NISE Network Forum: “Privacy. Civil Liberties. Nanotechnology.” Formative Evaluation

August 1st, 2011 | EVALUATION

This study was conducted as part of the formative evaluation of the NISE Network forum Privacy. Civil Liberties. Nanotechnology. The purpose of the forum was to bring members of the public together to discuss whether nanotechnology applications that could impact privacy should be used. During the course of the forum, participants learned about nanotechnology from expert speakers, learned about the societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology through the play Let Alone, had a chance to ask questions of the experts, participated in a small group discussion where they talked about the pros and cons of using nanotechnology applications that may impact privacy, and reported out to the larger group about their discussions. During 2008 and 2009, this forum was conducted and formatively evaluated three times by the NISE Net Forum Team which is made up of professionals from museums including the Exploratorium (Explo), Museum of Science (MOS), Museum of Life and Science (MLS), Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM), and Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). As part of the presentation of the forum, formative evaluation information was collected through various sources including registration surveys, pre/post exit surveys, observations, evaluator discussion debriefs, educator debriefs, and speaker follow-up emails. This information along with data collected through other sources was used to help the team modify and optimize the forum for participants and future program educators. It was also felt that the data collected could be used to help future forum educators and expert presenters understand the needs of potential forum audiences and gain advice from past forum educators. It is for this second reason that the data is presented in this report. Based on the results of the formative evaluation, advice to those presenting future Privacy. Civil Liberties. Nanotechnology. forums includes the following: When marketing the forum, consider targeting people:o Who are already familiar with your institution and its programming, by marketing through internal email lists and member magazines; o Who are personally or professionally interested in the programming, by marketing through related organizations; o Who are not as familiar with your institution, by partnering with diverse community organizations who may be interested in the forum topic. When choosing a venue, make sure that participants can easily: See and hear the presentations, play, and other participants and Travel to and maneuver in the space. When setting the agenda and content for the program, make sure to: Balance the time allowed for expert presentations and small group discussion because participants find both of these segments important; Clearly frame the purpose of the forum and instructions for the small group discussion and report-out; Cover the full range of content relevant to the discussion scenario and play during the expert presentation, including information about nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, applications mentioned in the scenarios and play, and some of their potential societal and ethical impacts; and Prepare the speaker for the forum by telling them who you expect to attend, working with them to craft their presentation, and giving them forum background materials such as the scenarios, agenda, and play ahead of time.


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Team Members

Elizabeth Kollmann, Author, Museum of Science
Juli Goss, Author, Museum of Science


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0532536

Related URLs

Full Text
Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | Engineering | History | policy | law | Materials science | Technology
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Formative
Environment Type: Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Programs