indicate hesitancy about (or even outright aversion to) science?
    • “I’m too old to learn about science.”
    • “I’m not interested in experiments and labs.”
    • “Science is just too complex.”
  • “Science is boring.”

Where do these types of reactions come from?

  • While watching Video One, consider how to engage these less enthusiastic audiences with informal science programs, and identify reasons that some adults may not consider themselves “STEM interested.” Going to full screen mode will allow you to advance and rewind the video.
Unit Nine, Video One
Public Perception of STEM Programs

As you listened to Andrew Maynard discuss factors that may contribute to someone’s hesitancy about science programs, did you recognize any of these factors or influences in discussions you have with adults in your community?

  • Before watching the next video, download Strategies to Engage Audiences in STEM Programs. arrow icons
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Engaging Audiences in STEM Programs

Now that you have a better understanding of the reasons why someone may avoid a library STEM program, what can you do to alleviate these concerns or offset the hesitancy? From the material covered in earlier units of this professional development series, we know that informal science learning techniques address some of these issues.

Unit Nine, Video Two
Effective Science Communication

There are many videos and other resources that incorporate aspects of the ISL learning principles and best practices in science communication that we’ve been exploring through the first eight Units of this professional learning series. As you listen to this behind-the-scenes peek into how the Pushing the Limits program videos were designed and created, see if you can identify concepts and principles we’ve discussed.

Unit Nine, Video Three
Inside the Pushing the Limits Program Videos
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    • Download Pushing the Limits Program Videos: Story Structure.arrow icons
  • Do you see how the elements of story structure that Mark discussed are reflected in the “Tradition” and “Transformation” videos? Join the Community of Practice discussion thread, “Unit Nine: Pushing the Limits Videos Story Structure” and comment on your observations. (Keep this document on hand to help you find video programming that will support your STEM activities in the future.)

Let’s now plan the next two programs in the Pushing the Limits series. Begin by downloading Planning Your Pushing the Limits Programs: Motion and Heritage, and complete the sections.arrow icons

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