At the interface between science communication and social engagement, the project « Tell me about your technologies » is designed to engage young and elderly audiences in a dialogue around technological objects, mixing personal memories and technical information. We will present the analysis of this project. It is based on observations of the intergenerational dialogues and on interviews with the participants to a series of activities between 2011 and today. One of the main audiences of science centres or festivals is the couple grand-parent/grandchild. However, most of the activities are offered only to children, and do not satisfy the essential need of being together and sharing experiences. In our view, it is essential that science communication also creates a dialogue among the people participating. Beyond the joy of sharing, science education studies clearly underline the importance of horizontal peer communication (peer learning). With this consideration in mind, Les Atomes Crochus have developed a series of actions to bring together senior and junior audiences. Interactive workshops and a participatory exhibition have been designed. By forging a supportive link between generations through dialogue, the project wants to fight against senior isolation and help children develop their awareness on technological evolution. In the activities, a technological object, ancient or modern (a floppy disk, a Wii control, a coffee grinder...), is used to spark a discussion, facilitated by a mediator through a strong, but quite open, scenario. Each generation had an experience related to objects, and through them a scientific culture. This culture is often implicit and unvalued but can be a powerful, natural vehicle to share. If seniors are open to better understand the current technologies, they are also witnesses of the history that is embodied in those technologies. We are currently analyzing all sessions to understand the reaction of the participants to this non-standard approach to technical and scientific knowledge. Preliminary results indicate that the fact of mixing personal memories and experiences with scientific and technical information have a very positive effect on both the enjoyment and the learning process. By May 2014, we will have collected sufficient data to provide a deeper analysis to share with the PCST audience.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Science communication to foster intergenerational dialogue
An analysis of the “raconte moi tes technologies” project

Vanessa Mignan   Les Atomes Crochus, France

Céline Martineau   Les Atomes Crochus, France

Matteo Merzagora   Traces, France

At the interface between science communication and social engagement, the project « Tell me about your technologies » is designed to engage young and elderly audiences in a dialogue around technological objects, mixing personal memories and technical information. We will present the analysis of this project. It is based on observations of the intergenerational dialogues and on interviews with the participants to a series of activities between 2011 and today. One of the main audiences of science centres or festivals is the couple grand-parent/grandchild. However, most of the activities are offered only to children, and do not satisfy the essential need of being together and sharing experiences. In our view, it is essential that science communication also creates a dialogue among the people participating. Beyond the joy of sharing, science education studies clearly underline the importance of horizontal peer communication (peer learning). With this consideration in mind, Les Atomes Crochus have developed a series of actions to bring together senior and junior audiences. Interactive workshops and a participatory exhibition have been designed. By forging a supportive link between generations through dialogue, the project wants to fight against senior isolation and help children develop their awareness on technological evolution. In the activities, a technological object, ancient or modern (a floppy disk, a Wii control, a coffee grinder...), is used to spark a discussion, facilitated by a mediator through a strong, but quite open, scenario. Each generation had an experience related to objects, and through them a scientific culture. This culture is often implicit and unvalued but can be a powerful, natural vehicle to share. If seniors are open to better understand the current technologies, they are also witnesses of the history that is embodied in those technologies. We are currently analyzing all sessions to understand the reaction of the participants to this non-standard approach to technical and scientific knowledge. Preliminary results indicate that the fact of mixing personal memories and experiences with scientific and technical information have a very positive effect on both the enjoyment and the learning process. By May 2014, we will have collected sufficient data to provide a deeper analysis to share with the PCST audience.

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

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