Monday, March 8, 2010

Things have been moving so quickly in this program that we seem to run out of time to write blogs!

Justin updated you a while ago about visiting the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo. This was just one of the great experiences we had while we explored the world of Science Communication in Southern Ontario. We also had the opportunity visit the set of Daily Planet (and we even met Jay Ingram!), the Ontario Science Centre (and Body Worlds), and the Royal Ontario Museum. We also got a special one-on-one with Pat Senson, a Science Journalist. It was a lot to cram into 3 days, but it was worth it!

We had a blast and wanted to thank everyone who accommodated us while we were visiting these various locations, Pat Senson for taking the time out of his busy schedule to come meet us, and Chantal, Dave, and Carey for organizing such a great trip for us!

We were all excited to visit CTV Studios!

And now onto more news! After a busy (and somewhat relaxing) reading week, we’re back at school and we’ve started a new term in the Science Communication program. Things couldn’t be more different for us!

First of all, we’ve had to say goodbye to two of our classmates, Mylene and Iara, who were here on an exchange from France. They are now completing their internships so that they can receive their Masters in Science Communication. Iara is back in France for her internship and Mylene is now in Montreal! We had a little going away party for them before they left to let them know how much we loved having them in our class. We miss you guys already!

The Science Communication students - together for one last time before Mylene and Iara head off for their internships. (Don't ask about James and Kevin's hair...)

Also, now that we’ve begun the practice portion of the program, we are now doing more hands-on work in the areas of our choice! We had the option of choosing from the following list of courses: Live Programming, Exhibits, Mass Media, and Information Technology. Because we all have different Science Communication interests and talents, we have all chosen different variations of these courses! These courses are a great opportunity for us to practice the things that we spent the first half of the year learning.

I decided to experiment with my teaching skills in the Live Programming course and to challenge my creative side in the Exhibits course.

For part of the live programming course, we must observe and deliver two different school programs at Science North. I spent the day on Friday observing different staff members deliver school programs in different areas of Science North. They are all so enthusiastic and good at their jobs. You could really tell that the students who were visiting were having a good time (and learning!). Hopefully when it comes time for me to deliver a school program, I will be as great as the Science North staff were!

In Exhibits, I have been trying to create an exhibit that engages visitors in a chemistry-related topic. This is something that is difficult to do in science centres – it’s hard to take a subject like chemistry, that sometimes requires lots of assistance, and create an exhibit that can be easily manipulated by visitors.

I think we’ve already learned a few important things in this class:
  1. There is a lot of work that goes into creating exhibits. If someone can walk up to an exhibit, know what to do right away, and take something away from it, then it was an effective exhibit. Being able to make an exhibit like this is not as easy as it looks!
  2. The initial idea won’t be the final idea. I’m two weeks into the course and have already changed my exhibit idea at least 3 times.
  3. Getting input from others is extremely helpful when creating an exhibit. An important practice that we have been using is something like a “sharing circle,” where we describe our idea and receive feedback from classmates. We’ve also been working in pairs and noticing that it’s a great idea to bounce ideas off of others.

The only downside to me choosing these two awesome courses is that I now spend less time with classmates who have chosen other options! We’ve all become so close throughout the first 6 months of the course that it’s kind of strange not being all together in the boardroom – I guess we will just have to rely on our social lives to keep us all connected before we head off to our internships in April!

- Sarah :)

P.S. This is the first blog that I have written and posted on my own! (Well... I did need a little help from Justin! But still, it's pretty exciting!)

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