We here at Gallomanor Towers are very excited about our next venture – "I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here!" It’s, errm, a bit like "I’m a Councillor, Get me out of Here!", only with scientists.
As you may or may not know, my background is in science communication – I used to make science documentaries, worked for the Science Museum for a bit, that kind of thing. These days, the world of science communication has realised (just like the world of democracy) that communication is a two-way process, and you have to give people a say and engage in dialogue. And of course, what better way to do that than with our tried and tested youth engagement tool?
So the lovely people at the Wellcome Trust People Awards scheme have decided to give us a big grant to develop a version of "I’m a Councillor" for scientists. Young people will take part in science classes at school. The curriculum now (especially for GCSE) has a much bigger emphasis on ‘How Science Works’ – getting across that science is about questions, doubt and investigation and not just facts, the limitations of scientific knowledge and also to consider social and ethical considerations. Science teachers commonly find this a difficult area to cover in the classroom, and we (and the Wellcome Trust) think that "I’m a Scientist" will be a great way to bring these questions to life. As well as giving an insight into real science careers and the excitement of working in science.
I think it’s going to work well. I’m excited at taking this format, that we know works, and extending it to something else. And excited at the cross-fertilisation of bringing together science communication and e-democracy. Watch this space for further news!
Plea for help: And if you know any science teachers who might be interested in testing things out for us or giving us advice from the horses mouth, please get them to get in touch with me. They’d get the chance to be involved in shaping this new project to really work for teachers and first access to new and innovative resources. Ditto scientists who might be interested in competing.