INFORMAL EARTH SYSTEM EDUCATION AT A CROSSROADS
Ideally, progress in informal Earth system education would involve collaborations among researchers and practitioners in the broad variety of fields that encompass education and science. This may include, e.g., individuals in the fields of psychology and development, cognition and learning, graphic and industrial design, educational technology, and pedagogy associated with specific areas of Earth system science education. The NSF Informal Science Education program solicitation explicitly emphasizes "synergies generated by the competencies of carefully chosen partners.
Effective approaches to informal Earth system science education, once developed and tested by organizations with the resources to build interdisciplinary teams, needs to be made more widely available for all to use. This dissemination may include broad distribution of deliverables themselves, or of descriptions of models, methods, evaluations, and research. Since current disciplinary boundaries tend to prevent gatherings of individuals of diverse expertise at professional meetings, efforts need to be made to invent means for greater cross-disciplinary communication. More active use of DLESE by the informal education community is one promising solution.