• Question: What particular interaction techniques worked particularly well with the students that may not work well with adults?

    Asked by katieeprater to Andrew, Lindsay, Paige, Sean, Jeff on 13 Feb 2016.
    • Photo: Andrew Maynard

      Andrew Maynard answered on 13 Feb 2016:

      That’s an interesting question – I don’t know about the ‘may not work with adults’ bit, but certainly working with young and empowered students (in that they didn’t hesitate to pile on with the tough questions) forced me to think on my feet about how to communicate honestly, and responsively – giving them what they wanted, rather than what I wanted to give (if that makes sense)

      I think sometimes communicating with adults, there’s a tendency to fall into a ‘power play’ role where pat of the aim is to establish your authority and expertise. With the kids in IAS you don’t have that luxury – and if you try, they see right through it!

      So perhaps one of the lessons is learning what might also work with adults, that we tend not to think about!

    • Photo: Paige Brown Jarreau

      Paige Brown Jarreau answered on 13 Feb 2016:

      I don’t know that this WOULDN’T work with adults, but the chats we had during the event were driven by constructed classroom time during which all students were asked to do is ask questions. Obviously adults sometimes do this too aka Reddit AMAs. But for adults, or outside of any classroom setting, you don’t have the luxury of the undivided attention of your audience.

      Other than that – I used the live chats during the I’m a Scientist events as a time to get REALLY excited with my answers – like full-on emoji, exclamation point crazy typing excited. The kids loved it 🙂 – adults might get annoyed lol.

    • Photo: Lindsay Hunter

      Lindsay Hunter answered on 13 Feb 2016:

      In general, (not specifically in this case), I find that kids are always up for a demo or an activity, whereas adults can become impatient and just want an answer. 3D printed bones and casts are always a big win for ALL audiences, though, so a visual of some kind is never out of place! That’s unfortunately a limitation of the way our online chats work, though, as we can provide links (as fast as we can look them up), but we can’t walk them through what they’re seeing in any detail. I do remember, however, that Zoe the Bug Girl, in my zone was awesome at replying with links to bug photos that wowed the kids and their teachers. My vote is always for more VISUALS!

    • Photo: Sean Murphy

      Sean Murphy answered on 13 Feb 2016:

      Definitely hands-on and interactive techniques seem to work well for everyone. If there is someone that is having difficulty or doesn’t seem interested I like to ask them what they are interested in, and let the conversation and questions be driven by their interests, rather than what I am trying to teach. Once you find a topic they are interested in you can discover new ways to bring this into other discussions and topics.

    • Photo: Jeff Shi

      Jeff Shi answered on 13 Feb 2016:

      I find adults are generally rather bored with a lot of the “game”-like activities that I have prepared with kids in mind (somewhat unsurprisingly). Just as unsurprising, though, is how the kids themselves can rope their parents into being engaged, and that’s certainly something I always keep in mind when designing my outreach activities.