Digital Literacy: Engaging the Public with Science

My third year research project involved the utilisation of blogs as a platform for science communication. I studied ground spider assemblages on campus with the aim to engage the public with a sometimes misunderstood or mistreated group of organisms. After research into the species found on campus I produced blogs on the more common species with others on evolution and folklore. The blogs I produced on these topics can be found here: http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/whiteknightsbiodiversity/author/torinclarke/. I thoroughly enjoyed making them and have developed the valuable skill of being able to transform scientific ideas and data into that which people want to read about, in other words, popular science.

Are you thinking about Web 2.0?

Are you thinking about Web 2.0?

I will surely continue to use this skill in my future career whether in research, science communication and journalism or something completely different. Additionally I have gained insight into the importance of online identity and how to strengthen and adapt it. I have also had a grounding in the rules regarding copyright as well as the ability to network your online identity. I believe therefore that the project has enabled me to become a more competitive employee for the Web 2.0 environment.

The ability to sell your ideas and market your skills, and ultimately engage with people, is a key element in helping to draw attention to and educate people about things they might not yet know they are passionate about.

 

By exposing the public to a broader range of communication techniques science is more likely to become accessible and applicable. The conservationist within me hopes that people will then start to act upon it.

About Top Cat

I'm currently in the final year of a Zoology undergraduate degree at the University of Reading. Ever the naturalist it has been my desire to embark on a career in research, conservation and science writing. The academic part of my degree is the first step towards this goal but being able to translate science into public consumption is a valuable skill too. For a hopeful science writer this is essential and blogging is thus a great way to improve science communication skills. It has to be said that far flung exotic locations tend to entice the fresh and eager scientist like myself but it is also true that a bounty of natural history sits in our back gardens waiting to be discovered (yes even student house gardens). I hope the blogs express how even the unassuming creatures of Reading deserve more than a footnote...
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