We piloted a series of events which introduced adults to key concepts in modern science. The pilot project was designed to test the feasibility of a formal scheme which will engage adults with low levels of educational attainment in Oxfordshire.
To run and evaluate events which tackle key concepts in modern science.
To develop them in a way that is sustainable given our staff and financial resources.
To attract an audience of 15-20 people to each pilot event.
To evaluate each event in such a way as to be able to take the learning and incorporate it into a future programme.
Summary of activity:
We developed 10 sessions looking at different topics. Each session ran at Science Oxford, and lasted about 90 minutes.
Each session used a mix of styles – hands on, film, expert speakers, and “chalk and talk”
The sessions were:
Evolution (Apr 09)
Space (Jun 09)
The Body (Sep 09)
Maths (Oct 09)
Music (Dec 09)
The Earth (Feb 10)
The Climate (May 10)
Life (Dec 10)
Matter (Mar 11)
The Atom (Jun 11)
We also took two of the sessions to a local WI group (Evolution in Aug 10, and The Earth in Aug 11)
Post event questionnaires
What went well:
1. The development process was very useful as a means of staff development.
2. The programme as a whole was successful to the extent that we are now collaborating with Oxfordshire Adult Learning on rolling out a formal programme as part of their evening classes.
3. Participants overwhelmingly reported increased confidence in the key concepts that were covered in each session.
What was learned:
1. The development process took much more time than expected.
2. Audience numbers were hugely variable, which made it hard to plan from one session to the next. The audience profile always included teenagers, even though the sessions were not marketed to them and took place from 7.30-9.30pm.
3. Funders are not in the slightest bit interested in applications we have made which will roll this programme out.
Top tips and advice for others
1. Work with local experts if you can find them, to give you a 10-15 minute section which looks at current research into the relevant area.
2. These sesssions are very rewarding but they do suck up a lot of time and energy.
3. Even if you target these sessions at adults, lots of people will assume that they are suitable for children, and so you will always get a high proportion of 10-14 year olds. Be aware that this will happen and so try and steer clear of being too "curriculum-ish".