SCC 2014 - How informal science education can better inform STEM education

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Despite considerable agreement that engaging science communication can stimulate interest in formal STEM study and careers; only relatively few providers report these outcomes. Given that insufficient young people are choosing to study STEM subjects and that the profile of those who do pursue STEM careers is too narrow, we are challenging three very different providers of informal science communication to measure the impact of their work. To do this our speakers will consider how science communicators can build sustainable business models that successfully balance impact and values against the need for funding and we will question if the sector is hampered by a perception that the only credible communicators of science are active researchers.

Facilitator: Tim Slingsby (British Council) Speakers: Wendy Sadler (science made simple), Jonathan Longfellow (Mad Science East Midlands), Eduardo Sáenz de Cabezón (The Big Van Theory)

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  • Customer – you do what the teachers want, or parents want – which should result in repeat bookings, and serves a purpose in helping support teachers and the curriculum – but might alienate the same parts of the audience that formal schooling does, or be as dull as the curriculum can be, or not be innovative, staff get bored of delivering same old stuff and leave, you have no spark and no money…..FAIL
    Sponsor/funder led – you stick to your guns on using all your experience to develop a bloody good inspiring piece of science performance, linking to contemporary research, working with researchers – better still it is funded by a research council so is free to schools, really exciting project work to stimulate staff and push boundaries – BUT schools don’t want it – you race around ringing the same schools who take anything you offer them who are already brilliant at STEM and you make little difference as all the audiences were already in love with STEM….FAIL
    Money led – You work with funders who are supporting or sponsoring this kind of thing. The messages they want you to get out might not be what either teachers OR students want and certainly aren’t focused on holistic ‘joy of STEM’ kind of approach – they want bums on seats (via University recruitment, or Industrial careers) and that’s all that matters – the external evaluation suggests your approach might be a bit PR or preach-ey, so the funder decides on another approach – suddenly 50% of your work is gone for next year and you haven’t built up a strong enough customer base to keep on all your staff – redundancies…..FAIL
    None of these is the right answer, you have to find a mix that works in your situation.
  • 3 schools/day with 200 kids /school = 600 kids/day x 180 days x 8 locations
    We have grown every year for the last 8 years
  • 3 schools/day with 200 kids /school = 600 kids/day x 180 days x 8 locations
    We have grown every year for the last 8 years
  • 3 schools/day with 200 kids /school = 600 kids/day x 180 days x 8 locations
    We have grown every year for the last 8 years
  • 3 schools/day with 200 kids /school = 600 kids/day x 180 days x 8 locations
    We have grown every year for the last 8 years
  • 3 schools/day with 200 kids /school = 600 kids/day x 180 days x 8 locations
    We have grown every year for the last 8 years
  • 3 schools/day with 200 kids /school = 600 kids/day x 180 days x 8 locations
    We have grown every year for the last 8 years
  • 3 schools/day with 200 kids /school = 600 kids/day x 180 days x 8 locations
    We have grown every year for the last 8 years
  • 3 schools/day with 200 kids /school = 600 kids/day x 180 days x 8 locations
    We have grown every year for the last 8 years
  • 3 schools/day with 200 kids /school = 600 kids/day x 180 days x 8 locations
    We have grown every year for the last 8 years
  • 3 schools/day with 200 kids /school = 600 kids/day x 180 days x 8 locations
    We have grown every year for the last 8 years
  • 3 schools/day with 200 kids /school = 600 kids/day x 180 days x 8 locations
    We have grown every year for the last 8 years
  • SCC 2014 - How informal science education can better inform STEM education

    1. 1. How Informal Science Education Can Better Inform STEM Education Wendy Sadler Jonathan Longfellow Eduardo de Cabezón Facilitator: Tim Slingsby #SciComm14Edu #SciComm14
    2. 2. Uk’s largest independent science outreach company (est. 2002) 13 staff across four regions of the UK – 26 countries Reaching 70,000 each year – 500,000 since we began An award winning* social enterprise – and limited company *Royal Academy Engineering Medal for the promotion of Engineering *EU Descartes Prize Innovation in Science Communication *and some others…. who are we? @scimadesimple
    3. 3. science made simple is working towards a wo which STEM subjects are perceived as culturally and enriching activities which can be shared vi
    4. 4. to inspireinspire the next generation of scientists and engineers to engageengage a wider public with STEM as part of popular culture to translatetranslate STEM research for the public our mission @scimadesimple
    5. 5. do we evaluate…? of all SMS audiences are asked@scimadesimple 3%
    6. 6. @scimadesimple
    7. 7. “Engineering I thought was to do with machines and I thought it would be a boring job, but now I think I might be one.” 10 year old girl @scimadesimple
    8. 8. Who is the customer? balancing our business model @scimadesimple
    9. 9. UK
    10. 10. What we are…. • 7 owners dedicated science communicators from varied backgrounds…. • Moral backbone / social good • Operating since 2006
    11. 11. What we are….
    12. 12. What we are…. • 320000 children in 2013 • 62 full time employees • 305 part time • Consistent growth
    13. 13. What we are…. • focused on getting children interested and inspired by science – ‘the world around them’
    14. 14. What we are…. • positive role models for children in schools • trying to positively affect all children’s lives
    15. 15. What we are…. • interested and investing heavily in the long term • repeat business is everything – we tend not to suffer from legacy issues • continually evolving developing new ideas linked to contemporary science themes
    16. 16. How do we do it …. • driven by customer needs and dependent on their satisfaction • Continuous monitoring of customer feedback • Feedback drives change or assures we are on track
    17. 17. Who are our customers? • Parents 70% • Great thing about our product is that it is win:win • Schools • Businesses • Councils/Government • We don’t exist because of grants – though we do like them
    18. 18. What is our product? •Focused on training, development and assessment of our team of presenters •We are a training company •Deliver an effect
    19. 19. What we are…. • Predominantly children <14 Science Education in Europe: Critical Reflections A Report to the Nuffield Foundation Jonathan Osborne Justin Dillon King’s College London 2008
    20. 20. Of vital importance •FUN
    21. 21. @TheBigVanTheoy @edusadci www.thebigvantheory.co m
    22. 22. WHO ARE WE?
    23. 23. WHAT DO WE DO?
    24. 24. WHO IS OUR AUDIENCE?
    25. 25. WHO PAYS US?
    26. 26. ARE WE SUSTAINABLE?
    27. 27. WHAT IS OUR GOAL?
    28. 28. ARE WE SUCCESSFUL?
    29. 29. OTHER PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES
    30. 30. @TheBigVanTheory @edusadeci www.thebigvantheory.com

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