Background: In august 2005, the Virtual Maloka team (the web site of the Science Center Maloka in Bogota, Colombia) began to build a new space in the World Wide Web. We wanted to talk to the public that usually visit our web site. The purpose was recognized themselves, learn about their own needs and curiosities. We were interested about creating a media with spaces for the public participation. For this reason we made virtual focus groups, surveys, interviews, opinion polls with our publics and with experts. With all this information, we designed our Web Site. However, our “research” didn’t stop when we began the design. During the process of creation we consulted permanently our publics, because our need were engage our public and probably it was an obsessive disorder symptom from us...

Actually after the launching of the Web Site our visitants evaluate it in a positive way. It opens possibilities of sharing ideas, opinions, experiences and tools. Also they define it as the place in where the people can express their ideas about the way we do science. Objective: To build with our publics a virtual media in which take place strategies that stimulate expression, discussion, education, communication, participation and interchange of knowledge.

Methods: At the beginning:
1 focus group with 10 members according the publics below: children (9‐12 years), teenagers (13‐16 years), college students (17‐23), adults (23‐27) and teachers. 1 focus group with experts: Scientifics, TIC professionals, Social Scientifics, Pedagogues, Political Scientists and Science Communicators.
1 publics survey. During the process of creation:
2 opinion polls with members from our publics. 1 opinion poll with experts. 1 interview with 5 members according the publics below: children (9‐12 years), teenagers (13‐16 years), college students (17‐23), adults (23‐27) and teachers./After the launch:
1 publics survey. Interviews with some experts.

Results: The web site increases its visits in 30%. The growing of frequent visitors increased in 20% with the lauching of the new site.

Conclusions: This study contributes in the construction of virtual spaces that stimulate dialogue, public participation, learning and the encounter of communities around science and technology. Those are the best ways to consolidate a scientific culture. Therefore, this work provides important tools and clues for professionals who want to design consistent strategies in science communication.

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 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Building communities through a web site

Marcela Lozano   Maloka, Communication

Background: In august 2005, the Virtual Maloka team (the web site of the Science Center Maloka in Bogota, Colombia) began to build a new space in the World Wide Web. We wanted to talk to the public that usually visit our web site. The purpose was recognized themselves, learn about their own needs and curiosities. We were interested about creating a media with spaces for the public participation. For this reason we made virtual focus groups, surveys, interviews, opinion polls with our publics and with experts. With all this information, we designed our Web Site. However, our “research” didn’t stop when we began the design. During the process of creation we consulted permanently our publics, because our need were engage our public and probably it was an obsessive disorder symptom from us...

Actually after the launching of the Web Site our visitants evaluate it in a positive way. It opens possibilities of sharing ideas, opinions, experiences and tools. Also they define it as the place in where the people can express their ideas about the way we do science. Objective: To build with our publics a virtual media in which take place strategies that stimulate expression, discussion, education, communication, participation and interchange of knowledge.

Methods: At the beginning:
1 focus group with 10 members according the publics below: children (9‐12 years), teenagers (13‐16 years), college students (17‐23), adults (23‐27) and teachers. 1 focus group with experts: Scientifics, TIC professionals, Social Scientifics, Pedagogues, Political Scientists and Science Communicators.
1 publics survey. During the process of creation:
2 opinion polls with members from our publics. 1 opinion poll with experts. 1 interview with 5 members according the publics below: children (9‐12 years), teenagers (13‐16 years), college students (17‐23), adults (23‐27) and teachers./After the launch:
1 publics survey. Interviews with some experts.

Results: The web site increases its visits in 30%. The growing of frequent visitors increased in 20% with the lauching of the new site.

Conclusions: This study contributes in the construction of virtual spaces that stimulate dialogue, public participation, learning and the encounter of communities around science and technology. Those are the best ways to consolidate a scientific culture. Therefore, this work provides important tools and clues for professionals who want to design consistent strategies in science communication.

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

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