A new collaboration between Genome BC Geneskool and Partners In Research Canada allows educators and students across British Columbia to engage directly with researchers. It’s straightforward: set up a video call with a scientist in a field related to the content of Genome BC Geneskool’s travelling suitcase exhibits.
Want to find out how researchers are combatting colony collapse in bees? Call the Foster laboratory at the University of British Columbia. Grappling with GMOs? Discuss the pros and cons with Dr. Thomas Merritt at Laurentian University. Curious about the driving force behind evolution? Connect with Dr. Claire Cupples from Simon Fraser University to discuss DNA damage and mutations.
No special technology is required to set up a video call (see box 1: What Do I Need?). Educators simply need to request a travelling suitcase from one of the five options on our website. Once confirmed, we send the contact information and biography of participating scientists to the educator so that they can coordinate a video call at a mutually convenient date and time.
What Do I Need?
- Internet connection
- Windows / OSX / Linux / iOS / Android / ChromeOS
- Webcam, microphone & speakers
- Zoom Client (free download)
Educators tell us over and over how having Geneskool volunteers in the classroom positively impacts student interest in science and scientific careers, an observation supported more broadly in the field of education research. With Partners In Research’s video calling platform, educators can now augment Geneskool travelling suitcase content with a real and relevant human interaction.
“The students particularly liked hearing about the presenter’s work and their experience in post-secondary. It was nice for them to have that interaction.” – Sabra, Oliver BC
Many of the barriers that prevent busy scientists from participating in community outreach programs are reduced or removed by the virtual nature of this program. All that is needed is 30 minutes and access to the internet. The Geneskool suitcase content primes students with background knowledge on which to develop more advanced scientific concepts and provoke discussion around any societal issues that arise from a field of scientific research. The Geneskool suitcase content gives the scientists and students a foundation on which to build their conversation.
The students are keenly interested in science… I continue to be impressed with the probing questions they ask. The fact that we hook up via the internet means that we can communicate no matter which continent I am on! – Dr. John Smol, Queen’s University ON
To get involved or to request more information about this exciting new component to the Geneskool travelling suitcase program contact: email@example.com. Scientists can sign up to become subject matter experts by completing this form on the Partners In Research Canada website.