Community engagement: educational workshops
Effective science communication is essential today, particularly post-covid when there has been a rise in science suspicion. Science is powerful in improving the quality of life for humanity, but for many laypeople, understanding science can be challenging. Often the barriers are about the language of science. If we remove the scientific jargon and use powerful images and video resources to open learners’ eyes to the wonder of science, we provide hands-on science and cool technology experiences, which include the opportunity to test local environmental issues; this combination becomes a powerful hook for engagement with science and technology.
We run workshops at secondary schools, engaging students at NCEA levels 1-3. Workshops have multiple elements. They are captivating and fun, have engaging presentations, and include hands-on use of the DNAiTECH smartphone-interfaced DNA amplifying technology. The students can obtain numerous NCEA credits and ask important environmental questions about their local waterways.
We tailor our workshops to the need and specifics of each school. Our longest extended workshop was for ten days and was funded by Unlocking Curious Minds (link). Workshops can be an offsite overnight experience at a venue (Tamaki College images link). The shortest practical workshop is one full day. Running student workshops has always proven to be a rich experience for the students and ourselves.
We design a program and provide information for funding applications at the school's request.
We run regional workshops around New Zealand for teachers. These provide a refresher course in molecular techniques, give the teacher professional learning development and an opportunity to explore suitable molecular experiments that can be implemented in their classroom.