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Filter by keyword: Informal learning

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Mar 25, 2024 Essay
Broadening adult engagement and education in science cafés: lessons from an STS — science communication boundary spanning experiment

by Karen A. Rader and CJ Gibbs

This essay describes and reflects on a collaboration between a university Science & Technology Studies (STS) educator and a community science café organizer. Our partnership was designed to address two challenges: how to encourage diversity and inclusion in science café audiences and how to create assessments for broader ‘science in society’ content delivered to adult café learners. We used focus groups to develop STS learning constructs and do community engagement needs assessments. We describe the resultant café series development and other outcomes of our cross-domain work in STS, science communication, and science education. We conclude with observations about the power of collaborative storytelling and make general recommendations for how practitioners and scholars can address the described challenges in ways that might ease future collaborations.

Volume 23 • Issue 02 • 2024 • Special Issue: Connecting science communication research and practice: challenges and ways forward

Mar 25, 2024 Practice Insight
Exhibition research and practice at CERN: challenges and learnings of science communication `in the making'

by Daria Dvorzhitskaia, Annabella Zamora, Emma Sanders, Patricia Verheyden and Jimmy Clerc

This practice insight paper presents a reflection on a four-year collaboration between science communication practitioners and researchers, using CERN's new education and outreach centre as a case study. The development of interactive exhibitions for this centre was informed by a variety of front-end and formative evaluation studies, from online surveys to exhibit prototype testing. As a multidisciplinary team of exhibition developers and social science researchers, we describe and discuss the challenges of — as well as learnings from — working together. Our experience will be relevant for everyone curious to discover `behind-the-scenes' work of research-informed exhibition development in a large scientific laboratory.

Volume 23 • Issue 02 • 2024 • Special Issue: Connecting science communication research and practice: challenges and ways forward

Dec 04, 2023 Article
Emotional responses from families visiting the zoo: a study at Parque das Aves in Foz do Iguaçu

by Graziele Scalfi, Luisa Massarani, Waneicy Gonçalves, Adriana Aparecida Andrade Chagas and Alessandra Bizerra

In this study, we aim to analyse human emotional responses towards animals, specifically birds, in the context of a visit to a zoo. The study was carried out with seven families in Parque das Aves. The visits were recorded using the point-of-view-camera method, and the data was analysed using qualitative software to identify emotion descriptors. The findings from our study reveal that the physical characteristics of birds, such as their patterns and colours, as well as their behaviours and abilities, triggered emotional responses that were associated with admiration for the species, concern for their well-being and awareness of conservation issues, enabling these families to construct meaning.

Volume 22 • Issue 05 • 2023

Nov 22, 2023 Practice Insight
The value of public science events: insights from three years of communicating climate change research

by Ruth A. O'Connor, Tara Roberson, Clare de Castella and Zoe Leviston

Public science events are valued primarily as sites of individual learning. We explored the individual and collective value of university-based science events discussing climate change and motivations to attend. While events were most commonly valued as opportunities for learning, their social context created collective value associated with the physical gathering of like-minded people. Participants despairing at inaction on climate change were given agency through learning, participation, interpersonal discussions and normalising new behaviours. Post-event interpersonal discussions increase the reach of events beyond “the choir”. These discussions increase the diversity of messengers, creating opportunities for new framings and understandings of climate change.

Volume 22 • Issue 05 • 2023

Sep 18, 2023 Practice Insight
How to save the world with zombies? — A scientainment approach to engage young people

by Petra Bättig-Frey, Mirjam West, Rahel Skelton and Verena Berger

When trying to sensitize adolescents for sustainability, innovative communication approaches are needed. In the outdoor escape “Zombie mission”, players follow a story and try to save the world by solving puzzles about sustainability topics with scientific information found in the university gardens. This study investigates to whom this scientainment approach appeals and whether it can impart knowledge and raise interest in science and the environment. A mixed methods approach was adopted using questionnaires and interviews. The results suggest that the game is a promising tool for communicating sustainability to adolescents, even those who may not have had prior interest in the environment or science. Participants enjoyed the activity and gained new knowledge as a result.

Volume 22 • Issue 05 • 2023

Oct 31, 2022 Article
Imagining the Sun: using comparative judgement to assess the impact of cross-curricular solar physics workshops

by Carol Davenport and Richard Morton

This paper describes a school intervention focused on visual art and solar physics using science capital and STEAM methodologies to develop STEM engagement activities. Data from 40 children (aged 8–11) in two primary schools in the North East of England are presented, using pre- and post-intervention surveys which contained free-response and likert-scale questions. The paper presents a novel, and transferable, method of evaluating children’s drawings using online comparative judgement marking software, particularly suited to those without a background in qualitative research. Using comparative judgement this paper shows that the intervention led to a moderate increase in girls’ knowledge of solar physics.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Oct 10, 2022 Conference Review
“Be the change” — how Cheltenham Science Festival used a central theme to centre social change within the festival

by Gary Kerr, Emma Whittle and Marieke Navin

“Be the change” (BTC) was the theme for Cheltenham Science Festival. BTC set out to empower audiences as individuals and as a collective to enact positive change across a wide range of global issues linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We examine the role of theming within festivals and analyse how BTC centred social change within the science festival. We conclude by noting that science festivals do not have to have science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) themes, but can instead be themed around global social issues.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Apr 26, 2022 Article
“Easy to join in your pyjamas”: benefits and barriers of online science engagement at Australia's 2020 National Science Week

by Olivia F. McRae, Ellie Downing, Alice Motion, Chiara O'Reilly and Reyne Pullen

In 2020, National Science Week events shifted online in response to Australian COVID-19 restrictions. Our research captures this rapid pivot from in-person to online science events, exploring experiences through audience and presenter questionnaires, and follow-up interviews. We examine characteristics of audiences for online science events, benefits and barriers of these events, and opportunities for online engagement. Key benefits were ease of attendance, new experiences enabled online, and greater control and flexibility. Lack of social interaction, technology issues, and audience reliability were identified as barriers. Our research suggests online events operate in a different sphere to in-person events and informs the delivery of engaging online experiences.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022

Mar 28, 2022 Essay
Turning the tide: crafting a collective narrative of the ocean through participatory media

by Gianna Savoie

Participatory media has the ability to engage people in stories of science in ways that are personal, profound and culturally relevant. This essay launches from my experience as a scientist-turned-filmmaker and my establishment of the Ocean Media Institute, a global media collective that serves as a participatory platform for the communication of ocean science. Through collaboration and innovation, we as science storytellers have the ability to shape narratives that are factual, evidence-based and embrace greater inclusivity. Only when we invite diverse perspectives that draw from all ways of knowing, will we be able to provoke deeper dialogue and ignite change.

Volume 21 • Issue 02 • 2022 • Special Issue Participatory science communication for transformation (PCST2020+1)

Mar 28, 2022 Essay
The Group Provisory Conclusion, a powerful tool for science debut

by Marima Hvass-Faivre d'Arcier

This article will take you through the evolution of our approach in presenting and communicating science. For twenty years ‘1, 2, 3, sciences’ has run participatory live workshops for adults. A special tool, the Group Provisory Conclusion or GPC, involving each participant, contributes to the success. Our expectation was to rekindle the public’s interest through participatory methods, supported by the emergence of collective intelligence. It describes our actions to help people reduce their apprehension towards science.

Volume 21 • Issue 02 • 2022 • Special Issue Participatory science communication for transformation (PCST2020+1)