12638 OL: What Curiosity Sounds Like: Lessons on Open Learning from Radiolab

06/11/2015 @ 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
The Orpheum B

Organizers: Jennifer Borland, Molly Webster

What does open learning look like when delivered via broadcast airwaves? What happens when public audiences engage in science alongside STEM professionals? What does curiosity sound like?

Radiolab has finely honed its unique brand of curiosity-driving programming that hooks listeners with well-crafted narratives—chock-full of science but never short on humor and wit. The Discovery Dialogues project, however, sought to go a step further by providing new types of interactive and participatory experiences for public audiences (especially younger adults) through a combination of freely available broadcast and podcast programming, live shows across the United States, and a variety of multimedia resources and opportunities to interact both online and face-to-face including maker events, citizen science data collection initiatives, live-tweeting events with great line-ups of special guests and STEM experts, and an online naming competition that allowed Radiolab listeners to determine the name for a newly theorized precursor to humans and many other mammalian species (wherein the “hypothetical placental mammal” ultimately came to be known as “Shrewdinger.”)

This short talk will explore specific instances where audiences came to be more engaged in science and were able to develop deeper understanding of science through topics and events designed to pique curiosity by actively engaging audiences with science, rather than hearing about it secondhand. Join us as we seek to uncover what happens when listeners become active creators and influencers of science content rather than passive recipients of information.

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