AMSS 2018: Education perspective

As an Informal Science Educator (ISE – yep that’s a real job) I come to these kinds of conferences with a bit of a different perspective. As a practitioner of the “soft” sciences (social and human dimensions) we don’t often have presentations here. Instead, we are looking to refresh relationships, build new connections, go to meetings (lots of meetings) and find out what our colleagues in the “hard” sciences have been up to – all with the angle on how we might be able to transform their findings into lessons, programs, and other media to teach the public about marine science.

Over the last two days, I have attended a fantastic lunch workshop, “Understanding the Arctic Through a Co-production of Knowledge” organized and hosted by Carolina Behe of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, Julie Raymond-Yakoubian from Kawerak Inc., and Raychelle Aluaq Daniel at Pew Charitable Trusts. In a nutshell, it was a conversation about the importance of respecting, identifying, and leveraging different knowledge systems with different methodologies and the need for collaborative approaches in identifying research questions.


How can western science and methods work together with traditional native ways of knowing to help us understand the natural world and the changes that are happening to it?

The conversation centered on subjects like; Trust and Respect, Empowerment, Capacity, Decolonization, and Equity in Collaboration. I’m looking forward to giving all of this some more thought over the coming days but my initial desire is to help facilitate and organize this kind of conversation at the ASLC for our researchers, staff, and partners.

Now to convince Carolina, Julie, and Raychelle into taking a trip down to Seward!

Jeff Dillon, Julie, Raychelle, & Carolina

As an ISE, our focus is on Outreach (itself a troublesome word – perhaps for another blog post), or how we can take the results of science and educate our audiences about it. I’ll save my thoughts on how I’d like to see outreach evolve for later, but I was struck by the willingness of everyone in the room (well at least those that spoke up) to embrace this idea of a Co-production of Knowledge. It was unexpected, encouraging, and most importantly inclusive! All things we look for in a good education opportunity.

It helped remind me that as much as we ISEs are always looking to teach others, our first and most important students are ourselves. “…Teacher, teach thyself.” – St. John of Kronstadt

Written by: Jeff Dillon, Senior Education Manager

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