Addressing the challenge of climate change requires an informed citizenry that can reason with data, examine new information, and recognize the ways in which global systems contribute to local ecosystem changes. Connected learning ecosystems (CLEs) can help address this challenge—especially in rural, tribal, and immigrant communities—by building partnerships that include classroom teachers and educators from informal settings. Yet it’s important to understand if and how CLEs reach their goals.

EDC is conducting an evaluation of the NASA-funded Real World Real Science (RWRS) 2.0 project, which builds on our previous RWRS work. Led by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), RWRS 2.0 brings together science and technology centers (STCs), librarians, teachers, afterschool providers, and tribal and community organizations to build CLEs and learning experiences for youth that include authentic scientific data sets and cultural and historical knowledge.

Key Activities

EDC is carrying out the following activities:

  • Create an STC community of practice (CoP) to expand data- and climate-focused programming in STCs and enable the development of CLEs across the Northeast United States
  • Develop regional CLEs across Maine and the Northeast to expand data- and climate-focused programming for youth
  • Evaluate the development of CLEs and the STC CoP
  • Develop case studies to explore the development of CLEs and how educators support youth learning about data and local climate impacts
  • Document and describe the outcomes related to supporting educators and building and connecting youth experiences across Maine and the Northeast United States


  • Provide insight into the development of CLEs, including variations in partners and their roles and the ways in which local knowledge shapes CLE activities
  • Advance knowledge of the influence of CLEs on educators’ confidence in engaging youth with climate-related data and the opportunities that emerge for youth to engage with data-rich climate stories  

Learn More


Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Bodies of Work