Free Talk about teaching glaciers and glaciation in schools: Seds Online, 14th July

AntarcticGlaciers.org: a tool for teaching Glaciers and Glaciation to high school and college students”.

Dr Bethan Davies – Royal Holloway University of London

4 PM LONDON, Tuesday 14th July 2020

Information here: https://sedsonline.com/events/ . You must register (for free) with Seds Online to watch the webinar. The link will be available on the website 10 minutes before the start of the webinar. The webinar will be recorded and can be viewed later by registered users of Seds Online.

This talk targets teachers and college lecturers who will be delivering Glaciers and Glaciation as part of Geography or Geology at High School or College (post ~16 years). This could be as part of the UK A-Level syllabus, for example.

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Improvements to AntarcticGlaciers.org

Here at AntarcticGlaciers.org we have been busy making many updates to the website. We are particularly keen to update the website to bring it in to line with the reformed A-Level syllabus, and also to update and rewrite some of the older content, and improve the website as a resource to promote public understanding of glaciers and climate change.

Since AntarcticGlaciers.org was founded 6.5 years ago, we have undergone substantial improvements and learned a lot over the years. This outreach endeavour, motivated by a desire to publicly communicate the risks that climate change and rising sea levels pose to our world’s glaciers and ice sheets, has evolved into one of the premier sites on this subject. This website aims to inspire both interested adults and also young people and school children with geology and geomorphology, and specifically targets teachers to supply them with engaging, original content that they can use in lesson planning.

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In defence of reticence

Occasionally, comments on this website call me reticent. I think that this is because I try not to let my personal opinions cloud my professional, scientific judgement. I am proud to be reticent. I always try to be informative, to give values of uncertainties and ranges and assessments of confidence. I try to present both sides of the story, while always relying on peer-reviewed papers published in reputable scientific journals. I try to let the evidence speak for itself. Continue reading

A note on ‘Collapse’

There is a lot in the media at the moment about the ‘collapse’ of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. See my previous blog post for more information. But when we talk about ‘ice sheet collapse’, what do we actually mean? When we talk of people ‘collapsing’, they fall down right in front of us in the street. Buildings collapse. Bridges collapse. It’s a very bad thing. Right? Continue reading

Analysis of www.AntarcticGlaciers.org as a tool for online science communication

Davies, B.J., and Glasser, N.F., 2014. Analysis of www.AntarcticGlaciers.org as a tool for online science communication. Journal of Glaciology 60(220), 399-406.

Download the preprint: Davies_et_al_2014_preprint.

The following is a shorter, simpler version of the published paper.

Science communication for the time-limited academic

Academic research into climate change is driven by pressing human concerns. Because climate change has the potential to seriously affect our society, the effective communication of this research is increasingly important1. As such, increasing numbers of academics and researchers are taking part in public engagement2-4. But a key question is,

How can time-limited academics, who work in full-time positions, implement effective outreach strategies with limited budgets?

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Setting up a science blog

Online science communication

There are as many outlets for science communication as there are scientists doing it. They range from traditional press releases and media interviews1 to science cafes, public debates and lectures, museums, open days, TV programmes2 and films. However each comes with its own specific limitations; many preach to the converted. Many people visiting these events are already interested in science3. Scientists are limited by a lack of training, opportunity and time (we can’t all be the next Brian Cox). These events often offer only a limited time to explain key concepts and deliver powerful arguments. Continue reading

Contributing to AntarcticGlaciers

I love having guest posts on Antarcticglaciers.org, and already have some really great contributions from many people. These guest writers broaden the scope of the website beyond my own expertise and add a great deal of value. Guest writers can use this platform to promote and talk about their own published work. If you would like to contribute an article to the website, please do get in touch.

I thought that it might be useful to set down some guidelines for future contributors, in the hope that they might find it useful when writing articles.

Firstly, I reserve the right to edit or reject articles if they are unsuitable for AntarcticGlaciers.org. I do not repost articles from other websites; original contributions only please.

Attribution and authorship

I will always give you full credit and give your full name, institution and link back to your own webpages at the start of the article. It would be helpful to send a headshot and a few lines of ‘About the Author’ to include at the end of the article.

You retain copyright to text and images and I will include a statement to this effect at the start of the article. The rest of the website’s content has a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Attribution Licence.

Effective science communication

The audience of AntarcticGlaciers.org includes scientists, students, school children and the general public. Articles should be written so as to be understandable to all these people. Most of what follows is therefore simply good science communication practise.

  1. Articles should ideally be 500-1000 words long and should stick closely to the peer reviewed literature. They should include references and citations.
  2. Articles should start with the ‘So What’, highlighting the broader relevance of the work to the audience.
  3. Articles should include lots of pictures but you should have copyright or formal permission to use them. You may need to use RightsLink to ensure copyright, even if you’re an author of a published paper. I can help you with this. Wikimedia Commons is a good source for images. Figures should always be appropriately cited or attributed.
  4. Use common language, avoiding jargon and technical terms. Round off numbers.
  5. The personal touch, personal experiences and fieldwork stories are particularly welcome. Try to frame science articles through a story.
  6. If you like, you can embed YouTube videos and Googlemaps in your article.

General principles

  • Only referring to published peer-reviewed articles
  • Always citing sources to leave a clear train of evidence
  • Delivering a clear overview of published literature, avoiding bias wherever possible
  • Writing clearly and succinctly to explain
  • Knowing our audience
  • Only using images for which we have the rights (i.e., ones we generate ourselves, have permission to use, or are available on Wikimedia Commons. Can request permissions from many journals)
  • Links between pages and to external pages of high quality
  • Engage with audience at different levels to ensure website is useful

I hope this helps. Any questions, drop me a line or use the comments box below. I look forward to your contribution!

Best wishes,

Bethan

Search Engine Optimisation for science communication

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

This is an exciting time to be a scientist interested in science communication. More and more academics are taking the bull by the horns and are starting up blogs and websites. Many NERC-funded research projects now have their own website. But what’s the point in having a blog if no one reads it? Continue reading