Scientists are increasingly being asked to communicate the “broader impacts” of their work. With the threat of a decline in both the scientific workforce and the public’s literacy on ocean and environmental science issues, the time is now for stepping up our efforts to promote ocean literacy.
Although there is no single approach for a successful integrated research and education plan, this workshop builds the foundation for attendees to think creatively about how their research will impact their education goals and, conversely, how their education activities will feed back into their research. When research and education are effectively interconnected, the process of discovery can help stimulate learning and the resulting research can be communicated to a broader audience.
To help scientists communicate the “broader impacts” of their work and better integrate their education and research activities, four COSEE centers (COSEE NOW, COSEE OS, COSEE Ocean, and COSEE California) have collaborated to develop the Gears Professional Development Workshop for Early Career Scientists. The Gears workshops, which have been held across the county, include both face-to-face and online sessions and feature demonstrations and discussions on a variety of communication techniques. Following the face-to-face workshops, participants have the opportunity to work with education and outreach professionals to develop their own outreach/broader impact plans and products. For examples of work created by previous participant check out the Gears Scientists Projects.
The skills and techniques presented during the Gears workshops are interconnected and can be applied simultaneously. Therefore, we have organized them into four interconnected Gears or areas:
Gear #1: Deconstruct Your Science When translating scientific research it helps to break down your message into its key components. This gear focuses on two methods for deconstructing your message including Concept Mapping (COSEE Ocean Science) and Storytelling (COSEE NOW).
Gear #2: Understand How People Learn This gear focuses on what the educational research says about how people learn and what this can this tell us about effective ways to teach our students and communicate with the public. The Understand gear sets the stage for incorporating effective strategies for learning into practice as scientists share science with diverse audiences (COSEE CA).
Gear #3: Build Effective Communication Techniques Learners build an understanding of the world around them through their experiences, motivation, and social interactions. This gear includes information about how you can apply concepts, and effective practices and strategies gleaned from the learning sciences, into your education and outreach efforts.
Gear #4: Broaden the Reach of Your Science The ability to share your scientific message with those outside your research group is critical for career advancement. With funding trends moving towards large collaborative research programs, it is more important than ever that scientists collaborate not only within their discipline, but also across and beyond scientific disciplines.
***For specific information on previous Gears workshops, including agendas, check out the COSEE NOW Events pages.