Jill Hopke

Environmental Communication. Social Movements. Mobile Media.

Tag: science communication (page 2 of 2)

Communicating Science: From the “Elevator Pitch” to Research Presentations

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend two events on presenting research to broader publics given by Tim Miller of Spoken Science, held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on February 26, 2013. The advice was too useful not to share.

First came “The Elevator Pitch: Selling Your Story in Two Minutes or Less.” According to Miller, you are trying to sell someone on the desire for something. In the case of a researcher, that’s your project, ideas and papers. You need to give your audience (whether one or many) a desire to seek more information about you. And, here are Miller’s tips for doing just that:

Tip #1: This is hard. Your are not going to be good at the elevator speech right away.

Tip #2: Why trumps what. The what is easy but the “why” creates emotional investment. “Why is what we care about,” according to Miller.

Tip #3: Think big. Lead with impact and one sentence starting with “I am _____ and I study ______.”  Give specific examples and talk about yourself in relation to what you study. Lead with “I’m a grad student” if you are talking with someone in academia who can contextualize that information. Use “I” to talk about your research, even in case of joint projects. Continue reading

Learning Through Doing and the Importance of Understanding Your Audience

Following-up on my blog post from August 19, 2012 (“‘Microblogging’ Science in 140 Characters or Less: A Twitter Primer”) I gave two microteaching lessons on science communication to my Delta Program summer course The College Classroom. Below is a reflection on that experience. Thanks to my fellow learners and colleagues for being an engaging audience and for the very insightful feedback.

Round One
In planning for the microteaching activity, my goal was to develop a lesson, on the theme of “Using Social Media to Communicate Science,” that would be salient to an audience of graduate students in the bench sciences. To make my lesson learner-centered, I engaged in backward design to first develop the learning outcomes:
1. Students will come away from the lesson with an appreciation for the “science” of communication and the value of communicating science with broader publics via social media, specifically Twitter.
2. Students will understand the principles of “tweeting” and be able to write about science for Twitter.

I wanted to focus on using Twitter and its utility for communicating science. However, I recognized the need introduce the underlying communication theory. In the interest of time, I decided to focus on deliberation, framing and trends in news consumption via social media platforms (see here for a blog post based on my lesson). I outlined the lesson to first give a short introduction to science communication, social media usage trends and Twitter best practices, then engage in a Think, Pair, Share (TPS) activity to have students chose a life sciences news story and write sample tweets based on the content. I had planed to have students discuss the exercise with a partner, based on the following questions, but we ran out of time:
1. How did you choose what content from the article to highlight? Did you focus on the facts and/or add your own opinion in the tweet? Why or why not?
2. How would you hashtag (index) this material?
3. Where did this activity fall on the continuum of easy to challenging? Why?
4. How might you apply (or not) social media to communicate your own research?

One of the strengths of my first round of microteaching was that I started out my presentation by asking the class how many of them had heard of Twitter (a handful) and how many used Twitter (no one). One thing I could have done better from that point would have been to narrow focus to either the key communication theory concepts or the mechanics of how to use Twitter (e.g. set-up an account, what are hashtags, etc.) Continue reading

“Microblogging” Science in 140 Characters or Less: A Twitter Primer

I am taking a summer course on teaching, The College Classroom, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Delta Program that so far has been a wonderful introduction into the practice and theory of teaching and learning. As part of an assignment to “mircoteach” to my class for 15 minutes, I have complied this selection of resources and links on using social media for science communication. Enjoy!

The “Science” of Science Communication
In May of this year the National Academy of Sciences sponsored a two day conference on “The Science of Science Communication,” part of the Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia series (view the video archives here). The event brought together more than 500 researchers, science communicators and policymakers with the goal of increasing understanding of the dynamics of the scientific community’s relation to broader publics and to foster dialogue on the growing field of science communication research.

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e-lsc: Exploring the Rhetoric of Science with Jenell Johnson

An interview I conducted with Jenell Johnson, Ph.D., is featured in the Winter edition of e-lsc, the Department of Life Sciences Communication’s online alumni newsletter. Johnson is a Faculty Associate in the Department of Communication Arts and Associate Director of the Disability Studies Cluster, who recently joined LSC as its first Honorary Associate Fellow.

She discussed the rhetoric of science, turning a “scientific” lens onto science itself, UW-Madison’s Disability Studies Cluster and the “disability studies perspective,” as well as her two forthcoming books: The Neuroscientific Turn: Trandisciplinarity in the Age of the Brain and Medical Marvel: Lobotomy in American Medicine and Culture. Here’s an excerpt:

e-lsc: One thing that really struck me as interesting about your work is contextualizing science. What do you see as the implications of this?

Jenell Johnson: This is directly related to what a lot of people in LSC study, which is how do non-scientists come to understand science and medicine? I appreciate that people have really started to pay attention to engagements with science that take place in venues that we don’t often consider “legitimate” forms of science education, like AAAS public forums or the science and health sections of the New York Times. I think this is a big pay off from the influence cultural studies has had on the academy. We learn about science from things like postage stamps or through film, through fictionalized things, like comic books. What LSC is doing is bridging that gap.

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