Once a scientist has signed up to participate in the SciChats program, they will be added to the SciChat Opportunity list serve and be asked to complete a Scientist Profile. More information about putting together a profile is available here. Scientists will receive an email notification for upcoming sessions that have been requested by teachers. They are able to self-select for opportunities that align with their schedule and interests. To sign up, simply reply to the recruitment email. There is no minimum or maximum participation requirements.
Once a scientist has signed up for the session, they will receive a confirmation email connecting them with the teacher and confirming the details for the session (date, time, content description, video-chat platform that will be used and connection instructions etc.). Scientists are welcome to reach out to teachers directly with questions about preparing for the session. If using Skype as the platform, participating scientists will use the Education Outreach Skype account for the session and will receive a separate email with the login credentials. The teacher and EO team will connect on Skype platform prior to the connection test with the scientist.
Prior to the session, the teacher will share the scientist’s profile with the students. The profile will be posted as a blog on this website for students to look at. This will help the students get to know the participant a little bit before the session and will give them just enough details to brainstorm some questions. The description of your research and vocabulary words will provide teachers with some helpful content background knowledge they can review with their students before the session.
We highly encourage the teacher and scientist schedule a brief 5 minute connection test at least one day before the scheduled session to test the technology compatibility (WiFi in area is strong enough to support Skype, both parties microphones and webcams are working, scientist is able to screen share, etc.). This connection test helps provide a smooth and user friendly experience for both parties.
Rundown of a SciChat
- ~5 mins before Chat: scientist logs into the designated video-chat account in a quiet area of their workspace and awaits the teacher’s call. It is recommended that the presenter uses headphones with a microphone for the SciChat for the best sound quality.
- Beginning of Chat: teacher calls scientist to start Chat. Teacher and scientist make sure they can hear and see each other.
- Teacher introduces scientist to the class.
- Scientist presents to the class for ~15-20 minutes about themselves, their research/career and what they love about what they do-some scientist like to screen share Powerpoints, videos, graphs etc.
- Students ask questions of the scientist (facilitated by teacher) – usually students come up to the computer & webcam in the classroom to talk face to face or the group can elect a runner to read out questions that the group generates. This continues for remainder of the session.
- Teacher cues the end of the session by asking students and scientist to share any final thoughts. Scientist and class say their farewells and both sign off.
After presenting, the commitment is complete – THANK YOU! Our team strives to provide a great experience for all participants and we would love to hear about the session from the scientist’s perspective. EO will send a link to the SciChat Scientist Participant Post Session Evaluation Google form. Please complete the form shortly after the session, so we are able to continue to improve this program for scientists. The teacher will also be asked to complete a Post Event Evaluation and the EO team will use their responses to provide scientist participants with feedback for the session. Feedback from the session can be a valuable tool to help refine science communication skills across age groups.
Thank you for your interest in the SciChat program and we look forward to connecting you with a classroom soon!