Bielefeld-Cebitec-2020-Education And Public Engagement
Education And Public Engagement
Let’s introduce synthetic biology to society in a different way
I probably know most about whale hunting from Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”, most about the British society in the late 18th century from Jane Austin’s “ Pride and Prejudice” and I probably thought most about the connection of intelligence and happiness when reading “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes.
So why not learning about synthetic biology in a story?Understanding what synthetic biology is and how synthetic biology can contribute to making our everyday-life better is a difficult task. Especially for people who are not in contact to this field of research, since the public image of synthetic biology is not the best and most people are associating this field of research with fear. Several iGEM teams and synthetic biology teaching projects have shown that the fear regarding synthetic biology can be reduced by introducing examples of research projects to dismantle synthetic biology as abstract topic. We think that getting in contact with synthetic biology projects is a lot easier for people who are already interested in this matter and aimed for reaching the people who usually would not get in contact with these teaching projects. Furthermore, we wanted to design a fun way to learn about synthetic biology and associated projects.
In times of a pandemic: How to reach people without being physically represented?
In times of Corona it is more difficult to reach people and teach them about synthetic biology than usual. All of the events where we as iGEM Team distributed knowledge the last years, simply did not take place this year. That is why we asked ourselves how we can reach people via distance to act Corona compliant and which target group do we want to address. We decided to invest in the future by sharing our knowledge with the next generation. So we decided to reach out to children between the ages of 10 and 14.
An audiobook: A playful way to teach the youth about synthetic biologySince we found it difficult to assess the level of knowledge of 10-14 year olds worldwide and especially difficult, to formulate the content in English in an understandable and correct manner for this age group, we recorded the audio files in German. However, we also translated the audio book into English, so that everyone can read the story. By also making it available as text, people with hearing impairments can also follow the story and we can make it accessible to more people. Another reason was, that we also found it easier to find a medium on which we could make it accessible to children in Germany than to children from all over the world.
With the help of the university radio, Hertz 87.9 and especially Dorian, who is part of the radio team, we recorded the audio book in a professional studio and would like to thank the radio again for the support.