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girl at kioskThe Space Science Institute (SSI) has been deeply involved in science education since its formation in 1992, producing pioneering projects ranging from exhibits, to digital learning experiences, to workshops designed to engage scientists in education reform. In May 2010 SSI expanded its educational efforst through the launch of NCIL: the National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute (www.nc4il.org). Dr. Paul Dusenbery is the Director of NCIL.

NCIL is organized around five interconnected groups: 1) Exhibition Development, 2) Digital Learning, 3) Professional Development, 4) Community Outreach, and 5) Learning Research and Evaluation. NCIL programs span a range of audience needs and delivery methods. These include traveling museum exhibitions; digital learning technologies (e.g. gaming, augmented and mixed reality, novel data visualization systems, and online learning); hands-on teaching resources and activities; educator workshops; outreach to underserved audiences, such as girls' groups, Hispanic, Native American, urban and rural communities; and successful partnership building between scientists and educators. NCIL conducts external evaluations for a number of informal education organizations as well as providing internal evaluation services for on-going projects.

Educational projects include large-scale, institutional-level efforts supported by NSF and NASA (e.g., Great Balls of Fire, Space Weather Outreach, and STAR_Net) as well as smaller-scale projects that focus on individual scientists seeking educational support for research projects (e.g., an asteroids project funded by NSF called Finding NEO). This strategic approach allows NCIL to leverage the needs and effectiveness of both kinds of endeavors and to explore new educational methods and effectively "scale up" those that show promise. 

In keeping with that strategy, NCIL is pursuing new directions for educational programming: an emerging partnership with the American Library Association to pilot interactive STEM exhibits in libraries in Colorado and beyond (e.g. Discover Space, Discover Earth, and Discover Tech); applications of internet technologies to facilitate social learning experiences (e.g. Making Space Social), and the continued development of educational multimedia capabilities.  NCIL staff and their partners are leading the way to a new generation of educational innovation, which bridges the worlds of STEM research, education, and communication.


SSI’s National Center for Interactive Learning has developed a number of education and public outreach (E/PO) products and services that could benefit your E/PO program. NCIL is a full-service E/PO provider. It is a national leader in developing small and large exhibitions for science centers, museums, and public libraries. NCIL also develops standards-based activities, conducts STEM workshops for educators and partners with a variety of organizations to produce STEM programs that inspire and educate the next generation of innovators. For more information about NCIL visit www.nc4il.org.

If interested in partnering on an E/PO project, contact Lisa Curtis at curtis@spacescience.org




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