Why is effective dissemination so important?
Effective dissemination ensures not only the efficient distribution of new knowledge, but it raises awareness and encourages collaboration. It is imperative to ensure visibility of a project by promoting it and the activities within it. When devising a dissemination strategy, there are several points to consider. Having a clear goal and identifying your audience and their needs means you avoid unnecessary improvisation. Once you define your audience, the message and channels of communication are the next step. Resources, a timetable and evaluation are key. The process of powerful dissemination is definitely very complex.
After six years of Scientix ambassadorship I have had several opportunities to disseminate many STEM topics. This year, I set the goal to find a new and dynamic method of dissemination. How to increase the number of Scientix enthusiasts in my local community and beyond?
The community of STEM practitioners and enthusiasts who love Scientix has steadily been growing, but as all teachers know, there is always room for improvement. With the hope that COVID was, if not coming to an end, then at least reaching a controllable level, I planned to present a hands-on, live workshop to my peers at the biggest Croatian technology conference, CUC. The Croatian Academy Research Network (CARNET) users conference (CUC) is an annual autumn gathering of CARNET users and associates. These include primary and high school teachers, faculty professors, system engineers and coordinators, members of the scientific research community, as well as IT professionals and businesspeople from areas of information and communication technology. The conference represents a platform for the exchange of information, knowledge and experience and the development of cooperation between people who have access to ICT, primarily the Internet, and its associated advanced forms of use, primarily in education, using modern pedagogical approaches. It is attended by ministers from the Education department and international speakers as well. The workshop was a true labour of love with two fellow Scientix ambassadors, Maja Mačinko and Anita Čorak, but it also served the purpose to bring together a unique group of ambassadors who had bigger plans.
An idea was born by Karolina Brleković who suggested to six of us to devise a dissemination plan promoting Scientix to the entire teaching community in Croatia. It was an ambitious undertaking, but teachers are nothing if not brave and always ready for a challenge.
The ease with which my colleagues accepted the task was inspirational and so Marica Jurec, Anita Čorak, Ella Rakovac Bekeš, Aleksandra Brmbota, Karolina and I swiftly came up with a plan. This group of women who come from various backgrounds, different cities and divergent communities are united in their love of STEM and Scientix. It was no mean feat to devise an ambitious plan of action. This included a list of topics and themes, a division of responsibilities and a breakdown of presenter teams. Each webinar was to be hosted by a pair of ambassadors with the support of our NCP Tina Marković. This support was crucial not only for promotional purposes but also as Tina granted us access to the Croatian Education management application (EMA) which logged participants and issued certificates of attendance after each webinar.
The Scientix team allowed us the use of the Scientix Online Meeting Room to host our live events, and the technical support Rocio and Maria provided was indispensable.
Commencing in November, we decided to dedicate the first Wednesday of each month to a specific topic. This was our final choice:
- An introductory webinar in which each ambassador participated in a panel discussion with the aim of motivating participants to join Scientix and also discussing the topics of future webinars.
- What is Scientix? Describing the basic principles of Scientix, the history, growth and possibilities of the portal and the community.
- Scientix and the European Schoolnet Academy. Detailing the MOOCs available to the community and the unique partnership that brings us training, resources and support.
- The Scientix blog. What are blogs in general, how to write a great blog, how to contribute to Scientix and the SDC by submitting a blog post.
- The STEM Discovery Campaign. Presenting the theme of this year’s campaign, encouraging colleagues to participate with their own events and introducing them to the various competitions.
- How to become a STEM enthusiast? This webinar was very special as the guests we invited explained why teaching STEM in schools is a wonderful foundation for building a successful career in STEM.
- Projects, resources and examples of good practise. The final webinar will take place in May. As a culmination of this wonderful series our hope is to share examples of our work with Scientix to inspire as many colleagues as possible.
Each session so far has been attended by hundreds of teachers. The response has been overwhelming and humbling. The hope was to inspire our peers and colleagues to discover the immense possibilities Scientix offers. It was also our desire to connect with people, offer our support and expertise but also motivate them to embark on a new path of learning. As we near the end of our series of webinars, we are already planning ahead to new challenges and possibilities. Scientix is a fountain of inspiration enabling us to innovate our teaching and encourage our pupils to embrace the challenges that lie ahead. No matter what subject you teach, what specific backgrounds you come from or what scientific topic interests you the most, Scientix will answer all your needs.
For the six of us, the future is clear as we continue our quest to motivate, inspire and disseminate the community that brought us together. Thank you, Scientix.
About the author:
Anita Šimac is a mathematics teacher and teacher mentor in Osnovna škola Petra Preradovića, Zadar, Croatia. A Scientix ambassador for Croatia since 2016. Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, National Geographic Certified Educator and STEM project enthusiast.