Arvind Gupta, a former engineer became a visionary educationist through his capability of seeing things through the eyes of his inner child. By recycling trash, low-cost and locally available materials, such as plastic straws, CDs, pencils, rubbers, matchsticks and paper, funny, easy-to-make and replicable toys are created which bear the potential to explain basic concepts of mathematics, chemistry, physics, mechanics and biology. One of Arvind’s motto’s is ‘The best thing a child can do with a toy is to break it!’, so when it comes to the time to reassemble, the child will learn its working principle. In the mental activity of playing - taking apart - putting back together there is room for understanding and for personal creative processes.
Gupta is committed to bringing science to the people and to thrill them with its projects (have a look at his TEDx talk). He continues to amaze and inspire generations of students, teachers and academicians through his science popularisation movement. He has conducted workshops in thousands of schools revitalising village science programs across India. He shares his hands-on approach with a wide community of tinkerers and enthusiasts worldwide and, in the last three decades, has made more than 6000 short films on toy-making, wrote thousands of books and articles translated into 20 languages, which are all freely available (without any copyright restriction) on his website and on YouTube. His inspiring profile can be read at the dedicated Wiki page.
Good science communication is a crucial aspect for a country’s socioeconomic development, people need to understand science and be empowered, ultimately, for their participation in democratic processes. For these purposes, scientifically-accurate and correct information needs to be delivered by different means, including journalism.
The African Academy of Sciences (AAS), in partnership with the African Federation of Science Journalists (AFSJ) and the South African Science Journalists Association (SASJA), has launched a two-year initiative - the Africa Science Desk - which aims to build African science journalism capacity, boost scientific research conducted in the continent and improve science coverage. Focussing on the six strategic areas of the AAS: health and wellbeing, climate change, food security and nutritional wellbeing, water and sanitation, sustainable energy and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the initiative will also support data journalism.
An open Call has now been launched. Early career journalists from in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa are invited to participate in the first phase of the programme. They will be mentored in science reporting by senior international and continental science journalists and will develop skills in reading scientific papers, interviewing scientists and, most crucially, delivering correct and easy-to-understand information. Based on successful implementation, the programme will be open to more African countries in 2018.
The initiative is funded through the support of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Being celebrated in Paris with an International Programme for Development of Communication (IPDC) talk: Powering Sustainable Development with Access to Information.
Live webcast available on Thursday, 28 September, from 10:00 AM.:
Use the link below to follow the live webcast. Windows Media Player required.
Join two upcoming events: ‘Science is Wonder-ful!’, from the 26 to the 27 September in Brussels and the European Researchers’ Night, on Friday 29 September, all around Europe.
These are unique occasions to discover science applied to a variety of fields, to meet and interact with researchers and get closer to what is happening behind laboratories.
The celebration will start Tuesday 26 in the centre of Brussels with the free and open to the public ‘Science is wonder-ful!’, organised by the European Commission and the European Parliament. This event intends to stimulate interest and curiosity for science, showcasing in interactive and engaging ways what researchers from different fields do for society, with hands-on experiments, shows, debates, workshops, guided visits of labs and research institutes. Learn the mechanism of brain stimulation, explore gravitational waves, know how electroactive bacteria, wearable electronics, plant molecules, holograms work and discover science with fun from the many stands installed for the event.
The week will culminate with another event taking place simultaneously in around 30 countries and over 300 cities: the European Researchers’ Night, a Europe-wide public event already in its 12th edition. Under the common denominator of science popularisation and edutainment, the day will bring together researchers and the general public, dispel stereotypes concerning researchers and research fields and encourage young people to embark careers in research.
The inaugural award winner of ISLA is ‘Cimaza Virology Comics’. Using the power of illustrations, comics and animated videos Cimaza facilitates the acquisition and transmission of scientifically accurate information on viruses and vaccines, thus improving health and science literacy.
The graphic material of Cimaza is provided in the major European languages and in Arabic and covers a number of different topics, including bacterial and viral infections, antibiotics and vaccine safety. The challenge is to deliver scientific knowledge using an engaging and attractive means directed to a wide range of learners (children, parents, immigrants, refugees and low literacy communities, general public), empowering them to make the right decisions and take appropriate actions on their health and quality of life both in normal situations and during emerging crises.
For more information see the Cimaza profile.
ISLA is funded and administered by the Hardie Wren Development Initiatives (HWDI) and facilitated in collaboration with NIDA.
The main Canadian cities will be hosting a ‘week-long celebration of science-based activities that highlight outstanding scientists and science communicators from coast-to-coast’ as in the words of the founder and ecologist Jesse Hildebrand.
The multi-day events (in 2016 over 500 in 60 cities) will offer a myriad of possibilities to showcase the excellence and diversity of Canadian science and to show and communicate how exciting science really is.
Makerspaces, science expos, environmental education lessons, craft workshops, TED talks, artificial intelligence, robot building are only few of the choices of activities available. The events take the stage in libraries, universities, schools, museums, NGOs, etc and there are also many online engagements (webinar and google hangouts), accessible via the dedicated page.
This year, Science Literacy week will also be supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
Canada’s International Development Research Centre/ Centre de recherches pour le développement international has announced a new partnership aiming to empower early career-women scientists to become leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and role-models for the next generation of female scientists.
Through this framework IDRC/CRDI will provide 7,500,000 CAD to the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), a programme of UNESCO, over five years, thus joining Sweden as a major donor of OWSD.
In particular, the Canadian funds will serve to increase women's participation, leadership and influence in science, technology and innovation in low- and middle-income countries through fellowships and travel grants. They will also serve to tackle gender issues in STEM and engineering through workshops and training, and to support the OWSD – Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World.
OWSD is hosted by The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS), Trieste.
The initial field testing of the project in March/April 2017, where the content and training packages were assessed for their suitability and efficacy in 5 selected schools in Sindhupalchowk district was successfully completed. The test also provided insights into other practical challenges that may arise in the implementation of the programme.
In May, with the start of the new school’s session, the programme was introduced in the remaining 25 pilot schools with three-day training to early grade teachers and the distribution of the workbooks and learning aids. This brings the total of 30 schools engaged - 21 in Sindhupalchowk and 9 in Bardiya districts.
OLE Nepal’s team had also conducted monitoring visits to pilot schools in Bardiya, and provided additional teaching-learning materials. Similar visits will be conducted for pilot schools in Sindhupalchowk during the first week of September.
The pilot will run for another month until mid-September.
The project continues to be implemented by OLE Nepal, in partnership with World Food Programme (WFP) Nepal office, the Ministry of Education and its line agencies and the guide of the Technical Working Committee (TWC). The NSL Pilot Project is part of the WFP’s School Meals Programme, which is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition grant.
Read more about this project on NIDA's dedicated page.
Imagine a bus equipped as a mobile laboratory traveling through rural towns and schools in Chile, reaching remote communities, joining together an entire country through inquire based science education (IBSE). This is ‘Bus ConCiencia’ (a wordplay in Spanish: ‘consciencia’ is the translation of ‘consciousness’ but also ‘with-Science’), a project co-created in 2012 by Fundación Ecoscience and Fundación Ciencia & Vida with the mission of bringing the enjoyment of scientific and technological discoveries to impoverished and vulnerable schools in Chile.
The team of professionals and volunteers of ‘bus conCiencia’ have been training teachers using methodological, didactic and evaluation tools to transform their science classes into opportunities for the students to apply the scientific method, to experience science and engage the curiosity in inquiry-based and hands-on experiments. The lessons held are aligned with learning objectives of each class and the practical activities make use only of recycled and low-cost materials, thus enabling teachers to replicate the scientific experiences in the following years.
During its road trip, the bus also delivers the ‘Nómada 360’ experience, carrying out Science and Geography classes through microdocumentaries recorded on the field by the same students. These videos are then used as educational resources for teaching where, using virtual reality devices, they become research materials in the classroom.
Among the ‘passengers’ who have attended these inspiring initiatives there are more than 20,000 students and 700 primary education teachers, generating a conversation about science as a driver of progress and innovation at different levels of the Chilean society.
‘ConCiencia Magallanes’ is another project recently launched by Ecoscience, in which a new mobile laboratory will travel to the region of Magallanes, promoting equal access to science and bringing the wonders of scientific discovery to the extreme south of Chile. A contest for designing a large format illustration for the laboratory on wheels is open until the 27th of August. Visit the Ecoscience website for more information.
Coloured balloons, bike led lights and coconuts. This is the ‘assembly kit’ for basic hydrology studies developed by a research team of the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands in collaboration with Myanmar students and technicians from different water departments.
These simple, low-tech (and even edible!) materials have made it possible to understand the interaction between two important rivers in Myanmar and their dynamics after the confluence. The coconut is a perfect scientific drifter and its movement along the river length can be followed also at night by the bike light inside the balloon. Observers positioned on bridges can mark the times in which the different coloured drifters pass, calculate the changes in velocity and at the end draw a model of river water flow. The international team also assembled ‘upgraded’ drifters for georeferenced data points by using a floatable platform made of wood and Styrofoam, a box containing a GPS tracker, data card and cell transmitter, and recycled metal chunks, for a total cost of less than 150 dollars.
The ‘tinkering for data’ and ‘hands-on’ approach can inspire a different mind-set in every scientist, all over the world. The training of a geoscientist group in Myanmar has motivated and enabled them to draw models of river hydraulics, monitor watercourse currents, collect data on water quality and be capable of predicting the spread and the speed of possible contaminations.
This project demonstrates that DIY environmental science can be a valid and alternative approach, especially in countries where there are no resources for expensive equipment and where rivers and waterways represent vital and daily resources that need to be protected.