Science Museum Group reflection on science capital

‘The powerful concept of science capital can change the practice of the Science Museum Group and potentially that of many people involved in informal science learning.’
Tom O’Leary, Director of Learning SMG


Science museums and science centres are a place where people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy, explore and engage with the wonders of science and be inspired to find out more – they are places where people’s attitudes towards STEM can be positively influenced.

Science capital is helping us to understand what influences people’s engagement with STEM and which we can use to enable us to make our whole museum experience as open and accessible to as wide an audience as possible. We can see that the more that people bump into positive ‘science’ experiences across our museum’s and across the sector, the more potential there is for people to grow their science capital.

The Science Museum Group’s learning vision is ‘to enrich the lives of a large and diverse audience by igniting their curiosity in science’. Our museums are great places to connect and engage our visitors with STEM, and so by applying science capital principles to our work we believe that we are creating better opportunities for greater engagement with STEM.

Applying science capital research to our practice

Through the Enterprising Science project, the Science Museum Group has been exploring ways to apply a science capital approach for the informal learning sector and to integrate its principles through out our museums. It’s a work in progress but through museum wide staff workshops and communication we are using the research to:

  • Reflect on our day-to-day practice using science engagement reflection points based on the dimensions of science capital
  • Audit and reflect on our current offer to help us recognise our strengths and to identify challenges and new opportunities in our existing offer
  • Review and improve the support and information we provide for visitors to maximize the learning opportunities of a museum visits, including teacher CPD, museum resources and home and classroom activities

 

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