1. Margaret Glass
  2. Director
  3. An Evidence-Based Informal STEM Learning (ISL) Professional Framework
  4. http://www.islframework.org/
  5. Association of Science-Technology Centers
  1. Joe Heimlich
  2. Director of Research
  3. An Evidence-Based Informal STEM Learning (ISL) Professional Framework
  4. http://www.islframework.org/
  5. COSI
  1. Lesley Markham
  2. Program Manager, Strategic Initiatives
  3. An Evidence-Based Informal STEM Learning (ISL) Professional Framework
  4. http://www.islframework.org/
  5. Association of Science-Technology Centers
  1. Kris Morrissey
  2. An Evidence-Based Informal STEM Learning (ISL) Professional Framework
  3. http://www.islframework.org/
  4. University of Washington, NewKnowledge
  1. Dennis Schatz
  2. http://www.dennisschatz.org
  3. Senior Advisor
  4. An Evidence-Based Informal STEM Learning (ISL) Professional Framework
  5. http://www.islframework.org/
  6. Pacific Science Center
  1. Nancy Staus
  2. http://stem.oregonstate.edu/people/nancy-staus
  3. Senior Research Associate, Science Education
  4. An Evidence-Based Informal STEM Learning (ISL) Professional Framework
  5. http://www.islframework.org/
  6. Oregon State University
  1. Martin Storksdieck
  2. http://education.oregonstate.edu/people/martin-storksdieck
  3. Director and Professor
  4. An Evidence-Based Informal STEM Learning (ISL) Professional Framework
  5. http://www.islframework.org/
  6. Oregon State University
  1. Cat Stylinski
  2. Tenured researcher
  3. An Evidence-Based Informal STEM Learning (ISL) Professional Framework
  4. http://www.islframework.org/
  5. University of Maryland
Facilitators’
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Presenters’
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Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Margaret Glass

    Margaret Glass

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2018 | 10:08 p.m.

    Hi,

    Thanks for viewing our video! Our project presents ongoing research directed at understanding what kinds of skills and knowledge lead to success in this field. You can read research reports on the project website or on informalscience.org.

    We are excited to engage with you all this week and would like to hear what you think about a professional learning framework for this field. Here are some questions we have for you:

    • How might an individual benefit from a better understanding of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that help to build expertise in an ISL workplace?
    • Looking at the current version of this ISL Framework, can you recognize the competencies described so far? Can you “see” your own experiences anywhere?
    • What kinds of resources do YOU think are important to build skills and knowledge, and to better engage with the diverse communities that informal learning spaces serve?

    What questions do you have for us?

    Margaret

  • Icon for: Kris Morrissey

    Kris Morrissey

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 07:16 p.m.

    I'm intrigued to see that we have had many visitors from outside the U.S.  I'm curious how the idea of a framework such as this and the specific content of this one aligns with professional practices and assumptions in other countries?  Any resources or other examples of field-wide professional learning models you might recommend?

  • Icon for: William Spitzer

    William Spitzer

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 08:08 a.m.

    I really appreciate the way you are approaching career pathways in informal science learning, not just looking at one specific kind of role or skill. This effort is so timely, I have encountered so many young professionals in this field ask about how they can progress in the field.

    I also appreciate that you posed some questions to start the discussion! I like the way your framework focuses on both individual and institutional impact. What kind of feedback have you had on the framework from ISL staff? Are there particular competencies of the 16 you identified that seem to be most in demand?

     
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    Susan Foutz
  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 08:35 a.m.

    Billy: we have done a variety of small empirical studies that included surveys, focus groups and interviews with ISL staff and discussions/focus groups with students in museology programs. While we did not go into the details yet on which of the competencies resonated the most (it is too early for that), we did get a lot of feedback on the usability and usefulness. It showed that the Framework is potentially useful to institutions (e.g., HR, hiring, promotion, PD) ad well as for individuals (guiding, getting sense of bigger picture). We also got confirmed that the Framework needs a variety of support structures and additional elements to be more useful - we are working on those in the next phase.

     
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    Claire Pillsbury
    William Spitzer
  • Icon for: William Spitzer

    William Spitzer

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2018 | 07:55 a.m.

    Thanks Martin, I look forward to following the results of your research as they emerge.

  • Icon for: Kris Morrissey

    Kris Morrissey

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 10:57 a.m.

    As far as specific competencies that seem to be most in demand, the 'soft-skills' described in the General Expertise domain are very intriguing to me.  They seem to be highly correlated to career development, personal satisfaction and promotion.  I wonder if there are ways to promote more opportunities in the field for empirically-based professional development competencies in those areas?

    Also interesting- in focus groups and workshops, people who moved into management positions often commented on the need to quickly develop competencies within the Institutional Operations domain around managing finances.

  • Icon for: Charles Carlson

    Charles Carlson

    May 14, 2018 | 04:00 p.m.

    The topic presented here and subject of this project certainly focuses upon a major issue within the field of science museums. As someone retired from a more than 40 year career in the field, I would make the following observations: The number of staff members across the United States and worldwide is so limited, and each museum is so different in terms of needs, structure, etc., there really aren't solid careers. Instead, there's a limited number of opportunities and positions that are available for working ones way up the career ladder.  Typically at entry levels, the compensation is insufficient for a sustained career from something like college to an early professional career, say mid to late twenties. So much is over promised. As noted in earlier comments by others, the financial arena maybe the career exception.  Institutional funding is typically subject to boom bust cycles of funding.  And then there are the social trends that twist and pull at institutional direction and mission.  It's an inherently unstable employment environment.  

    At my former institution, promotions and positions occurred primarily through position inflation with an ever increasing amount of bureaucracy over the decades.  Staff members were frequently vastly over qualified educationally for the positions into which they were hired.  For example, people with doctorate level training would be hired to help teach the public directly, or be positioned to help support exhibit development and maintenance, or they'd be positioned into supervisory positions on the basis of their degrees and not experience that pre-staged a strange and dysfunctional dynamic. Most museum positions are strange hybrids of skill sets.

    Some aspects of the lack of a broad set of standardized museum qualifications goes with the diverse nature of museums.  While I very much enjoyed and loved my career at museums, I not sure I could recommend the museum field as a place for anyone seeking to make a career. That said, there's certainly a lot to learn and do at museums, perhaps staff positions should be viewed as paid training facilities from which staff might find other positions in bigger and broader fields of endeavor.

  • Icon for: Margaret Glass

    Margaret Glass

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 05:16 p.m.

    Hi Charlie,

    Thanks for these observations! You bring up a number of reasons why we as a team find this work compelling. I am struck by your comment: "Most museum positions are a strange hybrid of skill sets." This richness and diversity of backgrounds and experiences is one of the most interesting aspects of the museum world, and especially describes the subset of people who work in informal STEM learning settings. I find it interesting that there are people with doctorate-level training who are passionate about wanting to directly engage with the public. As one of these career changers (my background is in archaeology), I really felt I would have benefited from a set of navigational tools and resources to help me build skill sets to progress in a new professional context.

    I also agree that "the lack of a broad set of standardized museum qualifications goes with the diverse nature of museums," as  you point out. Yet we feel through the research of this project that there are ways to uncover and describe the competencies that are most critical to building expertise in the creation and design of rich STEM learning experiences in informal settings. Whether these settings represent a lifetime career, or are used as training for other fields of endeavor - I would hope that the individuals who work there can be empowered to intentionally construct their own professional experiences to match their needs and expectations.

    Great comments - thanks! I wonder if other readers can share relevant experiences from their professional pathways?

    Margaret

  • Icon for: Charles Carlson

    Charles Carlson

    May 15, 2018 | 02:11 p.m.

    Hi Margaret,

    Reflecting on your comments, I think it's safe to say that museums attract a wide range of participants with many different backgrounds.  That's indeed a good thing.

    Many years ago, back in the 70's, NSF supported a program called Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE). As I recall,  it was designed to provide support for academics in diversifying there experience backgrounds with an intention of into other fields of endeavor. It was different then, I remember times when someone with a PhD in cells biology could only get a job in a gas station pumping gas. Unbelievable.  From a museum perspective FIPSE provided the potential for greater bi-directional academic and intellectual enrichment.  Since that time, it has become more acceptable for people with PhD level training to seek and find employment in private industry and non-academic track positions.  

    That said the effects of the shift of academics into the museum field has had major impacts on museum staffing across broad sectors of employment positions within museums.  The personnel fits haven't always been good or beneficial.  I've seen it go both ways. In this forum, I'll venture that the sampling of participants skews towards those positively affected by their experience.  I'll bet money that we all love museums and the staffing that goes along with it. 

    I would also observe that NSF funding of ISE is now heavily directed towards understand the nature of informal education and the visitor learning experience, which fits most neatly into visitor studies and evaluation. That's not the whole of what museums need however.

    So my take away, is that I think you ought to include some unsuccessful career moves as well as successful ones, or things that worked and didn't in creating the PD, and then to broaden the approach because there are multiple pathways (as others have said).  

    One specific thing I think needs to be included is a course or refresher in understanding statistics in museum settings and from the virtual world of internet use.

    Overall, it sounds potentially useful.  Good luck on the project.

  • Icon for: Dennis Schatz

    Dennis Schatz

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 02:44 p.m.

    Charlie, I appreciate your providing your perspective on the Framework.  One of our goals for the future is to have a number of case studies of individuals, who represent a broad spectrum of ISL practitioners.  I agree these examinations of career trajectories should not only include the positive moves, but places where moves did not work out as expected, and why.

     
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    Susan Foutz
    Claire Pillsbury
  • Icon for: Anna Hurst

    Anna Hurst

    Informal Educator
    May 14, 2018 | 09:17 p.m.

    I see many familiar faces among the presenters for this video! Hello, Margaret, Dennis, and Martin!

    This seems like important work that can help shape the ISE field. So many people "accidentally" fall into work in this field, but then also fall in love and decide to stick around (at least that's how I did it!). I can see how having a framework like this would be really helpful for encouraging and guiding professional growth.

    In my work at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, I develop and implement professional development experiences for educators working in museums, parks, libraries, and other ISE settings. Are there any elements of your framework that we could incorporate into the design of this professional development, or that we should consider as we decide on future directions for our work in this area?

  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 09:07 a.m.

    Hi Anna: nice to see you here!  You are asking our question, actually. We hypothesize that all elements of the Framework might be useful to some degree for any PD in ISE, though which ones might depend on the nature and focus of the PD. Let me ask the question back to you. When you look across the Framework, what would you most want to foreground or include that might not have been a major focus of your PD so far?  Are there any aspects that align already with your work (and hence validate the Framework, your PD, or both)?

     
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    Anna Hurst
  • Icon for: Anna Hurst

    Anna Hurst

    Informal Educator
    May 21, 2018 | 06:57 p.m.

    Martin, I'll have to dig into your framework a bit deeper and get back to you. I look forward to seeing how this work develops! Please keep in touch .... which seems likely. :-)

  • Icon for: Claire Pillsbury

    Claire Pillsbury

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 09:33 p.m.

    What a worthy program to carry out to help individual staff get a sense of their role vs. others in their museum and others in other museums.  Certainly every institution has it's own idiosyncrasies but communicating patterns of career progression and thinking about competencies could be very helpful to museums big and small, to early career informal STEM workers and to HR and recruitment efforts.  In addition to the website and workshops, will there be other dissemination products?

  • Icon for: Joe Heimlich

    Joe Heimlich

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 09:50 p.m.

    Hi Claire!  Your comment made me smile.  The  idiosyncrasies aren't just institutional, they're for individuals!  One thing we did in the DACUMs and in workshops was to do "1 minute career path" descriptions.  Think about it.  Describe in one minute what you went to college or training for, and how did you get where you are now?  No one has a path like anyone else!  It's fascinating and sort of scary.  When we started this work, we thought "career stage" made more sense than job title.  And our research seems to be supporting that insight.  And I love that you are pushing the boundary with your comment.  THANKS!

  • Icon for: Margaret Glass

    Margaret Glass

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 09:51 p.m.

    Hi Anna! Thanks for the question. One thing we think about a lot in this project is how generalizable this Framework can be across different informal STEM learning contexts. In particular, the competency domains that pertain to individuals (currently called "job-specific expertise" and "general expertise") have the most potential in this sense. In upcoming stages of this work, we will be describing these "job specific" categories. I can imagine (and hope) that they will be relevant to people in contexts like those where the ASP provides professional development (e.g. parks, libraries, other settings). In an analogous way, the "general" skills correspond to those also labeled "21st century skills" (as Kris Morrissey pointed out in her post earlier today). We hypothesize that these too can be described in more sector-specific ways, when viewed through the lens of ISL settings (as compared to other work contexts).

    We are still in an exciting, exploratory stage of this work, deriving these competencies and indicators of progress from existing professionals through protocolled workshops, interviews, and focus groups. But as you point out, the goal is to provide ways for people to direct their professional growth, using many of the great resources and tools already developed through other vetted projects.   

     
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    Anna Hurst
  • Icon for: Anna Hurst

    Anna Hurst

    Informal Educator
    May 14, 2018 | 10:14 p.m.

    Thanks, Margaret! I look forward to seeing how this work evolves and what products from it I may be able to apply in my work. Please keep in touch. :-)

  • Icon for: Kris Morrissey

    Kris Morrissey

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 09:51 p.m.

    When we started this research,  despite my enthusiasm, I was also a bit skeptical about whether we could identify competencies that were indeed generalizable.  And could we identify competencies that were relevant and practical to a wide field without watering down the level of craft and excellence and expertise in our field?  However, as I watch people respond to the framework through focus groups and workshops,  I'm finding that this search for generalizable competencies hasn't flattened my ideas of professionalization but instead pushed my thinking around expertise and excellence and in particular, about informal learning. I think (or hope) that we are pushing towards principles and perhaps theoretical underpinnings of how we as a field facilitate and promote informal learning experiences.  

    Anna, in response to your question, I'm curious if in your fabulous work, you see any places in our framework where there is particular relevance or disconnect?  What competencies seem generalizable and which ones are so idiosyncratic or contextual that they aren'? And I wonder what those differences might tell us.

     
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    Anna Hurst
  • Icon for: Anna Hurst

    Anna Hurst

    Informal Educator
    May 14, 2018 | 11:07 p.m.

    This is an interesting question, Kris. Your framework seems necessarily broad enough to encompass the entire ISE field, whereas the PD I offer is much more specific - training for people in a specific position - primarily educators - and covering a specific topic - astronomy (though a wide range of topics within that field!). 

  • Small default profile

    Hannah Whitmire

    Undergraduate Student
    May 15, 2018 | 09:12 a.m.

    I thought the ISL Professional Framework was extremely interested. The website seems easy to use and understand. Two questions: how often do you provide professional development opportunities? Also, how are you able address such a wide range of jobs in the different STEM related fields?

  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 09:26 a.m.

    Hannah, thank you for your feedback.  We do not offer PD (yet). We are applying for funding to do just that, and we will disseminate the Framework to PD providers and work with them to incorporate the Framework into their offerings.  But we are just at the beginning of this work, now that we completed the Framework.

    Which brings me to your second question: We used a process called DACUM (Developing A CUrriculuM) to create the competencies for ISE. Basically, these are structured 2-day workshops with people who reflect on what it takes to do their job. We did this with a range of professionals who work in science centers, science museums and children's museums. We then compiled these results and verified it through surveys with lots of people who work in the field. Joe Heimlich and his team at LLG at COSI Columbus spearheaded this effort.

     
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    Martin Storksdieck
  • Icon for: Joe Heimlich

    Joe Heimlich

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 09:03 a.m.

    The DACUM is one of, if not the most tested process for job analysis.  This project did something really unique (and before we got the grant, we piloted the concept):  because of the unique pathways of individuals in ISIs, we thought there are job skills and requirements of being in these types of institutions that are far beyond job specific/job title skills.  So we used life stage and career stage theories to look at people across all types of positions (and we mean ALL) in these institutions.  And it was exciting as each of the DACUM panels came to many parallel functions with very different task progressions tied to career stage.  That was what provided the basis for the framework.  And we are proud to say the panels findings were strongly supported in the verification by over 1000 informal science institution employees!

     
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    Susan Foutz
  • Small default profile

    Joe Heimlich

    Researcher
    May 15, 2018 | 10:22 a.m.

    I agree, Anna.  This is a major motivation behind this work!  We've all seen amazing people who got into the field through many odd routes who then love and thrive in the environment.  But because it wasn't what they studied/prepared for, it's all new and ... how do you move forward?  How do you create a career versus a job?  How do you make this a profession?  We kinew there was something important in this work, but as we've been doing the research and the workshops, we're realizing that it wasn't just a good idea, it is leading us toward something potentially very valuable and useful for the field. 

    A really cool discovery as we did the research was that the framework provides two directions for growth.  One is to say:  I like this and I want to go deeper.  So that shifts the focus of PD from the soft skills to deeper expertise training.  OR, one could say, I want to move forward in responsibility and leadership, which would mean looking critically at the framework and competencies and expertise and considering next steps for T&D. 

    Thanks for your comment and insight into what we should think about moving forward.

     
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    Martin Storksdieck
  • Icon for: Kris Morrissey

    Kris Morrissey

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 10:56 a.m.

    Hi Hannah,  

    Great to have student engagement in this conversation!  I'm curious what brought you to our site and how you see the framework potentially useful (or not) for your academic goals? We have tested the framework with graduate students through a few workshops and class presentations and we asked students questions such as "I would use this framework if.." "I would not use this framework if.. "

    As a long-time university faculty and museum professional, my own career path has repeatedly crossed and integrated the world inside and outside of academics.  Some of my learning has been very deliberate, such as workshops at the Visitor Studies Association conferences to learn how to evaluate the impact of my work as a museum educator. Some of it was through university classes where I learned a lot about the nature of learning and the differences between understanding the learning process and understanding the process of facilitating learning. But much of my learning was trial and error such as reconciling a budget for the first time (not at all like balancing a checkbook!). 

    By focusing on competencies, we hope the framework provides a tool for individuals to be deliberate and successful in their learning path and to integrate experiences that might come from classes, workshops, mentors or reflective practices. 

  • Icon for: Julianne Mueller-Northcott

    Julianne Mueller-Northcott

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 12:34 p.m.

    What awesome graphics in your video! As a formal educator that frequently brings students to science centers, aquariums, zoos, etc I can see how this model is necessary for those in the field. What are your plans for sharing this model with professionals in the field? 

  • Icon for: Nancy Staus

    Nancy Staus

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 12:48 p.m.

    Hi Julianne,

    Thanks for the feedback! Right now the model is available at our website: http://www.islframework.org/ and we are also sharing it through several workshops for ISL professionals. I am new to the project so will let my co-presenters add any additional information about future plans.

  • Icon for: Margaret Glass

    Margaret Glass

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 01:23 p.m.

    Hi Julianne,

    To add to Nancy's response, we are building this Framework with lots of input from working professionals, and evidence derived from their real-life work contexts. We think this process itself will build a core of users/practitioners as we further describe competencies and skills, and identify resources and practices that support professional growth.

    Here at ASTC, we are thinking very carefully about how this project can inform our work at the association level. Already we have learned a lot more about the needs of people working in science centers and museums, and other STEM-rich informal settings. This helps us to think more deliberately about the kinds of supports we can create (e.g. in-person or online learning experiences), and structures to enhance the annual conference. Just as important, we are becoming better connected to the broad range of high quality PD providers and practices that exist in the ISE field - many of which are represented in videos here in this showcase. Rather than thinking of creating or disseminating a "one-stop" model of professional learning, we envision a navigation system that allows people to set goals, identify pathways, and gauge progress.

    We still have a ways to go, and input like this discussion really helps us!  

  • Icon for: Preeti Gupta

    Preeti Gupta

    Informal Educator
    May 15, 2018 | 01:57 p.m.

    Enjoying this great discussion! Looking forward to more. Down in the trenches, I am always finding myself in a position where I am crafting the job description for entry level, mid level or advanced level positions and feel that the attributes I need are missing from the candidates when the resumes come in. I blame my lack of clarity in the job descriptions. I am hoping this framework will help me be more focused on how I craft language for positions as well.

     
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    Lesley Markham
  • Icon for: Kris Morrissey

    Kris Morrissey

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 02:05 p.m.

    We're also creating connections across formal (i.e. academic) and informal providers of professional learning to align our shared efforts and values to develop a highly skilled and well-positioned work force for our field. 

  • Icon for: Dennis Schatz

    Dennis Schatz

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 02:34 p.m.

    Much of the conversation so far is about how the Framework can help individuals explore the skills they have and ones they my want to enhance.  I appreciate Preeti chiming in about the role the Framework can play in helping supervisors. Supervisory staff at Pacific Science Center were especially excited about the way it would help them think about what should be in job descriptions, think about what feedback to give staff to improve their work, and for identifying what PD experiences would be good for their staff.

    I would appreciate hearing from others who see ways this will help with their staff management needs.

  • Icon for: Susan Foutz

    Susan Foutz

    Researcher
    May 21, 2018 | 01:28 p.m.

    Hi Dennis, Martin, Joe, Margaret, Kris, et al! What a great team and a great project. I watched your video and immediately sent the link to colleagues who are managing teams of science educators. I was envisioning that this project being helpful as they guide the professional development of their staff. I see this as helping them to provide a deeper level of guidance beyond the skills needed to create and deliver programs. I also liked Preeti's observation that we could create better job descriptions as a result of this work. I can't wait to see what you do next!

     
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    Joe Heimlich
  • Icon for: Cathlyn Stylinski

    Cathlyn Stylinski

    Researcher
    May 21, 2018 | 01:36 p.m.

    Susan -- thanks so much for your feedback and for sharing the link with colleagues. It is great that you see its potential as a helpful staff PD guide, as well as a tool to define future positions.

  • Icon for: Joe Heimlich

    Joe Heimlich

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 01:38 p.m.

    Thanks, Susan!  You've hit on a couple of the things that excite me (and I think the team) the most: a tool to support professional development of staff AND a guideline for understanding some of the skills, tasks, and duties that cut across job specific descriptions.  As we move forward, looking at, testing, and refining supports for these activities will be front and center for us.  And we're going to be testing things with a lot of folks, so you may be hearing from us one of these days.  Thanks!

  • Icon for: Nancy Staus

    Nancy Staus

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 02:47 p.m.

    In addition to helping with job descriptions, other supervisors have suggested that they could use the Framework for evaluating staff and developing guidelines for training and job promotion. How else would it be helpful at the supervisory level?

  • Icon for: Kris Morrissey

    Kris Morrissey

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 02:55 p.m.

    To build on Nancy's comment, we are very sensitive to the implications of using the framework as an evaluative tool. In the workshops we've piloted, there was strong support for using the framework as a way for individuals to assess their own learning path rather than a tool to assess someone else in keeping with the intention of self-directed (but perhaps guided) learning. The tool is descriptive rather than prescriptive.  

  • Icon for: Dennis Schatz

    Dennis Schatz

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 03:47 p.m.

    Susan,  Great to hear from you.  I am especially interested in your perspective regarding how this can be of use to manager/supervisors to assist with staff evaluation without having a negative impact on the staff member being evaluated.

  • Icon for: Jennifer Atkinson

    Jennifer Atkinson

    Project Manager, STEM Guides
    May 15, 2018 | 05:55 p.m.

    Have you thought about the application of this framework beyond museums? Many of the comments above resonate with my experiences in non-profit institutions, most of which have been natural science or conservation oriented. 

  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 06:31 p.m.

    This is an interesting suggestion, Jennifer. We developed the Framework within the context of science and children's museums, and our next step would expand it to other informal science education settings, such as zoos or aquariums. But I agree that there are some generic aspects of the Framework that could provide the foundation for serving an even wider range of institution types.  

  • Icon for: Joanna Garner

    Joanna Garner

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2018 | 07:21 a.m.

    This is very interesting and important work. I will definitely visit the project website! My colleague Avi Kaplan and I have been investigating the role of professional development in professional role identity formation. We use a complex, dynamic systems model called the Dynamic Systems Model of Role Identity. It seems as though individuals in informal learning environments might go through changes in their role over time, perhaps from expert scientist to educator to grant writer, or perhaps including all of these and more. Navigating these changes successfully might allow individuals to act as mentors and lynchpins of success for their organizations, while protecting against attrition. I would be very interested to explore how your framework might provide opportunities for career role identity development that promotes adaptive exploration, commitment formation, and adaptive and flexible responses to changes in the workplace.

  • Icon for: Joe Heimlich

    Joe Heimlich

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 09:04 a.m.

    What an exciting research opportunity that would certainly be invaluable for the field!  Can't wait until the framework is fully fleshed out and supports created so you could do this type of role change over time study using the framework!

  • Icon for: Lesley Markham

    Lesley Markham

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 08:50 a.m.

    Hi Joanna, thanks for posting. I just took a look at your video. It looks very inspiring! Do you have a link or citation for your work on professional role identity formation? I would love to learn more about it and how it might help inform our work on this project. Your observation about changes in roles is spot on and why we think that the Framework will help to navigate those points in our career pathways. Picking up on Joe's comment above, we ask participants to think about their career by providing a one-minute narrative and by mapping out their pathway to date on paper. We have a PDF version of the Framework that participants can work through to determine which skills they are expert in. They can identify where they need to receive help/PD to advance in their career. Do take a look at the PDF and let us know what you think. Thanks!

  • Icon for: Joanna Garner

    Joanna Garner

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2018 | 12:52 p.m.

    Lesley, thank you for looking at our Engineering Ambassadors video! I have downloaded the PDF. Very interesting.

    We have applied the DSMRI model I mentioned to the study of the undergraduates as they acquire new roles as ambassadors. We have also applied it to educators. Here is a link for materials related to the role identity model: https://www.researchgate.net/project/A-Complex-... The main citation is Kaplan, A. & Garner, J.K. A Complex Dynamic Systems Perspective on Identity and its Development: The Dynamic Systems Model of Role Identity. Dev Psychol. 2017 Nov;53(11):2036-2051. doi: 10.1037/dev0000339.
    Please feel free to e-mail me directly!

  • Icon for: Lesley Markham

    Lesley Markham

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 01:27 p.m.

    Thanks Joanna!

  • Icon for: Lesley Markham

    Lesley Markham

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 09:05 a.m.

    Welcome to Day three! We have received some great comments and questions on this thread that will help us progress with the next stages of our project.Thank you!

    I am in the process of rewriting my job description as a program manager at ASTC and I'm using the Framework PDF to help me with the task. I started my career doing research in a lab so data collection and report writing were the major skills that I learned. I then had a complete switch of careers and spent 12 years as a corporate accountant. This phase taught me everything I needed to know about budgets and accounts! My third career stage brought me into the informal STEM learning sphere. As a program manager, I can identify my skill set in the Framework at different levels. Here are some examples:

    • Institutional Operations - level 2 - influence and shape the structure and operation of my institution
    • Institutional Impact - level 2 - influence and contribute to the identification and measurement of intended outcomes in the processes, products, and programs of my institution
    • Job Specific Expertise - level 3 - Advocate for and contribute to evidence for effective and efficient practices in the ISL field
    • General Expertise - level 3 - Influence and support the capacity of my institution and the ISL field to address societal goals and problems through creative and analytical thinking

    Take a look at the Framework PDF to see if you can identify your own skill levels.

    Thanks!

  • May 16, 2018 | 11:54 a.m.

    Very exciting to see this work being advanced--it has been a pleasure to be involved peripherally during the development of the Framework, and I am looking forward to seeing and hearing more about its usage and evolution over the coming years.  Margaret and team, I wonder if you could speak a bit to the role of equity, diversity, and cultural relevance, sustenance, and pluralism in the preparation and implementation of this new tool for the ISL field.  I know "equity and diversity" is called out in one spot in the Framework, but there have been numerous conversations (including a recent and very robust conversation on the American Evaluation Association listserv) regarding the culturally laden nature of "standards," as well as the questions of who determines legitimacy and quality, for whom, and to what ends.  It sounds like this has been a very collaborative process both within and beyond the core team, which is wonderful, and I would love to hear your thinking regarding how you foregrounded these considerations as you undertook this work.

    Thanks!

  • Icon for: Kris Morrissey

    Kris Morrissey

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 03:10 p.m.

    Hey Chris, When AAM posts the videos from the annual conference, I'd be curious if you have any reactions or comments to our session called "Equity at the Heart of Professional Development".  We tried to discuss some of the issues you raised about the framework.  One line of conversation pushed hard on the need for professionals to be prepared to directly address presumed legitimacy and definitions of quality.  

  • Icon for: Kris Morrissey

    Kris Morrissey

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 12:43 p.m.

    You've identified one of the thorniest challenges we faced with the development, and will continue to face with the dissemination, of the framework!  How can we create a tool that empowers individuals to advance their capacity and to pursue their learning goals without creating standards that maintain the status quo which often means reinforcing practices that may reflect biases or power hierarchies that are based on criteria other than competency. We're trying to address those concerns in three ways: 1) Through the structure and language of the Framework; 2) Through critical and dynamic review processes, and 3. By including Equity and Diversity as a specific component, we hope to support the many conversations taking place in the field such as the one you mentioned. I'll just give two examples below and I hope this conversation continues.

    1. Structure and language: We deliberately structured the framework to focus on competencies, not on credentials. We avoided words such as standards and we refer to 'efficient' and 'effective' practices rather than 'best' practices.  The concept of "professionalism" has historically focused on credentials which are often tied to access to cultural resources. (Consider the lively debate about unpaid internships in our field).

    As a field that values learning across the lifespan and in and out of school, we think that professionalism is about developing competencies which for different individuals and at different times in our lives, might develop through a workshop, an academic degree, of working for a great supervisor. 

    2. Process: We recognize that we don't know what we don't know and in areas of equity work, we know we need to hear from and integrate other voices. In our research, we attempted to hear from as many different voices as possible.  At AAM last week we had a session called "Equity at the Heart of Professional Learning" with a panel of folks engaged in equity work and we asked them to review the idea of a framework and the specific content of this framework and identify areas that could potentially advance or inhibit equity work. 

    It is my hope (and I believe the hope of the team) that the framework advances the capacity and the opportunities of individuals currently or aspiring to work in museums. We welcome any advice that helps us.

  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 01:06 p.m.

    To add to Kris' answer: we tried to ensure that we had broad representation in the DACUM workshops and during the validation process. I think it was important that we build this framework from the ground up rather than from the top down. People across hierarchies and experiences took part, and each voice was considered equally.  I believe that helped. And it is indeed important to point out that we do not develop, nor do we intend to develop a standard.  Interestingly, there are those who would like us to do just that...

    One aspect that we could not include in this phase of the project is a detailed analysis on how the Framework might influence practice.  We were only able to get the Framework developed, albeit with much research accompanying this work. In the next phase, when we can add additional resources we know are needed or would be beneficial, we can gauge who benefits or uses the Framework and in what ways, and that work will have a specific diversity, equity and inclusion focus.  

  • Icon for: Katie Widmann

    Katie Widmann

    Graduate Student
    May 16, 2018 | 05:15 p.m.

    I really appreciate how you're developing the framework to evenly distribute the load (hopefully!) between the individual and the organization they work for.  I am at the beginning of my career and can definitely see myself using this framework to help me make decisions on where to go next, so thank you very much for that.  Having a road map will be extremely helpful to me, even if it's something I use on my own rather than in conjunction with my organization.

    Your video is incredibly aesthetically pleasing to watch and is different than what I've seen so far.  May I ask what program you used?

     
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    Martin Storksdieck
  • Icon for: Lesley Markham

    Lesley Markham

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 06:26 p.m.

    Thank you Katie! I’m glad that you can see some application to your own career pathway. We used a local videographer to help us pull our presentation together. Matt Nagy from Origin Story (originstorycreative.com). He is fabulous! 

  • Icon for: Cathlyn Stylinski

    Cathlyn Stylinski

    Researcher
    May 18, 2018 | 09:23 a.m.

    I echo Lesley's comment. Our team worked together to find the stories in the Framework, and Matt did a great job of turning our vision into a video. 

    Thanks for noticing!

    Cat

  • Icon for: Julia Skolnik

    Julia Skolnik

    Informal Educator
    May 17, 2018 | 07:37 a.m.

    What an impressive group of people leading such important work! I want to echo the earlier comments about the value of this framework as well as questions about implementing this resource meaningfully for groups of informal education professionals. Do you imagine this work would achieve highest impact if used in groups of multi-level professionals within an organization, or similar-skill professionals across organizations? Would you consider a train-the-trainer model to disseminate the use of the framework across the country? Also how do you see this initiative as unique from/complementary to other museum-focused training experiences like Reflecting on Practice, REFLECTS, Leadership Institutes (NOYCE fellowship), etc?

    I also wonder how much of success in informal education institutions overlaps with more general skills and understanding about how nonprofit organizations work - fundraising, appropriate staffing with respect to scope of work, marketing, etc. How do you see these skills folding into the framework?

    Thanks again!! Would love to stay connected about this!

     
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    Joe Heimlich
  • Icon for: Dennis Schatz

    Dennis Schatz

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 02:34 p.m.

    Julia, thank you for your insightful comments and questions.  We think the Framework can work well in either multi-level practitioners within an institution or with practitioners across organizations with similar responsibilities. Using funding from an IMLS grant, we will be doing a workshop at Pacific Science Center that includes a mix of positions across the institution.  This will add to the current evidence we have from previous workshops and presentations.  We will also be offering one of the Intensive Workshops during the preconference day at ASTC.  It is a full-day workshop and I assume will include multi-level practitioners across a number of institutions.  This will help us understand the conditions regarding how and when the Framework is useful.

    We ultimately think a train-the-trainer model will work for implementation, but more important, we hope that people developing professional learning workshops/experiences (RoP, Noyce, etc.) will see the Framework as useful to help them design what should be in those experiences.

    Given all your work in this area, we would appreciate your thoughts regarding what is our current thinking about ways the Framework can be used to support practitioner professional learning.

    We also look forward to what other people reading the posts have to say.

     
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    Claire Pillsbury
  • Icon for: Julia Skolnik

    Julia Skolnik

    Informal Educator
    May 17, 2018 | 02:59 p.m.

    Hi Dennis - this sounds great!  Are there spots open for your ASTC preconference session?  I'd love to attend!

    I think a train-the-trainer model might be helpful in building buy-in and capacity within institutions, as well as adapting the framework with a particular institution's practices. Trained individuals could also customize to different skill sets - educators, development, marketing, leadership, membership, etc. It also sounds like a great experience to build capacity for HR and/or PD departments in supporting their colleagues!

    I would love to help in any way I can - let's stay in touch!

  • Icon for: Dennis Schatz

    Dennis Schatz

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 04:01 p.m.

    Julia - We're delighted you are interested in being involved in the future.  We are still trying to determine exactly what that will be, but will be sure to think of you as we plan for the future.

    I assume that there is still space in the ASTC pre-conference workshop, since registration has not been open for too long.  It would be great to have you participate and get your feedback afterward.

    I hope your Leap into Science expansion is going well.  I enjoyed viewing your video.

  • Icon for: Kris Morrissey

    Kris Morrissey

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 11:04 a.m.

    Thanks for the thoughtful questions that align so closely with our questions. We hope we can develop the resources and flexible dissemination structures to make the framework useful for groups, individuals, or networks. We do know that a robust initial introduction is important and we are piloting different versions of workshops with different compositions such as within one institution or across several institutions. We are also gathering information about flexible and fluid strategies for individuals to assess, document, and strategically plan their personal learning path.

    Your question about how the framework is unique from other museum-focused training experiences is important to us. I would characterize the framework as similar in aspiration (advancing capacity and impact) but unique in that we are trying to provide a resource that helps individuals and organization identify and/or prioritize the competencies they want to develop and then points them to resources or initiatives that might help them develop those competencies. 

    Our field has many rich resources and museum professionals are avid and passionate learners.  However, as many of us move between positions or come into the field from different paths, the framework may help identify gaps or opportunities that may help maximize the utilization and integration of the varied learning opportunities you mention.

    Please stay in touch and follow our progress on our website (islframework.org)

  • Icon for: Kris Morrissey

    Kris Morrissey

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 01:37 p.m.

    As I've been browsing through the amazing videos and projects in the showcase, I'm struck with the number of times science identity is referenced as a goal for participants in programs.  How do those conversations inform or align with how we think of our own professional identities? 

    I started my career with a job as an educator at a natural history museum. I think I started my gradual shift to thinking of myself as a museum professional when I started taking workshops and participating in the Visitor Studies Association because I wanted to better understand the impact of my work. I was engaged in self-directed learning, I felt included and I felt like I was contributing.  (Thanks VSA colleagues!) 

    Any thoughts on how professional identity and sense of belonging to our field relate to issues of equity?  How might professional development and professional learning opportunities support and broaden the range of people who come to museum jobs and continue as museum professionals

  • Small default profile

    Ian Croft

    May 18, 2018 | 10:27 a.m.

    As a Business Performance Consultant it’s greatto see Communities of Practice being built for dispersed groups of professionals. Excellent work. Ian Croft

  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 03:06 p.m.

    Thank you, Ian. In the next phase we hope to create a broader sense of community around these issues, though one of the big challenges in informal STEM education has always been a group identity that goes beyond the setting. How do you get folks who work in science centers, zoos, aquariums, planetariums or park visitor centers think of themselves as belonging to the same community?

  • Icon for: Dennis Schatz

    Dennis Schatz

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 03:17 p.m.

    There is still much discussion among the Professional Learning Framework leadership team regarding the value of the Framework for managers and supervisors at ISL institutions.  Preeti earlier commented on how it is useful in identifying the skills needed when writing job descriptions.  Certainly, it can be used to identify professional learning experiences that would be good for staff, but what is the role in using the Framework when doing staff evaluations?  Can it help managers and supervisors identify appropriate skills to highlight in the evaluation and identify professional learning experiences to enhance those skills?  However, we did not want the Framework to be seen primarily as an assessment tool.  We would appreciate hearing what others think about this issue.

  • Icon for: Joe Heimlich

    Joe Heimlich

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2018 | 05:25 p.m.

    Saturday has been a quiet day on this page, but in part because the team is all getting ready to meet in person on Monday and Tuesday.  We are closely tracking the questions and comments and those will become part of our dialogue.  So please, share any reactions, any ideas.  We are continually re-excited by this work and want to make the framework and supports as useful for the field as possible! 

  • Small default profile

    Elaine Croft

    Informal Educator
    May 21, 2018 | 05:14 p.m.

    Thank you ASTC for this STEM learning opportunity. I work for Hagley Museum who creates engaging and cool STEM programs for children. Love the synergy of partnerships!

  • Icon for: Margaret Glass

    Margaret Glass

    Lead Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 05:23 p.m.

    Hi All,

    Thanks so much for all of the questions and input about the ISL Framework. We really value all of this conversation. Some of you have asked what our next steps are. Right now, our full team is assembled in a project meeting at the Pacific Science Center, reviewing our progress and plans. We are also here to observe a workshop that takes place tomorrow with PSC staff, supported by an IMLS Museums Empowered grant to COSI. We are excited to continue hearing from professionals at all career stages how our work can support their organizational and individual growth.

    Please feel free to reach out to any of us on the project team – we look forward to hearing more from you.

    Margaret Glass

    Lesley Markham

    Dennis Schatz

    Kris Morrissey

    Joe Heimlich

    Martin Storksdieck

    Nancy Staus

    Cat Stylinski

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.