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7th Science Centre World Summit: “Connecting the World for a Sustainable Future”

By Kogie Govender, Science Engagement Coordinator, SAEON
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SAEON’s science engagement coordinator, Kogie Govender, at the 7th Science Centre World Summit in Tokyo.

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The Geo-Cosmo exhibit collects real-time scientific data from space and displays it on the globe.

Kogie Govender, SAEON’s science engagement coordinator, presented a paper at the 7th Science Centre World Summit held in the Japanese city of Tokyo from 15 to 17 November 2017.

The theme of the conference was, “Connecting the World for a Sustainable Future”.

The event was attended by 828 delegates from 98 countries, consisting of representatives from science centres, museums, policy-makers, higher education institutions, research facilities and industry.

Discover your Earth

A dynamic plenary session was held with Dr Mamoru "Mark" Mohri, Japan’s first astronaut and now the director at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Miraikan were the conference was held. Through his space missions, Dr Mohri experienced what author Frank White terms, “an overview effect that causes a cognitive shift in awareness from viewing the Earth from orbit”. This cognitive shift led him to realise the importance of science engagement in ensuring that Planet Earth is protected.

The Geo-Cosmo exhibit, that illustrates the wonders of science and allows one to view Earth from space, was the brainchild of Dr Mohri. This exhibit collects real-time scientific data from space and displays it on the globe. Linked to the Geo-Cosmo exhibit is the Geo-Scope interactive exhibit that has a collection of Earth observation data from various local and international scientists as well as research institutions.

“During my interactions with the Geo-Scope, I was able to view the migration of the Artic Tern from Greenland to the South Pole by comparing ocean temperatures and the ecology of living things,” explains Kogie. “These exhibits spark a passion for science in the many visitors to the museum.”

Creative informatics for the Earth

In this session, the presentations demonstrated the collaborations between Japanese scientists, the science museum in Miraikan and Google Earth that led to big data programmes being conceptualised and implemented in classrooms. Science engagement promoted scientific enquiry on key concepts of data modelling through thinking around why and how to gather and use data. The big data programmes were developed using the principle of co-design, which actively involves all stakeholders in the design process to ensure that the end result meets the needs of all stakeholders.

Visualising data in support of smart decision-making

Through the science centre, high school learners in Singapore are given a SENSg device that passively collects data on their movements, which learners then analyse. One set of data collected is the mode of transport they use to travel to school. The learners use this data to calculate their carbon footprint. The benefit of this programme is that they learn more about the Internet of Things and Big Data through using tools to teach them to read and analyse information, interpret visualisations and make comparisons.

Partnerships for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Kogie’s paper presentation, “Save the planet and save the children or make a profit”, looked at the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships in promoting the sustainable development goals. In this session, six speakers from six different countries shared their stories of how multi-stakeholder partnerships enhanced their science-engagement programmes.

Tokyo Protocol

The conference resulted in the formulation of the Tokyo Protocol with inputs from the global science centre/museum networks. The Tokyo Protocol endorses the important role that science centres/museums need to play in promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in diverse communities and showcasing this work to decision-makers.

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