initiatives

Playing with shadows – playing with words: exploring teachers’ ownership through poetic inquiry in a Norwegian–Nepalese preschool teacher education project

Ruth Mjanger

This article explores the use of poetic inquiry in a transnational competence-building Shadow Play Project. Based on journals from four Nepalese preschool teacher educators, I present and interpret examples of data poems that portray the teachers’ experiences of ownership in the project. My discussion intends to make explicit some aspects of the process of my search for the experience of ownership, coupled with a discussion of the search of a poetic form. I will further reflect upon the usefulness and challenges of poetic inquiry, given the use of English as a second or third language of the persons involved. Through this, I seek to develop a critical understanding of poetic inquiry as a way of understanding the experiences of others.

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“Dye in the Water” – A Visual Approach to Communicating the Rip Current Hazard

Robert W. Brander, Danielle Drozdzewski, Dale Dominey-Howes (SC)

Many beaches are characterized by rip currents—strong, narrow flows that can quickly carry bathers offshore, often against their will. However, despite long-standing efforts at community education and awareness strategies, people continue to drown in rip currents at high rates. Here we describe a simple, but powerful visual-based risk communication approach involving imagery associated with releases of colored dye into rip currents that has been used as an outreach tool with success in Australia. This approach has the potential to transcend limitations of traditional education approaches and bring the rip current hazard to life for a largely unaware public.

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Does a picture tell a thousand words? The uses of digitally produced, multimodal pictures for communicating information about Alzheimer’s disease

Amy R Dobos, Lindy A Orthia, Rod Lamberts

This study explored the science communication potential of visual imagery by gauging an audience’s interpretations of digitally enhanced, multimodal pictures depicting topics from recent Alzheimer’s disease research. Guided by social semiotic theory, we created four pictures intended to communicate information about Alzheimer’s disease unidirectionally, for an audience who had expressed interest in receiving such information (subscribers to an Alzheimer’s disease research newsletter). We then disseminated the pictures to that audience via an online survey, to determine whether respondents received the messages we intended to convey. Our results demonstrated that, without accompanying explanatory text, pictures are most useful for evoking emotions or making loose connections between major concepts, rather than for communicating specific messages based on Alzheimer’s research. In addition, participants more often expressed anger and frustration when the meaning of scientific imagery was unclear than when the meaning of emotional–social imagery was unclear.

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Public Engagement Through the Development of Science-Based Computer Games: The Wellcome Trust’s “Gamify Your PhD” Initiative

Vickie Curtis

New developments in digital technologies are enabling scientists to explore novel avenues of engagement beyond face-to-face approaches. “Gamifying” science through the creation of computer games based on scientific research is part of this trend. Recently, the Wellcome Trust held a competitive “hackfest” called “Gamify Your PhD.” Six finalists were selected to develop their research into a computer game with the help of professional games developers. I was able to observe this event with the aim of exploring the collaboration between scientists and games developers and observing how science-based computer games can be used to engage the wider public.

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