With support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Children’s Creativity Museum and UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science are updating howtosmile.org to meet the growing needs of informal educators offering at-home STEM educational programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will establish a network of 10 new partner museums to expand the howtosmile digital library, which provides high-quality STEM activities to an active community of informal educators through best practices in digital resource management-with almost 3,500 cataloged resources. The project is also updating the digital library's legacy cataloging system to reduce complexity and increase security.
The application is now closed.(The link for the application form appears in Section 6 below.
Please read through the overview before applying.)
Section 1: Who Can Apply?
Science or technology museums and children’s museums in the U.S.—both existing and emerging—are encouraged to apply. Other museums and similar non-profit organizations serving the public may be considered such as natural history museums, art museums, planetariums, zoos & aquariums, and gardens & nature centers. Organizations must have a website and the ability to share, or are currently sharing, hands-on STEM activities guides and supporting materials online.
- •Developing hands-on STEM activities, especially for specific at-home learners within communities in need.
- •Sharing PDF, videos, and other digital assets online to support educational programs.
- •Engaging at-home audiences with STEM programming during the last year.
Section 2: What will the new Howtosmile At-Home Activities Team do?
Ten selected applicants will form a rapid response team working together to add new STEM activities for howtosmile that specifically address at-home learners. The team will respond to, revise, and finalize a new set of characteristics that distinguish activities for at-home use. A preliminary framework is available at howtosmile.org/topics/athome. This process will be conducted over a short series of Zoom calls facilitated by the Lawrence Hall of Science. Next, the team will identify, digitize, or customize existing activities from their organization to add to the At-Home Activity Collection on howtosmile. Led by the Children’s Creativity Museum, team members will use finalized at-home characteristics to review candidate activities and revisions before cataloging approved resources.
Section 3: Requirements
- •All team members will participate in up to three 60-min Zoom calls to discuss the at-home framework, and up to six 30-min Zoom calls for catalog training and activity review.
- •Each team member is expected to add at least 20 approved activities to the At-Home Activity Collection from their organization. Organization must make these activities freely accessible on their website for a period of at least 2 years after the end of the project. Organizations will retain the copyright on all activities, howtosmile does not ingest or store activities.
- •Team members should be prepared to use Google Docs to comment & add to the at-home framework and suggest, review, and catalog candidate resources. An optional Slack channel may also be available for team coordination through a paid Children’s Creativity Museum account.
- •Team members may have to respond to a short survey at the end of the project.
Section 4: What activities can applicants consider for potential additions to the At-Home Activity Collection?
- •Does your organization use hands-on STEM activities with at-home learners that are not in a digital format or freely available online? Make PDFs and share online!
- •Does your organization have hands-on STEM activities online that could benefit from updated guides with added information or media (e.g. videos, new photos, additional caregiver tips, etc.) to better reach at-home learners? Update existing PDFs with photos, suggestions, or make a short video!
- •Does your organization have a popular set of how-to videos for hands-on STEM that do not currently have written guides? Add a PDF and share online!
- •Does your organization have hands-on STEM activities online that have been customized for specific at-home learners within communities in need? Suggest and share them!
Please Note: The howtosmile project team is currently cataloging many high-quality activities already shared on museum websites for at-home learners. Applications including plans for digitizing or revising activities that will bring new materials online will be favorably reviewed.
Section 5: Budget and Expenses
Selected applicants will receive a check for $3,000 to cover staff time, benefits, and other applicable costs directly related to implementing the project. Eligible expenses include staff time to participate in Zoom calls, collaborative review & cataloging work, activity digitization, activity revisions, and possibly activity development in special cases. Audio/visual costs including new photography and videography to update activities for at-home learners is also acceptable. Stipend should not be used to pay for indirect costs (overhead).
Section 6: Application Process
The application is accessible through a Google Form here:
A preview of the application can be downloaded in Word format from this dropbox link. It is highly suggested applicants complete the application in Word and copy and paste answers into the Google Form to prevent any loss of data. Please contact Darrell Porcello if you have any problems with the form or questions. The application will close on March 5, 2021.
Section 7: Selection Process
Applications will undergo a review process by the howtosmile project team, with additional input from NISE Network Regional Hub Leaders. Priority will be given to applications including STEM hands-on activities from organizations, styles, and content not already represented in howtosmile.org. Reviewers are also particularly interested in organizations serving specific at-home learners within communities in need.
February 5, 2021 - Applications open. March 5, 2021 - Application closes. March 19, 2021 - Applicants informed of award status. April 2021 - Selected applicants respond to, revise, and finalize at-home framework May - August 2021 - Selected applicants update, review, and catalog activities for the at-home activities collection.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under award CAGML-246996-OMLS-20. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IMLS.