Development of communication skills by editing a popular science magazine The case of Naturalment
Antoni BennÃ ssar-Roig
The paper presents the case of a popular science magazine (Naturalment) that was monthly elaborated by the Biology freshman students at the University of the Balearic Islands (Spain) with the guidance of a team of teachers of the Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Psychology Departments. The focus of the magazine project was the development of the students' communication skills at the beginning of their higher education scientific studies.
Each number of the magazine displayed the following contents on a monographic scientific issue: An article of popularization on a scientific issue, an interview with a researcher in the same field of knowledge, an annotated list of websites linked to the issue, and some commentaries on the journals Nature, Science, Scientific American and The Scientist. The number was completed with notes on books, movies or any other materials selected by the students. Some edition aspects, such as the magazine layout, the use of languages, the choice of images, the correct use of citations, the respect for intellectual property and attention to epistemological, social and institutional aspects of science were particularly cared.
The students worked in small groups along 2013 to publish the online magazine in the two official languages (Spanish and Catalan) at http://naturalment.uib.es. The students received specific training for the preparation of the magazine contents in reviewing popular journals and publications, using appropriately the language, presenting contents in two languages, using scientific databases, intellectual property, using popular edition programs and dissemination of the magazine in the web.
This activity about popularization and dissemination of science allows the students getting the following benefits: learning scientific knowledge about the issues they elaborated on, improving their scientific communication skills, understanding many features of the nature of science and an especial contact with the science-technology-society relationships.
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