Friday, November 12, 2010

Scommies go to Ottawa: STAN conference and museum field trip

Our class recently made a trip down to Ottawa to attend this year's Science and Technology Awareness Network (STAN) national conference.  STAN works to encourage science and technology interest and literacy across the education and public sectors; the conference discusses issues in science communication and the various projects of its members.  It is also a great opportunity to network with the different groups that participate with STAN - groups and members from backgrounds ranging from science centres and museums to government organizations, school boards, school programs, and everything in between. 

Field Trip!
As a class we attended two panel discussions and three keynote addresses.  Thursday's keynote speaker was Elyse Allan, CEO of GE Canada, and the panel addressed the issue of building science engagement across sectors.  On Friday, the first keynote speaker was Denise Amyot, CEO of the Canada Science and Tenchnology Museum; the second was semi-retired Canadian science journalist and Consultant for Canada Foundation for Innovation Peter Calamai, who addressed missed opportunities with youth and science.  The panel presentation discussed lessons learned from celebrations of national weeks and years of significance (such as 2009's National Year of Astronomy).  It was interesting to listen to what different representatives brought to the table in terms of the issues discussed (and many of us caught ourselves gauging the speakers' skills as engaging and effective communicators).  It was a wonderful opportunity to meet different people deeply involved in the field of science communication.

We'd definitely have to agree with Chantal when she suggested that dinosaurs are the gateway science!
While we were in Ottawa we also got the chance to visit the Canada Science and Technology Museum as well as the Canadian Museum of Nature.  It was a blast running amok among the exhibits, taking in as much as we could in the short time that we had for our visit.  And being the keen students that we are, we did apply what we've learned in class so far to what we saw at the museums.  There were definitely moments when one of us would stop and say something like "Ooh, look!  Those are definitely rechargers!" or "That was a breakthrough moment, right there".  It seemed that we weren't quite ready to leave when we did!

The guys took part in a "shocking" science demonstration at the Canada Museum of Science & Technology.
Here's to more field trips! (Hint, hint...)

To learn more about STAN, visit this website.

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