16 November 2020
By Arti Dumbrepatil
How hot is Jupiter? Can you show the process of chromosome segregation? How does the brain control movement in your leg? All this science seems complicated because of the scientific jargon but there is a lot more to experiencing these basic concepts of life than just reading some heavy worded paragraphs. It is high time that we re-think about developing science communication strategies that will cover everything, from making the language used accessible to non-specialists or children, getting through to sensorial or physical challenged students, as well as making science fun for special needs students and community.
Living in these unprecedented times we need to re-strategize the usual science communication channels to develop innovative and inclusive strategies. These strategies should account for multiple factors including better understanding of science, or just to make people realize that science is fun, and at times to inspire a future generation, while also raising aspirations of young minds to pursue a career in science.
Science communication should reflect the aims, and then meet the needs of those we are seeking to communicate to. Thinking about the barriers for each cohort of audience will allow better tailoring. For example, the amazing podcasts that are available online might be more inclusive with explanations in sign language and/or with subtitles in different languages. To a further extend, it we need translation of the science communication articles in braille making it available to the visually challenged people.
Giving the person an ability to touch, feel, and experience a scientific fact will help increase the awareness of science for students with learning disabilities. Communicating science not only in words but in form of small innovative experiments that help to live through the scientific fact will be a step further in promoting and making science more inclusive. Re-thinking ways to make science communication effective will not only help the scientific community but will motivate students to revolutionize scientific temperament. Experiencing the hot atmosphere of Jupiter using hot water is more relatable to a blind student than just reading about the temperature of Jupiter. Similarly, establishing and completing a synapse-based circuit and controlling the movement of the doll, will make a wheelchair-bound student interested in understanding the different ways the brain controls the muscle movement. Science communication needs to break these boundaries and dive into a new era which will make it not only more inclusive but also will help to advance communication strategies in overcoming learning disabilities. Why should the wordy communication restraints hamper the advancement of the scientific community? It will depend on our re-thinking the ways of science communication on how we see the scientific field evolve to accommodate every single individual in a society.