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[Newsletter - February 2023] Register for AMEL 2023, Planetarium Bangkok, Australia Awards


February 13, 2023


Register for FREE for the in-person AMEL on April 18-20 in The Mind Museum in the Philippines!



Climate change is arguably our planet’s greatest challenge, bringing together science, technology, society, politics and almost everything in-between – effective communication, engagement and education is critical. As science centres, we have a role – and obligation – to play! This first of 2 ASPAC Masterclass for Emerging Leaders (AMEL) 2023, will bring together participants from across ASPAC to explore content for science shows, hands-on activities and tinkering focussed on climate change and energy production. Prof. Graham Walker of Australian National University will be our masterclass facilitator. Together we can take local action for Asia-Pacific wide impact on one of Earth and humanity’s biggest challenges! ASPAC will shoulder the Masterclass fees for ALL 25 participants so registration is FREE for ASPAC Planet members ( 1 per institution but depending on the # we get, by mid- March, we can open it for more.) Meals during the masterclass will also be free. Airfare, transfers and accommodations would have to be shouldered by your institution. We recommend booking at SEDA BGC or F1 Hotel (both within 10-minute walking distance from The Mind Museum).


As a participant you will:

  • Receive written resources and experience in-person ideas for demos, activities and more developed at the Australian National University, including a detailed Teacher Workshop booklet you can adapt to your context – and share innovative approaches you’re already using

  • Learn and apply fundamentals that underpin effective climate communication, such as making it relevant and balancing problems with solutions to inspire and empower

  • Codevelop and refine content to suit the different cultures, audiences, geographies, curriculums, etc. you work with

  • Create prototype content and an action plan for sharing it with other staff and delivery to the public back at your centre

  • Share your successes, challenges and learn from each other as part a community of practice going forward

  • Take part in research so we can understand what works, what doesn’t, and why – and measure the impact we make as team ASPAC!

 

Science Center for Education (Planetarium Bangkok): Taking New Steps Towards Excellence


My name is Piyakan Srimuang and I am an educator and curator at the Science Center for Education (Planetarium Bangkok) in Thailand. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly caused some disruptions to our operations, but it has also provided us with an opportunity to develop new initiatives to better serve the public in these unprecedented times. To address this, we have redirected our focus to online offerings and leveraged social media platforms such as our website, Facebook, YouTube, podcasts, and radio stations to bring science education directly to people's homes. We have also taken steps to renovate our facilities, update our exhibitions, and expand our collaborations. My team and I were also able to develop our first virtual exhibition, which can be accessed at https://sciplanet.org/spaceandtime More than 60 years ago in 1962, the government Cabinet approved a project by the Ministry of Education to construct the Bangkok Planetarium and Observatory for three main purposes:

  1. to serve as a learning center for young people, providing a place for them to spend their leisure time and benefit from educational activities.

  2. to promote learning in geography, science, and astronomy.

  3. to foster critical and rational thinking in the youth.

As the first facility of its kind in Southeast Asia, the Bangkok Planetarium and science museum has been dedicated to promoting the love of astronomy for nearly 60 years. Despite the changing world, the facility has continued to adapt and provide unique learning experiences to its audience. The center has developed educational activities and services, including exhibitions, laboratory experiences for schools, summer camps, pop-up events, podcasts, and online educational resources such as infographics, to meet the changing preferences and lifestyles of its audience. The Bangkok Planetarium remains one of the most popular attractions, where friends, families, students, and teachers come together to share their passion for the stars.

Overview of Science Center for Education

Planetarium Hall - This building features astronomical presentations and full dome movies that change monthly.

Exhibition Hall 2 - Showcasing technological advancements in various fields, such as THEOS, Space and Time, Electric city, and providing hands-on scientific experiences with stations like Fun Science, Space Touch, and Rolling Sphere. This building is currently undergoing renovation.

Exhibition Hall 3 - Featuring an aquarium exhibit displaying a variety of freshwater and saltwater fish, including rare and endangered species. This exhibit will be updated to focus on environmental exhibitions in the near future.

Exhibition Hall 4 - With a focus on natural history, this building showcases dinosaur exhibits, the Green World Treasure, the World of Insects, Kid Town Exhibition, Mysterious and Nature Legacy.

Partnership with ASPAC Members Inspires Redesign of Science Center for Education's Second Building I had the opportunity to participate in the 2018 ASPAC Conference in Taiwan under the "Formosa Fellowship" program. Since then, I've stayed in touch with the attendees and we continue to share ideas on how to improve learning programs in our centers. In 2019, I visited Science Centre Singapore where I was warmly welcomed by Jannah Monjiat and her team. This experience taught me a lot and I brought back valuable insights to my team, especially about making outdoor exhibitions more welcoming to our visitors, and showcasing presentations about aging societies. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic prevented me from attending another program at Taman Pintar in Indonesia in 2020.


Highlights of my day trip in Science Centre Singapore. For more information: Website Podcast (Only Thai Version) Virtual Exhibition Science Podcast (English Version) Facebook Page Twitter

 

Hi ASPAC friends!

Graham Walker from ANU here; would you or your staff like a scholarship to study a science communication Masters degree at the Australian National University? If so please read on… the Australian Government have just announced the next round of Australia Awards scholarships. The below links have all the info re the scholarships, how to apply and the Masters degree at the ANU National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, aka. CPAS.

  • Opening and closing dates (vary by country): https://www.dfat.gov.au/people-to-people/australia-awards/australia-awards-scholarships-opening-and-closing-dates

  • Participating countries in the Asia-Pacific: https://www.dfat.gov.au/people-to-people/australia-awards/participating-countries

  • Click through your country link for specific ‘Priority fields of study’ and try to align your application somehow to that – unsurprisingly ‘science communication’ isn’t there but you may be able to align with others such as education, climate, etc. and you don’t strictly have to align (but it will help). Talking to the country contacts noted will also help craft a strong application, and I’m happy to help as well.

  • A big part of the application is showing how the Masters study can make an impact in your home countries afterwards – incorporating your application with the wider mission of your science centre can really help here. Application assessors will likely be looking for higher level strategic and leadership outcomes, though more operational aspects will help to – showing higher-level connections to government, policy, industry, plans to found new initiatives, etc. will all help.

Info on the CPAS ANU Master of Science Communication

  • Summary: https://science.anu.edu.au/study/masters/master-science-communication

  • All the detail and fine print: https://programsandcourses.anu.edu.au/program/mscom - for eligibility requirements see ‘Admission & Fees’ tab – you need a prior STEM/media/coms degree and to meet the GPA/marks requirements (amongst other requirements).

  • Information on the science communication Fieldwork Placement course, including experiences with the fabulous Questacon https://science.anu.edu.au/node/4235.

  • Many courses allow students to customise their learning giving the opportunity to collaborate with your science centre during the degree, e.g. build online programming, create new content, or conduct research/evaluation projects remotely.

If you’re interested have a look through the info on the links and happy to discuss further – you can reach me at graham.walker@anu.edu.au. Good luck! We look forward to welcoming some ASPAC folks to ANU hopefully in the near future. Cheers, Graham

Any ASPAC member can post their events and offerings in the ASPAC Facebook Page. That will be the best platform for all our simultaneous announcements. However, should there be an event that you need the ASPAC leadership to officially endorse and solicit participation in, please click here to email details to the current Executive Director.

Whatever your role in your organization, if you love to write, please send me your article on whatever it is you think would be worthwhile to share with ASPAC. I cannot predict or limit what that will be as there are so many connections between our work and the rest of what others in the world are doing, This is especially ripe in these strangest of times. We are excited to see your insights! Please send me your piece and we will see how it fits in our ASPAC human story. We are excited to unearth the evolving pool of ASPAC writers! Thank you!


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