Universe in a Box: Co-operative Model


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There are several entities, individuals and organizations creating new resources in astronomy education. But these are scattered and and not created for a global audience. Also, when creating resources, educators tend to develop from scratch for many reasons: ownership, quality expectations, cultural adaptation, and I-know-best syndrome. In this talk, we present and discuss the creation of a “Cooperative” as a model for the co-development, production, and distribution of astronomy educational resources. We use the Universe in a Box project as a case study.

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  • Jaya RamchandaniProject Manager of Universe in a Box ProjectHere to talk about why a collaborative model is a good idea for educational resources in astronomy for global outreach
  • What is the problem we are trying to solve?Many good resources out there around the world with educational goals common to other curriculaNo way to find them – not online, (if online) not search-engine friendly, restricted to small networksSimply not created with a global audience in mind as they were created to solve a local problemLanguage barrier Not documented enough to be sharedNot in “reproducible” formatsRequire quality tweeks (educational aspects, scientific aspects)Educators tend to develop from scratch: ownership, quality expectations, cultural adaptation, I-know-best syndrome
  • Universe in a Box is a good case study
  • 2009: House of Astronomy created “MINT Box: An astronomy adventure for elementary school students”In German, used in about 20 schools in Germany(169 Euro for materials and assembly)
  • 2011: EU-UNAWE identified it as great “global” resourceWhat are the characteristics of a global product?
  • March 2013: 50 prototypes made by Curion Education (India) and sent to 31 countries. Feedback sought. Changes madeFor example, the planets were to scale, but not the sun. So we added a 1000-cm inflatable ball.
  • As you can imagine shipping a 6 kg box around can be quite expensive.So the idea is to go for a regional model both for localization and more reasonable production costs.
  • Example of Edward Gomez receiving a 90,000 EURO grant from the municipality of Wales to distribute 100 Universe in a Box kits to schools in Wales, along with teacher training on how to use the boxes.
  • Future: National / Regional versions: Localization, Production, Distribution. Local funding for each part of the process.Licence sought for commercial attribution as this is a creative commons non-commercial product.
  • Coming together of an open-innovation modelRole of EU UNAWEIdentifies resource to suit global need Fund the prototyping to make it “glocal-ready”Ensure quality of Educational and Scientific goalsIdentify the right project partners Version 2.0Advice / assistance on funding, and production and distribution
  • Industry has many open source and collaborative models to learn from:Software Industry: Agile Software Development Space Industry: ESA’s Concurrent Design What would have happened if EU-UNAWE did not adopt this approach:Co-develop: It would be limited to German-speaking regions. Different form of handbook. Improvements not made/Co-produce and distribute: It would be limited to the international office raising funds for distributing. Local versions would not be possible: India, Colombia, Brazil, Philippines, Indonesia Co-funding: MINT Box grant, EU-UNAWE grant, local production fundraising.Would require large amounts of money for one entity to do the whole process. If the entity is a non-profit, even more difficult by guidelines to sustain.Co-brand: Partners may feel unacknowledged
  • Maybe a new type of organization or a model for current organizations?With this I end this presentation and the next few slides contain practical information.
  • Many of you here already have established networks.And different partners are suitable for different issues, but if could spread the word, it would be great.
  • Universe in a Box: Co-operative Model

    1. 1. A Collaborative Model for Astronomy Educational Resources for Global Outreach Case Study in Progress – Universe in a Box Jaya Ramchandani, Pedro Russo, Cecilia Scorza, Natalie Fischer, Erik Arends and Charlotte Provot on behalf of EU-UNAWE’s Universe in a Box team
    2. 2. The Situation Many good resources out there Hard to find Not created for a global audience Language restriction Not documented enough to be shared Not in “reproducible” formats Require quality tweeks Educators tend to develop from scratch
    3. 3. Case Study www.unawe.org/universebox
    4. 4. Universe in a Box is an educational kit to assist teachers and educators in bringing astronomy and space sciences to 4-10 year old children around the world.
    5. 5. Features Inquiry-based learning principles Carefully selected topics, modular format Materials low cost and easy to reproduce/replace Comprehensive activity book in folder format Easy to use by any type of educator
    6. 6. 2009 MINT-Box Abenteuer Astronomie Eine Reise durch das Weltall für Grundschüler
    7. 7. 2011 Identified A global product is one that is standardized to an extent to gain economies of scale and scope but localized to meet local requirements.
    8. 8. 2012 “Glocalization” Establishing need/demand by determining if the educational content matches with curricula in most countries Redefining activity book and materials in a format that is easy to localise and reproduce Developing a production and distribution model to reach Universe in a Box to UNAWE’s network of 56 countries.
    9. 9. 2013 Q1-Q3: Prototyping 50 prototypes distributed in March 2013 to 31 Countries from UNAWE Network Algeria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Mozambique, Northern Ireland, Philippines, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, The Netherlands, UK, USA Positive first impressions Feedback and changes Improvement to educational models Improvements to production quality Improvements to packaging
    10. 10. v Colombia Colombia
    11. 11. v Bulgaria
    12. 12. v India
    13. 13. v United Kingdom
    14. 14. 2013 Q4: First Large Scale Production 1000 boxes commissioned (Curion Education Pvt. Ltd., India) – English version Two-pronged distribution model: Free Distribution (60%) + Sale (40% for sustainability) Sale price only includes production and shipping costs of the box Buy one, Donate one: €128 (two boxes + shipping) Buy more than five: €75 (one box + shipping)
    15. 15. v United Kingdom Edward
    16. 16. 2009 2011 2012 2013 Future Regional versions: Localisation, Production, Distribution
    17. 17. The Big Picture e.g., India Partner Creates resource Uses locally Identifies resource Localisation “Glocal-ready” Production Prototyping Distribution Ensure quality Free distribution Identify project partners For sale Version 2.0 Advice on funding
    18. 18. Manifesto We are uncovering new ways of developing and distributing educational resources for global outreach. Through this work we have come to value: Co-development (multiple partners) over single organization Co-production and distribution (with local partners ) over top-down Co-funding (with smaller amounts) over large capital requirement Co-branding (multiple logos) over one large brand Co-profiting (each partner benefits) Co-ownership (everyone is responsible) over licensing / franchising Adapted from: Manifesto for Agile Software Development
    19. 19. Benefits Sharing of good resources Quality through review network for educational + scientific input Acknowledgement of your work towards the common goal Compensation for your time and energy Large reach in a short(er) amount of time Meeting a common goal
    20. 20. What’s Next: Discussion International Coordination Office: Set up as a cooperative (for sustainability) with stakeholders with the same goal Cooperative members “buy in” and fund / offer expertise and time to projects Project-based approach for resource development Multiple partners for projects (for development, localisation, production, distribution)
    21. 21. How to Order www.unawe.org/buyuniversebox DISCOUNT CODE “CAP2013”
    22. 22. How to Order www.unawe.org/buyuniversebox
    23. 23. Regional Versions www.unawe.org/universebox We are looking for Universe in a Box partners • Demand forecasting for country / region • Promotion and fundraising • Localisation (language, hemisphere, culture, context) • Vendor management (production, distribution, sales) • Coordination with UNAWE IO We are also looking for funds for the coordination activities for the regional versions and possible seed funding for prototypes in other countries
    24. 24. Contact Jaya Ramchandani Project Manager, Universe in a Box jayar@strw.leidenuniv.nl Pedro Russo International Project Manager, EU-UNAWE russo@strw.leidenuniv.nl Design Credit Charlotte Provot provot@strw.leudenuniv.nl