Author: Nantida Sripaoraya – Centre for Science Communication, University of Otago, New Zealand

Nancy Longnecker – Centre for Science Communication, University of Otago
Rachel Spronken-Smith – Higher Education Development Centre, University of Otago

The National Science Museum, Thailand (NSM) brings 70 -100 science exhibits and activities to local communities in at least twenty Thai provinces each year through a programme called the NSM Science Caravan. This programme involves students from local high schools or universities who volunteer to assist as presenters with the Science Caravan. They receive two days of training in basic science communication and natural science and then present with Science Caravan for four days. Over more than ten years, about 10,000 presenters have facilitated and encouraged approximately 1,000,000 visitors to be actively involved in science activities.

Presenters of science outreach are influential through their facilitation and encouragement of participants to interact with activities. Three important skills or areas of knowledge required by presenters when they interact with visitors include insights about their visitors, communication skills, and scientific content. This research investigates whether skills, abilities, and knowledge are developed and retained among science outreach current and alumni presenters. Observations of current presenters during their training and four days of presenting will involve an instrument developed to examine essential elements of science communication. Seventy-two presenters will be observed in 12 locations across Thailand to determine whether their science communication skills improve over their short time of presenting. Early responses from a survey of alumni presenters revealed that over 80% found being a presenter increased their confidence and ability to teach others. It also increased their likelihood of discussing and sharing ideas about science. Importantly, many report that they still use the skills and abilities that they developed as presenters.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Visual talk
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices