Effective communication skills enable scientists to engage non-experts, inform public opinion and policymakers, inspire the next generation of scientists and voters, and improve our own research process. UNAVCO provides communication training for our three internship programs, offers on-demand communication training to our community, and develops training materials that can be incorporated into independent curriculum. Our approach focuses on encouraging conversation between scientists and non-experts. The skills practiced can be applied to all channels of communication, from a public or academic lecture to a social media feed.
UNAVCO joined the Portal to the Public Network (PoPNet) in March 2016 to offer PoPNet-style hands-on communication training to the geodetic scientific community. Portal to the Public is a tested system of professional development tools designed to better connect scientists and the public in positive dialogue, in informal education settings such as museums. The framework focuses on starting conversations using interactive activities. Portal to the Public was developed by Seattle's Pacific Science Center and their partners, with funding from the National Science Foundation. PoPNet is the network of museums and other institutions implementing PoP training and programs.
Our primary goal with Portal to the Public is to enable meaningful experiences between geoscientists and the public.
UNAVCO began implementing PoP training in summer 2016 with USIP interns and will be expanding the program to include both USIP and Geo-Launchpad interns in 2017. UNAVCO incorporates PoP elements into short workshops as well.
I loved PoP during my internship! I had such a fun and educational experience with the activities. It was a great way to bond and get to know the other interns as well. I will definitely be bringing my knowledge into teaching and research.
— 2016 Intern
UNAVCO has developed a suite of worksheets to address the needs of our research interns and other student audiences. These worksheet can be used by individuals or applied in a classroom or workshop setting. They are useful for scientists at all career levels. These materials, as well as other materials on this page, are in constant development and feedback is welcome.
Improvisational theater games are increasingly valued as effective science communication skill-builders, popularized in part by the Alan Alda Center for Communication Science at Stony Brook University. Improv can help scientists to think more quickly on their feet, connect with their audience, and, perhaps most critically, be better listeners. UNAVCO uses improvisational theater games in all workshops as a way to break tension, build trust, teach communication skills, and have fun with students.
On a case-by-case basis, UNAVCO can provide science communication training and training support to our community. Options include:
Much work has been done on providing resources on improving communication between scientists and non-experts. In addition to what is presented here, we invite you to explore partner resources.
Last modified: Tuesday, 08-Aug-2017 17:56:07 UTC