The Experiential Science Education Research Collaborative (XSci) at the University of Colorado Denver has established a museum educator/theater network of eight museums around the country, pairing larger with smaller institutions to create the Science Theater Education Programming System or STEPS.
The initial set of theater programs focus on astrobiology, along with a suite of training programs and communication formats for educators. The STEPS technology allows these programs to be delivered both on site and via outreach, depending on the goals of each organization. An in-depth research component examined the impact of the project’s designed community of practice structure utilizing team leadership theory in terms of professional identity construction for participating informal educators. STEPS deliverables include:
- Formation of the museum partnership network
- Creation of STEPS system and programs
- Professional development tutorials and workshops
- Program evaluation and research products
STEPS Show Components Include:
The STEPS project brought together a network of informal science educators and contractors to create an interactive museum theater authoring and presentation system to increase educational capacity for small and large museums across the country.
The software package includes an authoring tool for the creation of multimedia science theater productions; a presentation player for displaying the shows to audiences in museum theaters, planetariums, and in outreach facilities; a web-based tutorial for the astrobiology content and STEPS software; and three pre-packaged shows varying in length and dramatic effects to showcase the potential uses of STEPS for informal science learners ages 7-12.
The professional development of the of informal science educators in the network was the primary goal of the project with all other tangible deliverables stemming from that collaborative effort.
To download STEPS please click the Download link on the left hand side of this page. You will be able to download all software as well as all 3 show components and teacher guides.