• informal science education;
  • learning;
  • sociocultural theories


Informal science education is a broad field of research marked by fuzzy boundaries, tensions, and muddles among many disciplines, making for an unclear future trajectory (or trajectories) for the field of study. In this commentary, I unpack some of the hidden dimensions, tensions and challenges the five articles raise or point to implicitly in terms of theory, methodology, and future research. I explore ideas to think with in terms of learning pathways or trajectories and time-space dimensions of science learning. I also explore future dimensions for partnerships, collaborations, boundary encounters and boundary objects. I conclude by raising issues pertaining to diversity, equity and the position of the research and researcher. Together, I call for attention to the subtle dimensions of ISE learning and development. I make the case for the legitimacy of yet marginalized theories in science education grounded in sociocultural theory and CHAT, social practice theory, and network theory. Most important, together with the authors, I make the case for a relational perspective of learning, identity and affect, as culturally and historically grounded. I suggest that these theories can be used to work through conceptions of partnerships that will help erase boundaries among cultures, practices, teaching and learning, constitutive of life-long, life-wide, and life-deep science learning, science teaching and science education, and that in the end, will be transformative. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 51: 395–406, 2014