On Friday I was very pleased to hear that I’d been accepted for I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here!, running over two weeks from Monday 13th to Friday 24th June 2011. It’s an award-winning science enrichment and engagement activity, funded by a Society Award from the Wellcome Trust. It is hugely popular: in the June 2010 event over 100 scientists and 5,000 students from 150 schools took part, with 7,500 questions asked and 68,000 visits to the site!
In essence, IASGMOOH is an X Factor-style competition for scientists, where students are the judges (watch the 60 second intro). For two weeks, students read about the scientists’ work, ask them questions and engage in live text chats with them. The students vote for the scientist they want to win the £500 prize (to be used for science communication activities). The event is split into zones, and in each zone there are five scientists and around 400 students. At the start of the second week, the scientists with the fewest votes are evicted until only one is left to be crowned the winner in each zone.
The primary objective of this science dialogue event is to change students’ attitudes to science, and make them feel it is something they can relate to and informally discuss by talking to real scientists. The event is supported by carefully developed and tested teaching resources that develop students’ skills and deepen their understanding. I am very much looking forward to the live chats to do some rapid science communication.
You can follow the event on Twitter (@imascientist) and keep an eye on tweets marked #ias2011; I will be in the Chromium Zone and will be blogging throughout the event (in fact, it might take over my life for the two weeks). My primary aim is to use my research to get the students thinking about Computing and its application across the sciences, as well as why it is important to develop skills such as computational thinking, abstraction, reasoning and problem-solving.
And I unashamedly say: please vote for me!