Science centers, children’s museums, Boys and Girls Clubs, community centers, even libraries, have been shut down because of COVID-19. The many programs that serve youth afterschool or during the summer have been unavailable while some organizations have shifted to virtual programs.  These organizations, known collectively as informal education, offer learning experiences outside of school, and they have provided important and innovative alternatives to formal education.  Experiential, hands-on learning occurs more often in informal learning environments than in formal education. The practices of informal learning have helped to shape how formal education thinks about making and makerspaces.  

As schools consider strategies for re-opening, and virtual learning seems the likely option, what role can informal education play in and out of school?  What are these organizations doing and  planning to do for virtual learning experiences? How do we help parents and children who may not be returning to school in the Fall?

Recorded on Thursday July 16


  • Joel Gordon, Making & Tinkering Manager, Scott Family Amazeum, Bentonville, AK
  • Sherry Marshall, President, Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Curt Gabrielson, author of Tinkering and More Tinkering, Greenfield Community Science Workshop, Greenfield CA
  • Sonia Bueno, New York Hall of Science, Manager of NYSCI Neighbors Community Programs. Queens, NY
  • Samantha Tumolo, New York Hall of Science, Maker Space Coordinator, Queens, NY
  • Katie Koffler, Associate Director of Art and Making, Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, Pittsburgh PA
  • Ram Mosher, Senior Maker Educator, KID Museum, Bethesda MD