What are STEM learning ecosystems?
STEM Ecosystems design and connect STEM learning opportunities to reflect the reality of young people’s lives: learning not just in school but out-of-school, online, home and in daily life. They also match STEM learning pathways to the changing needs of STEM higher education and workforce.
In partnership with the NC STEM Center, STEM East Network is an Ecosystem member of the STEM Funders Network STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative.
NC STEM was in the first cohort of 27 identified Ecosystems, a coalition which has grown to include 56 members across the United States.
STEM learning ecosystems encompass schools, community settings such as after-school and summer programs, science centers and museums, and informal experiences at home and in a variety of environments that together constitute a rich array of learning opportunities for young people. A learning ecosystem harnesses the unique contributions of all these different settings in symbiosis to deliver STEM learning for all children.
STEM ecosystems from across the country are referred to as Communities of Practice (CoP). These CoPs convene semi-annually to identify and share collaborative opportunities and strategies that impact STEM learning. These strategies may be focused on multiple aspects of each ecosystem so that all component members will have the opportunity to grow and contribute to the shared mission of the ecosystem.