As science centres have developed around the world, so too have outreach programs that take science exhibits and shows into regional areas. Questacon, Australia's National Science and Technology Centre and the Australian National University have developed a unique travelling science circus that combines an outreach program with an academic qualification, leading to a Graduate Diploma in Scientific Communication.

Australia is geographically a large country but with the major population centres around the coastal regions, particularly the eastern seaboard. As both institutions are national bodies, the outreach program is not restricted to the local area around Canberra, but endeavours to travel to all states of the country every three years visiting schools and community centres. While touring regional areas the students also participate in the School of the Air which allows them to reach school aged children in extremely remote areas who otherwise would be unable to benefit from this program. When possible, at least one tour each year is dedicated to remote Indigenous communities. This requires considerable preparation so as to make the science relevant and appropriate for the culture of Australia's Indigenous people.

Evaluations of this outreach program have indicated that it is highly successful in taking science into Australia's regional and remote areas and provides a unique learning environment for the young science graduates who are selected for the program.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Taking science to the community
The Shell Questacon Science Circus

Sharyn Errington   Australian National University

Allen Rooney   Outreach Operations Manager, Indigenous Programs, Questacon

As science centres have developed around the world, so too have outreach programs that take science exhibits and shows into regional areas. Questacon, Australia's National Science and Technology Centre and the Australian National University have developed a unique travelling science circus that combines an outreach program with an academic qualification, leading to a Graduate Diploma in Scientific Communication.

Australia is geographically a large country but with the major population centres around the coastal regions, particularly the eastern seaboard. As both institutions are national bodies, the outreach program is not restricted to the local area around Canberra, but endeavours to travel to all states of the country every three years visiting schools and community centres. While touring regional areas the students also participate in the School of the Air which allows them to reach school aged children in extremely remote areas who otherwise would be unable to benefit from this program. When possible, at least one tour each year is dedicated to remote Indigenous communities. This requires considerable preparation so as to make the science relevant and appropriate for the culture of Australia's Indigenous people.

Evaluations of this outreach program have indicated that it is highly successful in taking science into Australia's regional and remote areas and provides a unique learning environment for the young science graduates who are selected for the program.

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