New CADRE Toolkit Shares Effective Dissemination Strategies

Yen Thieu

Leana Nordstrom brings a diverse set of communications and project management skills to EDC's STEM education initiatives. Currently, she manages the CADRE (Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education) resource network that EDC leads for the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Discovery Research PreK-12 Program. In this role, she oversees the project’s social media outreach and other communications, contributes to the project’s website content, and manages the logistical aspects of CADRE’s work. As the communications lead for EDC’s Oceans of Data Institute (ODI), she disseminates the work of ODI’s portfolio of projects through newsletters, a website, blogs, press releases, and social media. In this post, Leana describes a user-friendly new toolkit that CADRE has developed to help researchers strategically disseminate their findings to support the field in improving STEM education. The toolkit also provides useful guidance for anyone who wants to communicate important messages to key target audiences. 

When the National Science Foundation funded CADRE in 2008, our EDC team was tasked with creating a strong, supportive network among DR K-12-funded researchers who are notoriously busy. We started by thinking about the impact we wanted to make as a network and worked backwards, grappling with questions such as, “What would be the best way to engage our principal investigators and project staff?,” “What topics are most compelling and useful to our audience?,” and “How could we best reach our audience?” In those first few years, we decided on CADRE's messaging and approach, built a new website, created a Facebook page, started tweeting, and began to develop products that we thought would be useful.

We learned a lot that year and subsequent years, and we're still learning! That was the idea behind CADRE’s new Dissemination Toolkit. We wanted to share some of the resources that we turned to when we were trying to figure out how to create a Facebook page and build an audience on Twitter. This toolkit grew from a few social media tips to feature a wide variety of rich resources on dissemination that we, or others, found useful. While the main audience of this toolkit is DR K-12-funded project members, we think this toolkit can help anyone trying to figure out dissemination—whether you are just starting out, an expert, looking for general info on how to share your work, or keen to learn about a specific tool.

The toolkit covers a variety of topics:

Project Communication Plans
Guiding questions to help you plan your approach and timeline for communicating about your project’s work.

Product-Driven Dissemination Strategy
The 12 Steps for a Product-Driven Dissemination Strategy can help you devise a plan for disseminating a product (a resource, activity, event, or even a milestone in your project) successfully.

A compilation of resources for making your products (websites, images, pdfs, docs, videos, ppts) and communications more accessible.

Tips for determining how well your website, Facebook page, tweets, video, or email is performing.

Audience & Messaging
Strategies for identifying your audience and crafting audience appropriate messaging.

Effective Presentations
Tips on speaking, designing slides, perfecting a project elevator speech, and formatting and designing a poster.

Media Interviews
Tips for making the most of an interview with the media.

Project Websites
Questions to think about when creating a project website plus tips for bringing visitors to your site.

Social Media Outreach
Resources on how to get started with different social media platforms, plus tips for more experienced social media users.

V­­ideo & Podcast Tips
Tips for creating and editing videos and podcasts.

Visualization Options
Tips for choosing the right visualization and how to create visualizations.

Webinar Tips
Free webinar options and best practices for a successful webinar.

Writing & Publishing
A compilation of advice from experts on publishing, blogging, peer reviewing, plagiarism and copyright infringement, and writing proposals, policy briefs, press releases, and white papers.

Technologies are always changing, and as we learn more through our work here at CADRE, we plan to update the toolkit. We welcome feedback and input!


Monday, March 13, 2017 - 8:45am