Enhancing STEM Public Engagement Skills

Ed Drewitt, know for his involvement with the Bristol Dinosaur Project, University of Bristol (www.thebristoldinosaurproject.org.uk) and Nicholas Garrick from Director of Lighting up Learning Limited (www.lightinguplearning.com ) facilitated a lively, interactive and very fun CPD session on Public Engagement with Primary schools at the school of Science and Technology, University of Northampton, UK on 8th February 2013.

The audience was made of undergraduates, research students and staff from across the The University of Northampton (and also a colleague from the Open University). All came together to look at how they could offer their ideas for activities or outcomes of their research (not matter what their research area) to schools in general . Feedback from talking to participants was very positive; with a great number of student-lead potential activities being discussed in groups and some staff considering how some of their research may be used as outreach activities.

For me the take home messages from the session was - 

  • be aware of what is happening in schools and some of their needs; but do something you are interested in; 
  • think about how that could be delivered in schools (possibly across a whole range of age groups);
  • but DO NOT tell teachers how to use it in their curriculum, they can work that out for their own particular case.

Last year The University of Northampton (TUoN) took part in Ed and Nick's Enhancing STEM Academics' Public Engagement Skills adopter programme sponsored by HE STEM South West Spoke to take concepts from their earlier work and for these to be applied in the outreach activity of other Universities.  This involvement lead to Ed and Nick offering this half day session to the The University of Northampton and other Universities involved with the earlier adopter programme.  Details of TUoN's outputs from the adopter programme and links to activities can be found at http://junkbots.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/junkbot-project-case-study-and-session.html