The National Girls Collaborative Project: Maximizing Access to Shared Resources

Organization Name
EdLab Group (previously known as Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology)
Mission Statement

Our mission is to leverage the power of technology and diversity to transform teaching and learning.

City & State
Question 1
The Before: What was the challenge, issue or problem your organization was facing? Or, what was the opportunity you were not able to take advantage of before you put a technology solution in place?

Answer: In 2002, the EdLab Group, led by Karen Peterson, implemented the Northwest Girls Collaborative Project (NWGCP) in Washington and Oregon with funding from the National Science Foundation. The primary goals were: 1) to identify leaders of existing organizations which involve and encourage girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related activities and careers, and 2) to provide opportunities and incentives for collaboration. The success of the NWGCP led Karen Peterson to expand and ultimately create the National Girls Collaborative Project in 2004. The project staff was challenged to replicate sites throughout the nation created a need for a secure, online collaboration system. This system needed to provide a location to gather documentation to show our impact on a national scale including: photos, artifacts from events, and a place for Regional Leadership teams to share documents with each other.

Question 2
What Microsoft software have you used/are you using in your organization to more effectively engage your beneficiaries, donors and/or volunteers and/or to make a difference in your community?

Answer: Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010 (Includes any of the following: Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, OneNote, Outlook, and Word)
Other: Visio, Project

Question 3
The After: How have these Microsoft products allowed you to engage your stakeholders more efficiently or effectively to make a difference in your community?

Answer: EdLab Group’s National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) implements a collaborative model of networking girl-serving STEM programs to maximize access to shared resources, strengthen the capacity of organizations by sharing research-based practices, and use the reach and structure of a national network to affect gender equity in STEM. The NGCP uses an extensive SharePoint site to allow Regional Collaboratives to replicate the model. The SharePoint site includes a broad array of templates and materials for planning, such as: professional development forums, press releases, agendas, evaluation forms, speed networking instructions, and an annual conference announcement. Our SharePoint site allows Regional Collaboratives to share best practices and reduce duplication of work.

Question 4
What about these products (the features or the way you used them) made them particularly helpful in enabling your organization to expand and improve upon its community impact?

Answer: Since 2002, when the NGCP began as a two-state project, the model has expanded to 19 collaboratives, serving 28 states. The NGCP has facilitated collaboration between 8,800 organizations. Over 200 senior professionals serve as Champions, helping promote and develop the network as a national leader in shaping communities of practice around informal STEM education for girls. Senior staff also uses a private SharePoint site to manage the project. SharePoint allows the NGCP to create users with different levels of access. This has facilitated the ability to share promising practices with other NSF funded projects by allowing limited access to our site. The replication and impact on the field would not have been possible without an online collaboration tool like SharePoint.

Question 5
Please provide any examples, stories or data that illustrate the difference the use of Microsoft software has enabled you to make (i.e., # of new clients reached, new program added, increased dollars raised, increased volunteers, etc.

Answer: We estimate 2,832,760 girls are served indirectly by NGCP by having their leaders (parents, volunteers, and non-profit staff) trained in the philosophy, knowledge, and methods of NGCP and participating in the incentives to improve their programs and collaborate. As an umbrella organization, the NGCP is now being used as a national dissemination outlet for STEM resources, activities and projects, given our broad reach and access. We are confident that without Microsoft’s SharePoint site, Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer the NGCP would not be a national leader in girl-serving STEM initiatives.

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