SciChats @ Salk is modeled on a similar program based in the UK called I’m A Scientist, Get Me Out of Here! Unlike “I’m A Scientist”, which connects scientists to students via a chat room, we use various video-conference platforms such as Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom among others to interact with students.
The SciChats program provides a lot of flexibility for participating scientists. Teacher SciChat requests are sent to participants by email and they are able to self-select opportunities that align with their schedule and interests. There is no minimum or maximum participation requirement and scientists from other institutions are welcome to participate in the program. The Education Outreach team coordinates all of the logistics for each session and is able to support the scientist as they prepare their presentation by helping to adapt Powerpoint slides, conduct practice video chat sessions or brainstorm ways to encourage student engagement.
The scientist that signs up will interact with the students via video-conference for roughly 35-50 minutes depending on the grade level of the students and the level of engagement. About 15-20 minutes of the session will be devoted to the scientist, who will give a brief presentation about their research. [Illustrations, media, movies, or “how-to” videos are all great ideas for engaging the students. They can even demonstrate a laboratory technique and explain how it contributes to their research. The remaining time will be devoted to the students’ questions.
Interested in joining the SciChats network? Click here to complete the Education Outreach volunteer form or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your interest in the SciChat program and we look forward to connecting you with a classroom soon!