STELAR Center Launches

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected EDC to continue its role as the resource center for the ITEST (Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers) program.  The new resource center—STEM Learning and Research Center (STELAR)— represents a partnership between EDC and the EdLab Group, which brings a wealth of expertise in outreach and broadening participation to STELAR.  Our technical support work will be largely focused on program monitoring and assisting ITEST PIs and evaluators to design, refine, and evaluate projects and to effectively synthesize and disseminate project findings.

The mission of STELAR is to build capacity and magnify the results of ITEST projects to deepen the impact of the ITEST program. To do so, we will focus on three core areas:

    1. Technical support that facilitates ITEST projects’ success in developing and articulating innovative models for STEM learning environments
      1. Synthesis and dissemination of ITEST projects’ findings nationally in order to inform and influence a national community of other stakeholders
        1. Outreach efforts to broaden participation in the ITEST community to individuals from organizations and communities not currently represented in the ITEST portfolio

In its nine-year tenure (2003–2012) leading the previous ITEST resource center, EDC provided highly regarded technical support to 195 ITEST projects nationwide, shared key ITEST findings through online and print products and events, and established a vibrant ITEST Community of Practice. From 2013 to 2016, EDC will continue the successful work of the previous resource center and, in collaboration with EdLab Group—an educational equity nonprofit—will draw upon social media to enhance STELAR’s technical support, dissemination, and outreach.

Principal Investigator Sarita Pillai, with co-PIs Caroline Parker of EDC and Karen A. Peterson (Chief Executive Officer of EdLab Group), will head up STELAR. Pillai said, “We are honored that the NSF has once again chosen us to advance the goals of the ITEST program and support ITEST projects’ important work.” She noted that STELAR will have a new focus on connecting with audiences that are not currently aware of ITEST. “With EdLab Group,” she said, “we plan to deepen the impact and reach of the ITEST program by broadening participation to areas and institutions not currently represented in the ITEST portfolio.”