Communicating STEM – Applying the Science of Science Communication to Natural History Media Products in Development/Production

September 1st, 2015 - August 31st, 2016 | PROJECT

The goal of "Communicating STEM -- Applying the Science of Science Communication to Natural History Media Products in Development/Production" is to bring standard methodology for media product development/production into better alignment with evidence-based best practices for science communication. Presentations in the professional development science strand at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (JHWFF) conference will be curated to demonstrate how adhering to research-based communication strategies has been proven to increase knowledge retention in a lay audience and decrease instances of audience bias. The strand will present emerging methods for assessing media impact beyond simply the number of viewers, as well as in depth case studies examining evidence for measurable benefits to adopting science communication strategies. By establishing an international cohort of interdisciplinary professionals, and by recruiting ongoing engagement through dissemination of project deliverables through partner organizations and university programs, JHWFF will increase opportunities for cross-industry collaboration and provide media producers, STEM professionals and science communication experts with the resources and network necessary for informed, effective public outreach through natural history and science media products. This conference strand is funded by the Advancing Informal STEM Learning program, which seeks to advance new approaches to, and evidence-based understanding of, the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments. This includes providing multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences, advancing innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments, and developing understandings of deeper learning by participants. Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (JHWFF) is a premier international industry conference for natural history media professionals. This project will establish a cross-industry, interdisciplinary professional development science strand in the upcoming 2015 JHWFF conference. The goal is to advance interdisciplinary collaborations between STEM professionals, science communication experts, media producers, and students/early career professionals. The strand will explore examples of successful science/media collaborations, and increase discourse on best practices for public engagement at the intersection of STEM research, empirically-proven communication methods, and media content for diverse audiences. The project is divided into two phases: Phase I involves the work at the conference; Phase II will provide free online access to edited videos of program sessions made broadly available through partner organizations and institutions, and promoted via social networking, cohort groups, and online blogs. The collaborating organizations (American Association for the Advancement of Science, LifeOnTERRA, and Participant Media), complemented by a broad group of expert advisors, will extend the capacity of the project, facilitate access to stakeholders, and recruit broader participation in both phases of the project. Dr. Louis Nadelson, Director of the Center for the School of the Future at Utah State University, will conduct external evaluation.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Ru Mahoney, Principal Investigator, Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival
Lisa Samford, Co-Principal Investigator


Funding Source: NSF
Award Number: 1545867
Funding Amount: 49928


Audience: General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Scientists
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Conferences | Media and Technology | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Public Events and Festivals | Public Programs