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Climate Change Education in Informal Settings: Using Boundary Objects to Frame Network Dissemination

Steiner, Mary Ann (2016) Climate Change Education in Informal Settings: Using Boundary Objects to Frame Network Dissemination. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study of climate change education dissemination takes place in the context of a larger project where institutions in four cities worked together to develop a linked set of informal learning experiences about climate change. Each city developed an organizational network to explore new ways to connect urban audiences with climate change education. The four city-specific networks shared tools, resources, and knowledge with each other. The networks were related in mission and goals, but were structured and functioned differently depending on the city context. This study illustrates how the tools, resources, and knowledge developed in one network were shared with networks in two additional cities. Boundary crossing theory frames the study to describe the role of objects and processes in sharing between networks. Findings suggest that the goals, capacity and composition of networks resulted in a different emphasis in dissemination efforts, in one case to push the approach out to partners for their own work and in the other to pull partners into a more collaborative stance. Learning experiences developed in each city as a result of the dissemination reflected these differences in the city-specific emphasis with the push city diving into messy examples of the approach to make their own examples, and the pull city offering polished experiences to partners in order to build confidence in the climate change messaging. The networks themselves underwent different kinds of growth and change as a result of dissemination. The emphasis on push and use of messy examples resulted in active use of the principles of the approach and the pull emphasis with polished examples resulted in the cultivation of partnerships with the hub and the potential to engage in the educational approach. These findings have implications for boundary object theory as a useful grounding for dissemination designs in the context of networks of informal learning organizations to support a shift in communication approach, particularly when developing interventions for wicked socio-scientific issues such as climate change.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Steiner, Mary Annmhs19@pitt.edumhs19
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCrowley, Kevincrowleyk@pitt.educrowleyk
Committee MemberRussell, Jenniferjrussel@pitt.edujrussel
Committee MemberStein, Mary Kaymkstein@pitt.edumkstein
Committee ChairTonsor,
Date: 20 December 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 September 2016
Approval Date: 20 December 2016
Submission Date: 15 December 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 157
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Learning Sciences and Policy
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Boundary object, networked learning, climate change education
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2016 19:20
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2016 06:15


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