A Place for Informal Educators

We’re so glad you’re here!


The Podcast

Every week, I talk with an informal science educator from around the world – coaches, museum educators, guides, naturalists, music teachers, and more.

The Blog

I blog about our podcast guests, topics in informal education, educator jargon, and a whole lot more!

Get Involved!

Are you an informal science educator? Get in touch – I would love to talk with you for a future episode of the podcast! Sign up for the newsletter to let you know when new episodes are out. Or follow the podcast with your favorite podcast app. Got more questions?

What's Latest

Affective Engagement

No, it’s not a typo for effective. Affective means something like able to affect, or touch, the soul. Some use it as a synonym for emotional or attitudinal. An affective experience can change your mood or make you have a deep feeling about a topic. Here’s what research shows us: Learners engage with topics in (at least) three different ways: behaviorally, cognitively, and, affectively. Behavioral engagement characterizes what you are doing as you are learning.

A pastel art rendering of many aquarium visitors marveling at sharks in an enormous tank.
Authentic, Emotional Experiences: Educator Lacie Ownbey

On this week’s podcast I talk with marine scientist and educator Lacie Ownbey of the Indianapolis Zoo. We talk mostly about a specific kind of learner engagement: one that is authentic – related to real-life science concepts. Engaging with content directly gives students, especially young ones, an emotional – or affective – connection with the material. You, because you’re a lava monster. Made by me. I’ve been a little obsessed with DALL-E… Affective Engagement Incidentally, affective engagement is my jargon word of the week – check out the jargon blog post for what this word can mean for you and your teaching.

A smiling teacher.

Check it Out!

From Physical Response to Visitor Engagement

This week, I talk with Jim DePompei of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in Los Angeles. This storied facility was founded over 75 years ago, so generations of locals have experienced its tanks and displays. What most (including me) remember, though, is the grunion dance. Grunion in the sand Grunion! Back in the 1950s, one of the early aquarium directors named John Olguin started a program of teaching about grunion. Grunion are silversides – small fish in the smelt family – and pretty unremarkable except for this one thing: they dance.

Jim DePompei, Program Director

A Community of Practice

We want to create a community of practice for informal educators: people who teach outside a traditional classroom.