"Evolution decoded", Public workshop for educators, science communicators and artists

Organized by: WG3 Non-formal education group of the Euroscitizen COST action
Joelyn de Lima, Bojan Kenig, Tamara Milosevic, Uros Savkovic, Despina Tsopoglou-Gkina

Date of the workshop: April 28th 2022 16:00 to 18:00 CET

Workshop format: Online 

Workshop language: English

Maximum number of participants:  40 admitted on a first-come first-served basis
(if more participants sign up, a waiting list will be formed)

Deadline for applications: April 25th 2022

Application form: https://forms.gle/2XikRaZvSamUUy5r7 

Workshop goals

This online workshop will offer educators, journalists, artists and a broad general audience an opportunity to discover basic concepts that make evolution take place – on a historic scale, but also much faster, as we have seen during the COVID19 pandemic.

Through a series of interactive exercises, the workshop facilitators will offer everyone a chance to decode why mutations happen, and what is the role of environment and selection in evolving organisms. 

Workshop topics

  • How do mutations arise and can they get fixed?
  • How does the environment influence evolution?
  • How does selection contribute to population dynamics?
  • What are the common misconceptions about evolution? 

Alignment with Euroscitizen goals

This workshop is organized by WG3 to disseminate some evolution-based activities that can be used in and outside of the classroom for teachers and non-formal education community. It also serves as a chance to test the online workshop format to address evolution misconceptions and therefore addresses the challenge of assessing non-formal learning activities. 

This workshop has the aim to promote synergies between stakeholder groups (more specifically between different groups of educators, science communicators and artists) to maximize the public’s science literacy. It directly contributes to generating materials to empower different stakeholders to effectively use their knowledge and skills to contribute to evolution and science literacy. Finally, it promotes outreach actions, activities and events built by interdisciplinary teams to foster public scientific literacy and fight “fake news”.

Workshop facilitators

Despina Tsopoglou-Gkina

Despina is a biologist working in secondary education since 2016, as bridging her scientific interests with education has always been an aspiration of her. Having a research background in Biology (B.Sc.) and Ecology and Natural Resource Management (M.Sc.), she is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Didactics of Biology aiming to shift her research focus on Science Education. 

Joelyn de Lima

Joelyn thinks of herself as both a scientist and an educator, and therefore she is very passionate about science education (both formal and informal). Her academic training has been both in the natural sciences (Masters in Marine Science) and in Education (PhD focused on Undergraduate Biology education). She has experience teaching science in the classroom (grades 5-undergrad), and around the campfire (children and adults). Currently, she is working as a pedagogical advisor at EPFl, and is involved in numerous science education projects across the globe. 

Bojan Kenig

Bojan holds a Ph.D. in biology. Before starting his work at the Centre for the promotion of science (CPN), he was employed as a researcher at the Department for Genetics of Populations, IBISS, University of Belgrade. From the start of his research career, he has been active in science communication projects. Bojan is currently responsible for designing, organizing, and implementing informal education activities, mainly in STEAM disciplines. Furthermore, he has been continuously forming a sustainable network that brings together scientists and artists, encouraging their cooperation and the development of joint projects as a coordinator of the CPN art+science program. 

Uros Savkovic

Uroš is an evolutionary biologist currently affiliated with the University of Belgrade. His research is focused on the experimental evolution approach in studying various phenomena including aging, ability of host switching and the effects of population density using a seed beetle as a model system. All of his work is conducted at the Department of Evolutionary Biology at the Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković”. Uroš loves to share the stories about evolution to the general public and is a passionate science communicator. 

Tamara Milosevic

Tamara holds a Ph.D. in biology and she has been a formal and non-formal educator for adult learners for the last 10 years. In addition to developing and teaching project-based learning courses for interdisciplinary bachelor, master and PhD students in France, she is also a teacher trainer and pedagogical advisor at the Teaching support center at EPFL, Switzerland, and a pedagogical coach on two Erasmus+ projects. Her passion for raising scientific literacy led her to co-found Rhizome Association, which strives to imagine and implement life-long learning focusing on skills development through projects at the interface of science and arts.

Assessment decoded: A follow-up to Evolution decoded

Date of the workshop: in May, to be confirmed with interested participants

Workshop format: Online 

In addition to the main workshop, an additional workshop will be offered to facilitators/educators who themselves want to learn about the assessment of evolution-themed activities. This workshop will explain to the participants how the assessment was implemented for the main workshop in which they participated. 

For those who want to know more

Through both workshops, we will use the dissemination materials created previously, including the Brochure on evolution (available in French, English and Serbian), Coronavirus eBook (available in Portuguese, English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Serbian), and the introduction to assessment video by Anna Beniermann. Please feel free to consult these resources before or after the workshops.