In 2018 we ran eight zones. Three I’m an Engineer zones in February–March ( Health, Production and Space), and five I’m a Scientist zones in November (Environmental Care, Genes, New Materials, Smart Data and Neon).
- Engagement levels in IAS have increased in IAS when compared with the 2017 event. An additional 11 schools took part (58 in 2018, compared with 47 in 2017), and 420 additional students registered (1,958, up from 1,538). Students asked nearly twice as many questions as were asked in 2017 (5,057, up from 2,559).
- We have demonstrated the success of online engagement in terms of reaching students who are normally underserved by the sector. 1,360 students from SFI target counties took part (58% of total students). These students asked 3,425 questions in ASK, and contributed nearly 10,000 lines of live chat.
- Additionally, the project continues to offer scientists and engineers the opportunity to engage with students on a national level, without the need for travel from their place of work: “I loved the idea of getting the chance to engage with younger students on a national level, all without having to travel around the country.” — Engineer, post-event interview
- Students reported that they were inspired to study STEM subjects, saw that scientists and engineers are people like them, and saw how what they learn in school relates to the world around them:
- “I’ve learnt a lot about the daily tasks of a scientist and how much science and scientific research means to society and even in our daily everyday lives. Although, most importantly I’ve realized that I myself want to pursue a career related to science.” — Student, post-event survey
- “I have learnt that scientists aren’t just super geniuses or evil scientists (only some!). I have learnt that scientists are also like everyday people I meet!” — Student, post-event survey
- “i thought having a job that has go to do with science would be very stressful day to day but the scientist i have met and read about made me aware of the good parts of being a scientist and that made me change my ways of thinking and motivated me into thinking of taking up a job that includes S.T.E.M.” — Student, post-event survey
- The online format allowed every student in the class to engage:
- “I really liked the communication format because students, not having to speak in front of everybody, felt free to ask questions that might have been very curious to them but that would have never asked in person, because shy or afraid (wrongly) to look less clever.” — Scientist, post-event survey
- When asked to rate the effectiveness of the projects in terms of engaging the whole class — on a scale from 1 (not very effective) to 5 (highly effective) — teachers gave an average score of 4.3 (n=26).
- “Every chat I did I felt like all the kids were fully engaging and really wanted to learn more about engineering.” — Engineer, post-event interview
- Taking part revitalises scientists’ and engineers’ attitudes to their own work:
- 74% (n=23) reported improved enthusiasm towards their own work; 70% (n=23) reported an increased appreciation of the value of their own work.
- Taking part develops participants’ interest in, confidence, and skill at public engagement and communicating their work:
- 74% (n=23) of scientists and engineers reported an increased interest in public engagement; 70% (n=23) reported increased confidence, and 70% (n=23) increased skill at communicating their work.
- Severe weather and snow during Engineers’ Week in February 2018 led to significant school closures; despite this we managed to maintain some level of engagement in the IAE project even during the closures.