Category Archives: Evaluation Reports

MRC Zones Evaluation Report: 2018–2020

IASUK MRC Zones 2018-20 Evaluation Report (Cover Image)

IASUK MRC Zones 2018-20 Evaluation Report (Click image to read full report, [PDF])

Between 2018 and 2020 the Medical Research Council (MRC, mrc.ukri.org) funded 5 IAS zones to engage students with MRC research. This report is a summary of the activity in, and an evaluation of, the impact of those zones.

Read the full report [PDF] ❯

Summary

  • We ran 5 zones between June 2018 and November 2020
  • 5,335 students logged in with 80% actively engaging:
    • Students from 141 schools took part.
    • 59% of participating schools were widening participation or in underserved areas.
  • 226 researchers took part:
    • Scientists represented a wide range of areas within medical research, and showed students a wide range of backgrounds, careers, and routes into STEM.
  • Every school live chat included a discussion around medical research; at least 59% of live chat conversations included medical research topics:
    • Additionally, 41% of questions in ‘Ask’, and 57% of answers from researchers included discussions related to medical research themes.
  • Taking part in IAS supports students’ science capital:
    • Research carried out in 2019 into the impact of taking part in IAS shows that IAS maps well onto the Science Capital Teaching Approach, supporting science capital dimensions including: science literacy, seeing science as relevant to everyday life, knowledge about the transferability of science/science qualifications, and especially, knowing people in science-related jobs.
  • Taking part has a positive impact on MRC researchers:
    • MRC researchers reported increased skills (91%), confidence (86%), and enthusiasm (88%) for communicating research with lay people.
    • 82% increased their understanding of young people’s views on medical research.
    • 86% increased their interest in taking part in future public engagement activities.
    • 41% reported benefits to their profile as a researcher, and 40% reported benefits to their professional reputation.
  • IAS is different to other engagement projects MRC researchers have taken part in:
    • IAS is easy to participate in; it fits around schedules, there is no need to leave the office, lab, or home.
    • Pseudo-anonymity encourages a broader range of students to actively engage and ask questions.
    • Student-led discussions allow for a greater depth of engagement.

Read the full report [PDF] ❯

Posted on March 9, 2021 modjosh in Evaluation Reports | Comments Off on MRC Zones Evaluation Report: 2018–2020

I’m a Scientist, Stay at home: Evaluation Report

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here is an online, student-led STEM enrichment activity. Since 2008, we have connected school students with scientists through energetic instant messaging-style chats.

With the fast onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m a Scientist, Stay at home was planned in a short four week period of turmoil and uncertainty from late-March to mid-April 2020. The pandemic completely changed the way we run our activity.

Read the full report ❯

This report is a summary of the activity in, lessons learnt, and an evaluation of the impact of this event.

Our capacity modelling was based on 5% of UK schools requesting space in the activity. This seemed reasonable based on promotional support and our unique position of being able to provide online STEM enrichment at scale. This would involve up to 150,000 students connecting with 1,800 scientists.

Recruitment

Interest levels were excellent. By the end of the first day of school activity we had over 1,000 scientists and engineers signed up. By the end of the summer term we had 2,450 applied to take part.

Interest from secondary school teachers was strong too. Teachers from 12% of UK secondary schools signed up to take part with their students.

However, interest from primary schools was weak. Only 1% of primary schools signed up. As the demands placed on primary schools became clear — children of key workers; return of EYFS, Y1 and Y6 after half term; and uncertainty over it all — it wasn’t altogether surprising.

Converting interest into activity also proved to be a challenge. Out of the 1,068 teachers signed up, only 262 had students participate. 190 schools in total.

The intention and interest from secondary schools was significantly higher than expected, but conflicting pressures prevented that intention from converting into action.

We created capacity for 100,000 students but in the end only 6,945 students created accounts.

Teachers faced challenges:

  • Increased workload to provide centre assessed grades
  • adapting to remote teaching
  • providing childcare for their own children
  • student compliance with teaching instructions
  • Equity issues resulting from access to IT for students at home

Some schools ran video lessons, some maintained a timetable, some set occasional work. STEM enrichment mostly became a voluntary activity rather than a lesson.

For those who did participate the experience was excellent.

The student to scientist ratio in chats at around 1:1 was better than normal (6:1 in November 2019). This led to more in-depth conversations, to greater satisfaction from students who got their questions answered and from scientists who felt less pressured and committed.

 

For those who did participate the experience was excellent.”

Interviews with teachers and analysis of live chat transcripts allowed us to build on previous research. It provides confidence that the activity continues to support students’ science capital. They continue to build rapport with scientists, to understand the variety in STEM and to see science as something for them.

We also heard from teachers that it provided a rare chance for them to connect with their classes.

There were considerable benefits for the scientists too. For one self-isolating scientist it felt like a lifeline. For others it helped motivate them through a difficult, isolated time. For most it was the main or only outreach activity they were able to do during the summer term.

Researchers have been encouraged to make public engagement a key part of their work. We are glad we were able to help them maintain their commitment.

Legacy

The I’m a Scientist, Stay at home programme isn’t finished. There is a legacy to funding provided and the work done so far with it.

Uncertainty remains in the UK education sector. Students were generally in school for the autumn term but with 35% absent due to self-isolation at points in November. So far in 2021 schools have asked students to learn from home.

Scientists and engineers will not be able to visit schools for the foreseeable future. Visits to museums and workplaces are not likely.

In September 2020 we launched I’m a Scientist: On Demand. It is available for teachers to run STEM enrichment at a time that suits them. The investment we made in I’m a Scientist, Stay at home made this service to teachers possible.

We continue to build on the development we did since April. The student registration process has been improved. Our back-end system changes allow us to operate with large numbers of teachers and scientists efficiently. Dynamic lists of scientists so students can focus on the people they are engaging with are live. The chat calendar has been improved again, to allow teachers to make requests for certain types of STEM professionals.

We are currently running shorter 4 week zones to make the commitment more manageable for scientists. We are bringing back the cash prize to increase the involvement and agency for the students.

In the autumn of 2020 we ran a zone for Science Centres to maintain contact with their schools. Resourcing issues for science centres made this difficult, but the Centre for Life in Newcastle participated and managed to engage with 57 teachers and over 450 students.

Summary

In summary, I’m a Scientist, Stay at home, was planned in a period of great uncertainty. The levels of student participation were lower than expected, but those that did had an excellent experience. The funding provided continues to provide a legacy. Development work has improved the activity and made it more efficient to run. It has allowed a continuation of excellent online STEM enrichment throughout 2020 and the Spring Term of 2021.

Funders

I’m a Scientist, Stay at home received core funding from UK Research and Innovation and Wellcome Education. Further Zone funding from bp PLC, the British Psychological Society, Johnson Matthey PLC, the Medical Research Council, the Ogden Trust, the Royal Society of Chemistry, Tomorrow’s Engineers and the Wellcome Genome Campus. Additional funding from Tideway. I’m a Scientist, Stay at home received additional support from the British Science Association and STEM Learning.

Read the full report ❯

Posted on February 3, 2021 modjosh in Evaluation Reports | Comments Off on I’m a Scientist, Stay at home: Evaluation Report

2018–20 STFC Legacy Award Evaluation Report

2018–20
STFC Legacy Award
Evaluation Report — Click image to view report [PDF]

Summary

  • We ran 24 zones across 5 events between November 2018 and March 2020:
      • 20 IAS zones
      • 4 IAE zones
  • 142 STEM professionals took part:
      • Scientists and engineers showed students a wide range of backgrounds, careers, and routes into STEM.
  • 9,516 students logged in with 91% actively engaging. Students from 169 schools engaged.
      • 67% of participating schools were widening participation or in underserved areas.
  • The activity had a positive impact on students, teachers, and scientists and engineers:
    • Teachers reported that the activity was effective in improving students’ motivations towards STEM, helping students see how STEM relates to the world around them, challenging stereotypes, and developing students’ awareness that STEM qualifications can be useful even if students don’t want to work in science.
    • [A student] took part in the family live chat in the evening. The next day she was so excited and told me she couldn’t believe her luck in getting access to these scientists and getting all her questions answered. She had screen shot all her answers and brought them into class. Her motivation and love of learning was given a great boost. — Teacher, post event survey
    • 75% of scientists and engineers reported an increased enthusiasm towards their own work. 67% reported an increased appreciation of the value of their work.
Posted on November 9, 2020 modjosh in Evaluation Reports | Comments Off on 2018–20 STFC Legacy Award Evaluation Report

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: Green Zone Evaluation Report

Green Zone Evaluation Report Cover

Click image to read the report [PDF]

Following school closures from 20 March 2020 due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, the Green Zone was run as a pilot for further I’m a Scientist, Stay at home zones planned for the 2020 Summer Term.

The Green Zone was run as a pilot zone to work out what improvements would be required to enable a massive upscaling of the I’m a Scientist activity.

It was an online space in which teachers could book live chats for their students prior to the Easter break. Delivery included moderation, and management and liaison with teachers and scientists.

Read the evaluation report [PDF]

Additionally, a summary of key data on activity in the Zone, with examples of engagement and some analysis of popular discussion topics is available in the Green Zone Report.

Posted on June 12, 2020 modjosh in Evaluation Reports | Comments Off on I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: Green Zone Evaluation Report

BPS funded Psychology Zones: Annual Summary Report 2018-19

 

The idea they can speak to a real psychologist kinda blows their mind. They read about studies in books but don’t see those researchers as actual people

Teacher, Society Zone, June 2018

 

In 2018 the British Psychological Society (BPS) agreed to fund multiple IAS psychology zones each year, where students across the UK connect with psychologists and BPS members.

Below are the main findings from evaluating the zones funded by the British Psychological Society between June 2018 and March 2019.

Download the report: BPS Psychology Zones: Annual Summary Report 2018-19 [PDF]

Six psychology zones were run across three events:

  • June 2018: Society Zone; Wellbeing Zone
  • November 2018: Childhood Zone; Memory Zone
  • March 2019: Perception Zone; Relationships Zone

BPS members and other psychologists are keen to take part. 37 psychologists took part, answering students’ questions and taking part in live chats:

  • 68 BPS members applied to take part.
  • 35 psychologists were given places in BPS funded zones; 24 were BPS
    members.
  • 2 BPS members took part in additional (non-BPS funded) zone

69% of students talking to the psychologists were from widening participation or underserved schools.

Demand from teachers for classes was double the space available.

The topic of psychology, the specific zone themes, and the psychologists’ different fields of research and their work were all popular topics of discussion in the zones.

Students were also interested in the topic of being a psychologist with discussions around ethics and research participants; as well as the topic of mental health conditions, with questions about ways people can improve their mental health, as well as more specific questions to those psychologists whose work related directly to mental health.

“I have learnt that taking psychology as a GCSE in a couple of years will help me develop my knowledge and will give me a greater ability to become a doctor.” — Student, November 2018

Students and teachers report that taking part in IAS helps to improve students’ attitudes and motivations towards STEM, and careers and further education in STEM

“There were questions that really challenged me as a scientist and reminded me why I love this job … As scientists sometimes we forget about the myriad of questions that haven’t been  nswered, and it was great to have students remind us about them.” — Vassilis, psychologist

Psychologists report that taking part in IAS improved communication skills and gave psychologists a broader understanding of how young people view psychology and science.

£3,000 in prize money was distributed among the six zone winners (four of whom are BPS members) to be spent on further public engagement with psychology.

 

Posted on July 29, 2019 modantony in Evaluation, Evaluation Reports | Comments Off on BPS funded Psychology Zones: Annual Summary Report 2018-19

Science of Learning Zone 2018: Evaluation Report

Following a pilot project in February 2015, in 2017 Wellcome funded Mangorolla CIC to run the Science of Learning Zone between January and June 2018.

The Science of Learning Zone was a place for teachers to send questions to, and have conversations with neuroscientists, psychologists and education researchers on topics around the science of learning.

This report summarises the project, and the impact on teachers, participants and researchers.

Download the report: The Science of Learning Zone 2018, Evaluation Report [PDF]

  1. The Zone attracted teachers: 87% of registered users were school teachers — two-thirds of whom had more than 10 years experience of teaching — or were involved professionally in education. 54% of the 2,220 visitors who completed a pop-up question without registering declared themselves to be teachers.
  2. Registered teachers told us they knew about education research but not about neuroscience and psychology. They were hoping to improve their confidence as a professional (86%) and make more informed decisions about teaching (89%). Those teachers who responded to the post-activity survey told us they benefited as expected.
  3. Site page views were double the 2015 levels, though spread over a longer period, and site engagement was at a similar level to 2015. This was disappointing to the project team. We expected much higher levels.
  4. We asked teachers about their reasons for engaging or not. Those who had registered, but did not ask a question or participate in a live chat seemed to be happy as passive consumer of information. Topic summaries were viewed 4,064 times. Teachers told us they enjoyed the live chat transcripts and the ability to dip in and out as it suited their time availability. Those teachers who had shown an interest but did not register or engage with the site mostly stated that they didn’t have the time to participate. We also got the impression that when compared to 2015 there were many more opportunities for teachers to satisfy their curiosity about research.
  5. The project team is disappointed by the level of engagement. It is not commensurate with the investment from Wellcome, and nor with the effort made by all members of the team. However it is clear that the concept does attract the right people for the right reasons and gives them the right benefits. It is possible that the engagement levels we saw reflect the interest from teachers at the moment and we need to find the correct, lower level of resource required to meet that demand.

Download the report: The Science of Learning Zone 2018, Evaluation Report [PDF]

Posted on October 4, 2018 modjosh in Evaluation, Evaluation Reports | Comments Off on Science of Learning Zone 2018: Evaluation Report

Royal Society of Chemistry funded zones 2016

In 2014, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) agreed to support I’m a Scientist over 3 years. Each year, they fund 9 zones across the UK and Ireland. Part of the arrangement is that we include five RSC members in general zones across the year to show school students the full breadth of science.

Below is a summary of our main findings after evaluating the 9 RSC funded zones of I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here 2016.

  1. Scientists improved their science communication skills and enjoyed an invigorating experience:
    Taking part in this competition has reminded me why I love science, and I shall return to my research with renewed enthusiasm!– Steve Street, chemist, Drug Discovery Zone
  1. The zones saw a great number of conversations around chemistry themes with keywords like “climate change”, “toxic”, “enzymes”, “battery”, “drug”, “energy”, “bacteria” being prominent in questions and live chats.
  1. 30 RSC members took part in I’m a Scientist thanks to this funding agreement. 25 took part in the 8 RSC funded themed zones and another 5 were spread across 2 general science zones.
  1. 8 RSC members were voted winners in the 9 RSC funded zones in 2016 and will continue to promote their research in chemistry with their £500 prize money.
  1. Widening participation in schools: 125 schools got a place to take part in I’m a Scientist RSC funded zones in 2016 the UK and Ireland. Of these, 31 (25%) were rural or Widening Participation schools, an improvement from last year, where 17% fulfilled this condition.

What students and teachers said about taking part:

Participating in this program, was a useful way to enhance my knowledge in my areas of interest…The scientists have all helped me to answer questions that I have been asking other people for a very long time. However, the major difference was that on this platform I received answers that clearly and fully answered all of my questions. Overall, this has been exceptionally useful to me and I look forward to more activities like this…” Student, Antibiotics Zone

I’ve learnt how the children enjoy engaging with scientists and finding out about the world around them. An enjoyable, memorable learning experience”– Teacher, Climate Change Zone

Despite the success of the zones in 2016, due to changes in strategy decided by the Council of the RSC, the Society will not be funding the event in 2017 as planned. However, there are 94 Royal Society of Chemistry members registered on our scientist lists, waiting to take part in I’m a Scientist, and chemistry topics are the most popular among teachers. This change in strategy from the Royal Society of Chemistry means that the strong demand for online engagement with chemistry will be left unanswered this year.

Read more in the full report here

Posted on February 20, 2017 modantony in Evaluation, Evaluation Reports | Comments Off on Royal Society of Chemistry funded zones 2016

STFC Large Award Evaluation 2013 -2016

In 2013, we received an STFC Large Award to engage students with STFC research in 27 I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer zones over three years. During this time, we’ve measured every activity we’ve run, and we have stopped to look more closely at aspects like widening participation, or the impact of the events in researchers and students.

The STFC has been one of our most important funders, after the Wellcome Trust, in the last three years. This is a summary of how the collaboration has impacted I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer:

  • 135 scientists and engineers have engaged with 10,602 students from all around the UK between June 2013 and March 2016.
  • STFC zones reached a diverse set of students. 276 teachers, from 242 different schools geographically spread around the UK took part. Of these schools, 15% of them are Widening Participation schools.
  • Students and teachers leave positive comments on I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer. But as fans of evaluation and data, we have used pre and post event questionnaires for the students to measure how taking part affects their attitudes towards STEM. We have actually seen how the more active students are on the site, the more positive the change in attitude observed.

I have learnt how fascinating science can be and the wonders of space.(…) I now know science can be cheesy but you can discover things that you have never know before (…). I am very happy that I was able to take part in this chat” – student, Gravity Zone March 2016

  • I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer are good starting points for science communication. The scientists who did very little public engagement before taking part increased their number of outreach activities from an average of 1.6 activities per year, to 3.7 activities after the event. Scientists like Clara Nellist, who took part in 2014, are now putting a great emphasis on the communication side of their science careers:

After seeing how much you can do online, I was motivated to find more ways I could use the internet to communicate the research at CERN. Now I even manage all of the social media for my experiment, ATLAS.” – Clara Nellist, scientist

  • We have distributed £13,000 to 26 zone winners, 24 of which were STFC related scientists, who use the prize money to communicate STFC related research.
STFCscis

I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer Winners in STFC zones. Click here to download the full report.

And there have been challenges too:

  • Recruiting a diverse range of researchers, whose work is related to STFC, has not always been easy. However, towards the end of the award period we were able to work more closely with the STFC outreach team and use their input to choose zone themes and recruit scientists and engineers.
  • We are trying to reach new audiences. We created a Harwell Zone to allow Harwell Open Day visitors to text in questions to exhibitors. Visitors were able to text a question, get a response to manage their expectations and a notification when someone answered the question. Even though, there was not enough publicity to reach the public in significant numbers, we started the development of future zones open to non-school sectors of the public.

If you want to explore our findings in more detail, download the full report PDF here.

Have you been awarded with an STFC Award too? Have you faced similar challenges? How do you reach new audiences? Hop in, join the conversation and let us know what you think.

Posted on July 26, 2016 modangela in Evaluation, Evaluation Reports | Comments Off on STFC Large Award Evaluation 2013 -2016

Wellcome Trust Funded zones in November 2015 and March 2016

Screenshot_062816_041849_PM

Click here to download the report.

The Wellcome Trust provided funding to support the I’m a Scientist events in November and March of this academic year. We’ve written a report on what this funding allowed us to do, read it here.

Below are the key outcomes from the report:

  • 6 I’m a Scientist zones were run with Wellcome Trust funding in November 2015 and March 2016, including 2 themed zones, Fat Zone and Heart Zone, and 4 general science zones, two of which were for primary schools only.
  • 30 scientists were able to engage with school students, including 22 biomedical-related researchers. Of these, 45% were doing research supported by the Wellcome Trust
  • 2,826 school students logged into the zones, an average of 455 per zone.
  • 85 schools got a place in I’m a Scientist Wellcome Trust funded zones. 86% of these schools took part in the event.
  • £3,000 to be used for further public engagement was distributed among the winners of the zones.
  • Widening participation in schools – We developed criteria to identify schools that would benefit from taking part and 18% of the schools who took part in the zones met one of our criteria for schools underserved by STEM engagement.
  • Feedback from teachers and scientists was positive:

My school is absolutely buzzing about ‘I’m a Scientist’. Children are spending hours at home looking at questions. They don’t want to go out for lunch, so they can spend time on it!” – Teacher, Gold Zone

It’s been fun and manic all in one… Overall it’s been a great lesson in science comms! – Scientist, Rhenium Zone

Read more about the zones in the full report here

Posted on June 28, 2016 modantony in Evaluation, Evaluation Reports, News | Comments Off on Wellcome Trust Funded zones in November 2015 and March 2016

RSC funded zones 2015

RSC cover

Click to download the complete report (PDF)

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) agreed to support I’m a Scientist over 3 years through to the end of 2017. Each year, they fund 9 zones across the UK and Ireland. Part of the arrangement is that we include RSC members in five of our general zones to show school students the full breadth of science.

Here is a summary of our main findings after evaluating the 9 RSC funded zones of I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here 2015.

  1. Scientists improved their science communication skills: They learned about students’ interests and how to communicate with them in a more efficient way.

… there is no better way to test how much you know about something than trying to explain it to someone with a more limited background on the topic.” – Jesús Calvo-Castro, Spectroscopy Zone

  1. The zones saw a great number of conversations around chemistry themes with keywords like “chemistry”, “light”, “materials”, “drugs”, “polymers” being prominent in questions and live chats.
  1. 37 RSC members took part in I’m a Scientist thanks to this funding agreement. 31 took part in the 8 RSC funded themed zones and another 6 were spread in 6 general zones.
  1. 6 RSC members were voted winners in the 9 RSC funded zones in 2015 and will continue to promote their research on chemistry with the £500 prize money.
  1. Widening participation in schools: 118 schools got a place to take part in I’m a Scientist RSC funded zones in 2015 the UK and Ireland. 47 were in Ireland and Scotland and 71 were in England and Wales and the remaining. Of these, 12 (17% of 71) were rural or Widening Participation schools.

And there were challenges too. In 2016 we want to:

  • Get more scientists working at private companies taking part in RSC funded zones. Only 12% of scientists who took part in RSC funded zones in 2015 came from the private sector. We would like to work with RSC to increase the proportion of scientists from private companies.
  • Get more Chemnet students involved in I’m a Scientist zones. We will keep working with ChemNet Team to find out better ways to promote I’m a Scientist to their community of students.
  • Improve the site mobile design. One of the scientists interviewed for this evaluation told us that she expected that it had been easier to take part from mobile devices. We have been improving the site design to adapt it to mobile, but we still need to make it easier for scientists to answer questions and take part in live chats form their mobiles.

You can download the whole report here (PDF).

Posted on January 26, 2016 modangela in Evaluation, Evaluation Reports, News | Comments Off on RSC funded zones 2015

Learning Zone – Evaluation Report

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

In February 2015 we partnered with the Wellcome Trust Education to create the I’m a Scientist Learning Zone.

In the Learning Zone teachers could send questions to and have conversations (thought text based live-chats) with neuroscientists and psychologists involved in research on a broad range of topics around the science of learning.

 

The Learning Zone was successful, both teachers and scientists found it a valuable experience.

  1. We created a conversation between teachers and experts on the science of learning: 40 scientists and almost 300 teachers registered to take part.
  2. The Learning Zone site was visited by 7,000 users during the event. Pages in the Zone were viewed over 33,000 times.
  3. Scientists and teachers valued the event. 89% of teachers and 94% of scientists would participate again.
  4. Teachers improved their knowledge about the brain and learning. 66% of the teachers agreed that “their understanding about the brain and/or learning had improved”.
  5. Improving knowledge may not lead to more confidence or enable more informed decision-making. Before taking part 73% of teachers strongly agreed that “Understanding more about the brain & learning will allow you to make more informed decisions about teaching” – yet afterwards only 36% agreed that they could take more informed decisions.
  6. The Learning Zone bridged the gap between scientists research and teachers. 77% of scientists agreed that they have a better understanding of teachers’ needs after taking part.

This being our first I’m a Scientist event specifically for teachers, we think we still can improve certain aspects of it:

  1. Increase the variety of live chat the schedule. There were 2 live chats per week: Monday 8pm and Wednesday 4pm. This schedule remained constant to create familiarity with the timings, however it meant that teachers and scientists who were available at other times were restricted from taking part in the live chats.
  2. Add themes to the Learning Zone. Consider theming certain weeks around specific topics, while leaving other weeks with a general “science learning” theme.

You can download the full report here.

Posted on July 23, 2015 modangela in Evaluation, Evaluation Reports | Comments Off on Learning Zone – Evaluation Report

Evaluation Report: 2012 – 2015

We were awarded a Wellcome Trust Society Award to run I’m a Scientist from March 2012 until June 2014. We later received a grant extension for November 2014 to June 2015. This report is all about our learnings in these last three years: from March 2012 until March 2015.

Our main learning points are:

WT report cover

Click here to download the full report

1. I’m a Scientist has gone from 30 zones per year in 2012, to 54 zones scheduled in the 2014/2015 school year.
2. Expanding zones to different audiences: primary school students and general public shows.
3. I’m a Scientist is a public engagement boost for scientists.
4. I’m a Scientist gets students enthused about science.
5. I’m a Scientist reaches a diverse set of students.
6. Teachers come back, but tricky to track.
7. Students ASK about cancer, animals, and life and CHAT about science, scientists and work.
8. Moving forwards, further adaptation to new technologies (such as tablets and smartphones) is important.

Click here to download the full report.

Posted on April 25, 2015 modangela in Evaluation, Evaluation Reports | Comments Off on Evaluation Report: 2012 – 2015

March 2012 – March 2015 Evaluation Report

We were awarded a Wellcome Trust Society Award to run I’m a Scientist from March 2012 until June 2014. We later received a grant extension for November 2014 to June 2015. This report is all about our learnings in these last three years: from March 2012 until March 2015.

Our main learning points are:

WT report cover

Click here to download the full report

1. I’m a Scientist has gone from 30 zones per year in 2012, to 54 zones scheduled in the 2014/2015 school year.
2. Expanding zones to different audiences: primary school students and general public shows.
3. I’m a Scientist is a public engagement boost for scientists.
4. I’m a Scientist gets students enthused about science.
5. I’m a Scientist reaches a diverse set of students.
6. Teachers come back, but tricky to track.
7. Students ASK about cancer, animals, and life and CHAT about science, scientists and work.
8. Moving forwards, further adaptation to new technologies (such as tablets and smartphones) is important.

Click here to download the full report.

Posted on April 4, 2015 modangela in Evaluation, Evaluation Reports, News | Comments Off on March 2012 – March 2015 Evaluation Report

Evaluation Report – Body Zone report

body zone pic

Download the full report here.

The Body Zone was designed to contribute to the 2014 Physiological Society focus on Understanding Obesity, and help to reach secondary school students, at an age where we’ve all become more aware of our appearance and lifestyle.

The Body Zone in I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here! 10th – 21st November 2014 was successful:

  1. I’m a Scientist November 2014 has been our busiest event so far, and the Body Zone has been one of the busiest zones within the event.
  2. The Body Zone was particularly popular with teachers, it featured a steady influx of ASK questions that lead to more than 1,150 questions asked, of which more than 700 were approved and sent to the scientists.
  3. The students really got into the zone theme. Students asked lots of questions on the function, purpose and statistics of parts of the anatomy. There were also a lot of questions on diet, nutrition, exercise, obesity, childhood develpment, and diabetes.
  4. The scientists were challenged within and beyond their areas of research. All engaged well and were keen to answer questions and take part in the live chats.
  5. The drop out rate for schools was very low in the Body Zone – 14 of the 16 schools given places turned up with their students.

You can read the full report here.

Posted on December 17, 2014 modangela in Evaluation, Evaluation Reports | Comments Off on Evaluation Report – Body Zone report

Big Data Zones Report

click to download the full report

click to download the full report

In June 2014, teamed up with The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) to run two Big Data themed zones: The Genomics Zone and the Bioinformatics Zone, each featuring at least two TGAC scientists. And these were our main findings:

  • The students were interested in the scientists: Students read the scientist profiles and asked about the research of each individual scientist. They were also very keen to learn more about the scientists; daily lives and hobbies, as well about their opinions on topical issues like animal testing.
  • Students were interested in Genomics and Bioinformatics: Two difficult subjects which many of the students might not have been familiar with before the event. In fact, one teacher in the Genomics zone said she was pleasantly surprised with the level of the students’ questions and how the scientists explained what genomics is.
  • The Bioinformatics and Genomics Zones exposed students to the new trends in biology: Students learnt how biology is much more than identifying plants and animals, especially since the radical change that computers and Big Data have generated in the field. As one teacher said:

The genomics zone attracted us as it was a chance to expose kids to seeing biology as a difficult subject (which normally they don’t) and also speak to people in the research side of the subject. We felt it would link to a lot of topics in our current themes like microbes and reproduction.”

  • Scientists improved their science communication skills: For some scientists, I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here! was their first public engagement activity, and it served as a good pilot experience. They learnt about students’ interests and how to communicate with them in a more efficient way.

If you want to read the full report, you can download a PDF version of it here.

Posted on July 30, 2014 modangela in Evaluation Reports | Comments Off on Big Data Zones Report

CHRISTMAS LECTURES Zone 2013/2014 – Evaluation Report

xmas eval picThe CHRISTMAS LECTURES are a series of science talks, which have been held at the Royal Institution (Ri) since 1825. In December 2013, the Royal Institution teamed up with us to extend the discussion around the CHRISTMAS LECTURES, and give everyone the opportunity to ask questions to real scientists online.

This was the first time we ran an I’m a Scientist zone alongside the CHRISTMAS LECTURES, so evaluating it was particularly important: we wanted to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the event and suggest improvements for future editions.

These were our main findings:

  • Almost 600 people participated in the CHRISTMAS LECTURES Zone, of whom 78% were students, 8% were teachers, and 14% were members of the general public.
  • All of the teachers that answered our feedback survey agreed that we should run the CHRISTMAS LECTURES Zone next year.
  • The two scientists who we interviewed after the event said that they now feel much more confident in science communication and they would recommend taking part in I’m a Scientist to their colleagues.
  • There is room for improvement, particularly regarding the participation of the general public, which we would like to see increase in future events.

If you are curious to know more about the event, you can access the full evaluation report here (PDF).

Posted on April 25, 2014 modangela in Evaluation Reports | Comments Off on CHRISTMAS LECTURES Zone 2013/2014 – Evaluation Report

November 2013 Ireland Event Evaluation Report

IASIE report imageIn November 2013 we run I’m a Scientist in Ireland for the second time. We run 4 zones: two themed on Nanotechnology and Space and two general zones named Helium and Lithium with a mix of 5 scientists.

This report looks at how the event went. One of the main points of the report is our analysis of the impact that the event had on students’ perception of science. We found out that students’ interest in science and science related careers is clearly increased after taking part in I’m a Scientist. We also report on teacher and scientist feedback, which was generally very positive. As one teacher said: “This event offers the opportunity to do something different; an activity that brings out new strengths and abilities”. Sandra Byrne. Teacher

Download the report here.

Posted on December 19, 2013 modangela in Evaluation Reports | Comments Off on November 2013 Ireland Event Evaluation Report

How did the June 2013 event go? A summary for teachers

teacher summaryNearly 7,000 students received close to 10,000 answers to their questions in the June 2013 event.

But what did students ask? What were the most popular topics in live chats? What did your students teach the scientists?

Have a read of the summary for teachers to find out…

Posted on July 5, 2013 in Evaluation, Evaluation Reports, News, Teachers | Comments Off on How did the June 2013 event go? A summary for teachers

Evaluating I’m a Scientist – Ireland

IAS Ireland Logo May 2012Back in November 2012 we ran I’m a Scientist in Ireland for the first time. In short, it was a real success.

The enthusiasm shown by teachers, students and scientists was magnificent and the students really got into the spirit of the event.

The full evaluation report is up on the Irish site (imascientist.ie/2013/05/15/evaluating-im-a-scientist-in-ireland/) alongside a short summary of our findings.

In summary, we would love to run more events in Ireland.

Posted on May 15, 2013 in Evaluation Reports | Comments Off on Evaluating I’m a Scientist – Ireland

I’m a Neuroscientist Live – Project Report

IANSstageSummary:

Gallomanor was approached by the Wellcome Trust to run a live version of I’m a Scientist as part of the Wellcome Trust / Barbican Wonder Season in conjunction with the BNA Festival of the Brain in March and April 2013.

The deliverables were:

  • 2 Weekender heats
  • Final in Barbican Cinema One with a paying audience
  • IAS Zone to accommodate questions submitted by public during weekender.

Gallomanor delivered the events but a lack of questions from the public outside of the events meant we did not need the IAS Zone.

The events were a great success. The Weekender heats had capacity audiences; the final was sold out. We succeeded in recruiting excellent scientists, but it was harder than expected. We had to do more cajoling and encouraging than originally anticipated. This surprised us as we expected that more scientists would be keen to join in a Wellcome Trust event.

Key learning points:

  • The live version of the event works really well
  • Helen Arney was a brilliant MC
  • Keeping the format simple works best and causes less stress
  • Using coloured voting cards and getting the scientists to co-ordinate was the best idea this year
  • Electronic voting cards work well too
  • The public are not likely to submit questions in advance of an event. They need the context and a scientist to react to.

Key figures:

  • Weekender events estimated audience: 150 at each
  • Wide mix of ages from 1 – 80+, no bias towards men or women
  • The final was sold out. 260 tickets were sold and 20 comps allocated to the Wellcome Trust and guests. On the night however, only 218 people turned up. Evidence based on responses from voting cards.

IANSaudience1

IANSaudience2

 

 

 

 

 

Of those there, 9.5% were attending the BNA Conference, and 65% were not scientists;

IANSwho

the audience enjoyed the final;

IANSenjoy

learnt a lot;

IANSlearn

and now have more questions about brains.

IANSbrains

These charts should be treated with some caution. 35% of respondents also claimed to have no brain.

IANSbrain

The budget for the project did not include a formal evaluation, but anecdotally the scientists enjoyed the experience:

IANSpascaltweet

IANSjarvistweetIANSbirchtweetLet’s do it again.

Posted on April 18, 2013 in Evaluation, Evaluation Reports, I'm a Scientist - Live | Comments Off on I’m a Neuroscientist Live – Project Report