DETI Inspire Share Outreach Methods at the Interact Conference

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DETI Inspire team members Josh and Stephanie headed to Cardiff last week to share their methods of outreach to schools with other science communicators in a variety of different STEM fields.

Interact, held annually, is an engagement symposium for the physical sciences organised by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). With the stunning backdrop of Cardiff City Hall, this year’s event allowed the exchange of ideas and learning from a variety of organisations, such as Science Made Simple, the Institute of Physics, and the Royal Astronomical Society.

DETI Inspire ran two workshops throughout the day showcasing ‘The West in Minecraft’, an engineering outreach session typically provided for school groups. The session allows children to access a digital landmark from Bristol or Bath and make changes and improvements to it via the tools provided in the popular game Minecraft to solve a problem, with a focus on sustainability.

Stephanie is stood in front of a table covered with kids engineering and science books, small robots, and leaflets. She is raising her fist, copying the statue behind her which is doing the same.
Stephanie at the DETI Inspire market stall

Participants in the workshops at Interact were encouraged to imagine they were their 10-year-old selves to create an immersive experience that allowed them to understand exactly how the kids benefit from these sessions. Both sessions were well-attended, and conversations with staff and students from different organisations and universities suggested a current interest surrounding the incorporation of computer games into science outreach for schools.

Outreach discussions weren’t limited to just Minecraft though, as Stephanie and Josh arrived at the conference equipped with other engineering games, tools, and books that DETI Inspire use for outreach. Setting up robot battles was quickly found to be the most effective way of getting attendees to stop at their market stall, to then participate in conversations surrounding science communication methods and, in particular, advertise the work that DETI Inspire do.

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