First page of case study
I think this project is interesting, but I'm surprised they aren't doing more with it. If our NSF were working this closely with our PBS or our Discovery Channel, I'd expect there to be more opportunities for citizen science, for example; more opportunities to work with NSF-funded scientists in the field, maybe even, and maybe this already exists, small buckets of outreach dollars available to serious scientists to apply for as part of their research grants, where if they agreed to maintain a presence and a certain amount of availability to students, they could put additional dollars in their grant proposal. I don't know how much the amount would have to exceed the actual work involved to tempt serious scientists to take it--if NSF were actively publicizing grantees who took this step, savvy grant recipients (who know that media impact increasingly results in scientific impact) would take NSF up on it, I think.
I'd be interested in learning how science is treated differently in Australia than it is here, and what impact (if any) this has had on what SCOPE is doing. Are there any plans to bring the SCOPE producers onto the site to talk more about what their experience has been?
ParkerMi, I've put out the invitation to the SCOPE producers to come add to this case study, and particularly to comment on your question.
Portias, I wonder how much what you describe is happening informally, as more and more scientists blog or tweet about their work, and participate in social networks, both broadbased and focused. Others here likely know more about it, but it's my understanding that NSF is beginning to aggregate and make available research findings from informal science education grants.
In this case, real citizen science might mean a set of structured mechanisms through which viewers could gather data (and possibly do some analysis). The data could then used in a component of the programming. So participagtion is built into the design of programs and projects, and not dependent on the enthusiasm of an individual scientist.
Hi. As the host of SCOPE (and employee of the CSIRO) let me try and answer the questions.
I am not sure how science is treated differently in Australia, having limited exposure outside it. However, there have been very few science programs aimed at children in my entire lifetime, and certainly none that I can remember that have sought to not only explain simple concepts and how stuff works, but also present cutting edge science in a format digestible to the target audience.
What's more, the scientists present their own stories. Occasionally this means some good editing to make their stories come to life, but mostly they do amazing jobs for their first time on TV, much less children's TV.