‘I’m a scientist – get me out of here’ is an online school science engagement project which aims to increase school students’ aspirations to study science, help them better understand how science works, and perhaps encourage them to become scientists themselves.
Like school students everywhere, Vietnamese children are curious and have lots of questions about science. However, it’s often culturally inappropriate to question adults directly and so an online space for discussion, where students can ask as many questions as they want, is a great solution.
We wanted to develop new ways of engaging school students with science, including more remote schools, so we introduced the web-based engagement platform ‘I’m a scientist – get me out of here’. We hoped these activities increased school students’ interest in science, built trust in scientific research, and inspired them to consider scientific careers.
‘I’m a scientist – get me out of here’ modelled on the U.-based project by Gallomanor Ltd which is now held in 7 countries, and was officially started in Vietnam in 2015.
During the two-week event, students logged into the project’s website to ask questions about the theme, join live chat sessions with the 5 participating scientists, and at the end of the week – vote for a scientist that they liked the most. The winning scientist received a monetary prize which they could use to run another science activity for schools.
Based on feedback from science teachers at participating schools we selected a scientific theme or ‘zone’ and then invited five expert scientists to join the project. These were Vietnamese scientists who might be based in the country or overseas.
A few weeks before kick-off the science teachers ran introduction activities for students. Events started on a Monday and finished at 5 pm on Friday of the 2nd week. At this point, the votes were counted and the winning scientist is announced.
After the events we worked with the winning scientist to encourage them to use their school engagement prize to carry out their own public engagement ideas.