Community of Practice
In September 2015, the STEM Funders Network announced their selection of 27 communities to pilot the national STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative. In May 2016, the STEM Funders Network announced the addition of ten ecosystem communities to join the national STEM Ecosystems Initiative followed by another 17 in 2017. In 2018, 2019 and 2020, we continued to grow and the Community of Practice is now to 94 communities around the globe.
This Initiative, built on over a decade of research into successful STEM collaborations, seeks to nurture and scale effective STEM learning opportunities for all young people. The selected sites from across the United States – and around the globe – have demonstrated cross-sector collaborations to deliver rigorous, effective preK-16 instruction in STEM learning.
What is a Community of Practice?
A community of practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.
The theoretical community of practice framework is based on the work of Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner. Seven principles outlined by Wenger-Trayner guide the cultivation of the STEM Learning Ecosystem.
- Design for Evolution
- Open a dialogue between inside and outside perspectives
- Invite different levels of participation
- Develop both public and private community spaces
- Focus on value
- Combine familiar and excitement
- Create a rhythm for the community.
 Wenger, E., McDermott, R. and Snyder, W. M. (2002). Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.