Even with decades of investment in STEM education research, a gap remains between the topics that researchers choose to study and the needs and priorities of educators. Studies are often designed without the input of the educators and schools for which the results are intended, and the research is not applied in the field.
The Research + Practice (R+P) Collaboratory, a unique effort involving EDC and several partners, worked to ground research in the realities and day-to-day practices of educators. This work helped create a clearer vision of effective practice in STEM learning and teaching.
The R+P Collaboratory supported close collaboration between educators and researchers and used those partnerships to develop research projects that addressed local needs. Its activities included:
- Generating an array of research syntheses, briefs, tools, and multi-media resources to expand educators’ access to, and awareness of, current relevant research and practice in equitable STEM learning
- Offering opportunities for cross-sector meetings to foster engagement and cultural exchange between researchers and education practitioners
- Innovating, testing, and documenting new instructional resources and equity-oriented STEM learning strategies at adaptation sites in Maine, Washington state, and California
- Disseminating products and results through national research and practice professional associations and networks
- EDC built a multi-year research-practice partnership with a school district in Maine and co-developed strategies to improve equitable mathematics learning in low-income, early-elementary classrooms. The strategies have been scaled throughout Maine.
- The research-practice partnership between EDC and a Maine school district involved 30 educators. Professional learning activities later spread to 90 educators across the state, reaching 1,300 early elementary students in mathematics.
- The R+P Collaboratory’s primary website houses a wealth of resources on research-practice partnerships and STEM learning and teaching tools.
- The project led almost 30 workshops for researchers, education leaders, and teachers nationwide on building and maintaining research-practice partnerships and implementing STEM practices.
Exploratorium, University of Washington, University of Colorado-Boulder, Inverness Research Associates, SRI International