Raising interest in the (natural) sciences among young generations can only be successful if we use channels that they use in their everyday lives, and respond to their changed habits of accessing information. University education and scientific research can thus reach out to secondary school students if it uses the language of their visual and mediatised culture, embraces portable info-communication technologies, and encourges the use of web.2 solutions.
ITU: A Historic University Making History in Education and Innovation
The dynamic administration of the Istanbul Technical University (ITU) led by Rector Prof. Dr. Muhammed Sahin since August 2008, has placed sustainability in the core of its values. The four major cornerstones of his vision include: entrepreneurship, quality in education, research and most importantly innovation. In order to make these cornerstones solid and sustainable, major projects have been planned and implemented in rapid time.
Engaging and inspiring young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has long been identified as an area of key strategic importance economically, developmentally and socially . Studies such as the Royal Society’s 2005 “Taking a Leading Role” identify role models and meeting professional scientists as key factors in career and study choices, while organizations such as STEMNET have been formed to “increase young people’s choices and chances through STEM.”
The ambitious digital outreach project supporting the Treasures of the Bodleian exhibition (2011) resulted in a responsively designed website, interpretative QR codes and a mobile app focusing on one question: What is a ‘treasure’?
Defining a ‘treasure’ was a central theme for the physical exhibition in preparation for a permanent treasures gallery opening in 2015.
The digital project turned this central theme into the following objectives:
In 2009 we developed a pilot project funded by the University of Girona (Spain), combining Educational Innovation and Development Cooperation, which was held at Shanti Bhavan, a rural school in South India.
Scientific Output Portal (PPC) is a software developed by SIGMA Gestión universitaria AIE (SIGMAAIE) (1) in collaboration with University Pompeu Fabra (UPF) , to show on an easy and intuitive way, all the scientific output of an institution, grouped by researcher, department, research center and/or research figure (research groups, units,…), accessible from the UPF institutional web site and with free access to the scientific community and society.
“The NSO is a truly wonderful resource which is so much more than just a sophisticated eye to the universe. Just as importantly, it gives us a powerful platform from which to proceed with inspiring students in science through astronomy” (Science teacher)
Centre of the Cell is a £4 million biomedical science centre; educational website and outreach project aimed at children and young people aged 9 to 19, families and youth and community groups. The Centre of the Cell 'Pod' (resembling a 16 cell human embryo) is dramatically suspended above the laboratories and provides young people with a unique interactive insight into what scientists do and how their work influences real life. Centre of the Cell's Director, Professor Fran Balkwill OBE FMedSci, is a leading cancer researcher and science communication expert.