Science communication emerged as an important activity in the National University of Mexico in the late seventies. The Facultad de Ciencias is the main school for the study of Mathematics, Physics, Biology and Computing Science in the University, and is responsible for the instruction of more than five thousand students every year. Research and teaching are the final objectives for undergraduate and graduate students, but science communication has become a professional option for them too. In this arena, activities are focussed on conferences, exhibitions, radio capsules and, more recently, a series of TV programs. The public is variable, from students to academics or the general public. But the main effort is the production of a science magazine called Ciencias that has been edited for twenty five years. The magazine is recognized as an important publication aimed for undergraduate students in a variety of science topics which include History and Philosophy of Science. The results of the different science communication programs have now started being evaluated, so it is not clear yet how to increase their impact, the students’ involvement, or the professionalization of the academics participating in them. After more than 30 years of work, we have learnt a lot but are certain that evaluation is essential in order to reinforce the best practices, to change the things that are not useful any more, to introduce new technologies as internet and, specially, to become more efficient. As it is currently established, like for other university activities, budgets and staff salaries are subject to the revision of results in science communication. Thus, we need to find the best way to improve and evaluate our work performance using more precise methods.

A comprehensive analysis of the use of traditional and new electronic media by Ammerican adults. Jon Miller Michigan State University, International Center for Scientific Literacy, 112 Natural Science Building, 48824, East Lansing, United States This study has its origins in the assessment of the impact of science news stories imbedded in local television newscasts in the United States. In 2004, 2005, and 2007, national samples of adults (about 2,000 each year) have been selected and surveyed about the reading, viewing, and information seeking behaviors. In the 2007 study, a major new component was added to obtain additional information about Internet usage, cell phone and digital photography use, Blackberry and similar device use for email, iPod and similar device use for music, news, and podcasting, and a wide array of new technologies. This new data set is the most comprehensive survey of its kind in the U.S. The proposed paper will build on the existing literature concerning information seeking and acquisition and seek to characterize the individuals who are the first adopters, following the work of Rogers. More important, this analysis will examine the impact of the adoption of new media and technologies on the use of traditional media and technologies. The study involves two waves and the second wave is currently in the field, thus we do not have results. All of the data collection will be completed by the middle of December, 2007, and the authors will have ample time to complete the proposed analysis. The analysis will be a combination of descriptive materials to characterize the major patterns of information seeking and acquisition and a small set of structural equation models to identify the factors that predict the adoption of new information technologies.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

A science communication experience in the National University of Mexico

Patricia Magana   National University

Science communication emerged as an important activity in the National University of Mexico in the late seventies. The Facultad de Ciencias is the main school for the study of Mathematics, Physics, Biology and Computing Science in the University, and is responsible for the instruction of more than five thousand students every year. Research and teaching are the final objectives for undergraduate and graduate students, but science communication has become a professional option for them too. In this arena, activities are focussed on conferences, exhibitions, radio capsules and, more recently, a series of TV programs. The public is variable, from students to academics or the general public. But the main effort is the production of a science magazine called Ciencias that has been edited for twenty five years. The magazine is recognized as an important publication aimed for undergraduate students in a variety of science topics which include History and Philosophy of Science. The results of the different science communication programs have now started being evaluated, so it is not clear yet how to increase their impact, the students’ involvement, or the professionalization of the academics participating in them. After more than 30 years of work, we have learnt a lot but are certain that evaluation is essential in order to reinforce the best practices, to change the things that are not useful any more, to introduce new technologies as internet and, specially, to become more efficient. As it is currently established, like for other university activities, budgets and staff salaries are subject to the revision of results in science communication. Thus, we need to find the best way to improve and evaluate our work performance using more precise methods.

A comprehensive analysis of the use of traditional and new electronic media by Ammerican adults. Jon Miller Michigan State University, International Center for Scientific Literacy, 112 Natural Science Building, 48824, East Lansing, United States This study has its origins in the assessment of the impact of science news stories imbedded in local television newscasts in the United States. In 2004, 2005, and 2007, national samples of adults (about 2,000 each year) have been selected and surveyed about the reading, viewing, and information seeking behaviors. In the 2007 study, a major new component was added to obtain additional information about Internet usage, cell phone and digital photography use, Blackberry and similar device use for email, iPod and similar device use for music, news, and podcasting, and a wide array of new technologies. This new data set is the most comprehensive survey of its kind in the U.S. The proposed paper will build on the existing literature concerning information seeking and acquisition and seek to characterize the individuals who are the first adopters, following the work of Rogers. More important, this analysis will examine the impact of the adoption of new media and technologies on the use of traditional media and technologies. The study involves two waves and the second wave is currently in the field, thus we do not have results. All of the data collection will be completed by the middle of December, 2007, and the authors will have ample time to complete the proposed analysis. The analysis will be a combination of descriptive materials to characterize the major patterns of information seeking and acquisition and a small set of structural equation models to identify the factors that predict the adoption of new information technologies.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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