Teaching teachers to integrate cichlid phylogeny, resin sculptures, and drawing in k12+ classrooms

The longer I am involved with art-science integration, the more time I get to spend teaching teachers — teaching them how to use drawing in science education.

Cichlid specimen (R) & cichlid sculptural models (L)
It’s an incredible perk of the work I do, as I’ve written about before.In June, I co-taught a Summer Teaching Institute focused on “Exploring Art & Science.” The institute was organized by the University of Wyoming Art Museum’s Education Curator Katie Christensen, along with Master Teacher Heather Bender, and Artmobile Coordinator Erica Ramsey. Together, they and the rest of the Art Museum team are great advocates and partners for art-science work on campus and beyond.

During the institute, my teaching focus was drawing-based science learning and assessment strategies. We started with basic drawing techniques. I walked participants through a toolkit development session which involved lots of practice drawing. Several of these techniques are discussed in previous newsletters and/or in my guide Sketching and Field Journal Basics.

We also discussed how to facilitate these techniques so that students have lots of informal low-stakes practice before they are formally assessed (the difference, say, between in-class practice and a test). Skill- and confidence-building like this is a critical part of engaging students in the benefits of drawing to learn.

We then applied these skills to observational drawings of cichlids (an extremely diverse group of fishes which includes tilapia). The cichlid specimens were provided by Dr. Katie Wagner, ecologist-in-residence for the institute. Dr. Wagner, along with Drs Dorothy Tuthill and Brian Barber, spent the week helping us all better understand descent-with-modification and other elements of the evolutionary process.

Ultimately, with the guidance of sculptor Adrian Vetter, participants sketched out plans, and sketched to document progress, as they made fish mobiles (based on cichlids) which demonstrated the principles of phylogenetic trees.

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We’re doing some distance-learning elements of the institute throughout the rest of the month, and by then we should have a solid sense of how participants will use these practices in their own classrooms.

If you’re interested in how to facilitate any of these activities in your own educational setting, I’d love to chat and/or connect you with my co-instructors.

SciArt illustration contracts for your science communication project (Using Images-A Best Practices Primer, Part 5)

This article is the fifth in a series aimed at helping you enhance your #scicommand #sciart by avoiding #visualplagiarism. It will do so by laying out some best practices for dealing with images (which are, by their nature) visual intellectual property protected by copyrights.

NOTE: I am not a lawyer, and no part of this article or series should be construed as legal advice. 

Please chime in, in the comments or by contacting me, if you have suggestions for how to enhance this article or the series.

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Hiring an illustrator doesn’t have to feel like wizardry. A well-written contract can simplify and enhance the experience. (Student assessing stream water quality, ©2017)

FAIR-TO-GENEROUS ILLUSTRATION CONTRACTS

In addition to the 4Cs of commissioning SciArt, there are four major considerations you will need to take into account when you work with an illustrator.

They are: contracts, what you want, your time frame, and what you can spend. This article breaks down the first of those, contracts. Continue reading SciArt illustration contracts for your science communication project (Using Images-A Best Practices Primer, Part 5)

Getting the most out of working with an illustrator for your science communication project (Using Images-A Best Practices Primer, Part 4)

This article is the fourth in a series aimed at helping you enhance your #scicommand #sciart by avoiding #visualplagiarism. It will do so by laying out some best practices for dealing with images (which are, by their nature) visual intellectual property protected by copyrights.

NOTE: I am not a lawyer, and no part of this article or series should be construed as legal advice. 

Please chime in, in the comments or by contacting me, if you have suggestions for how to enhance this article or the series.

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Custom illustrations can make your science communication more compelling. And they don’t have to be hard to get or break your budget. (Child drawing a bison, ©2017)

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF WORKING WITH AN ILLUSTRATOR

As discussed in the first article, humans are visual animals. As a result, your image choices are fundamental to communicating the significance of your research and the information you want your students to understand. Images are often key to engaging people, let alone convincing an audience to support science research or policy making based on scientific evidence. And, image choice is critical for people relating to scientists as people, and picturing themselves as having a stake in science, or becoming a scientist themselves.

Also note: Much of what this article addresses – the basics of working with an illustrator – is also relevant to working with other professional image creators (e.g. photographers, graphic designers, animators, etc.). Continue reading Getting the most out of working with an illustrator for your science communication project (Using Images-A Best Practices Primer, Part 4)

Finding great scicomm & presentation images for free (Using Images-A Best Practices Primer, Part 2)

This article is the second in a series aimed at helping you enhance your #scicomm and #sciart by avoiding #visualplagiarism. It will do so by laying out some best practices for dealing with images (which are, by their nature) visual intellectual property protected by copyrights.

NOTE: I am not a lawyer, and no part of this article or series should be construed as legal advice. 

Please chime in, in the comments or by contacting me, if you have suggestions for how to enhance this article or the series.

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The internet is full of great images you can ethically and legally use for free, like these ofHedy Lamarr (co-developer of frequency hopping, the forerunner of the internet) and one of her patent figures. (Source: public domain images from Wikimedia Commons & Google Patents.)

FINDING GREAT FREE SCICOMM IMAGES

In the first article in this series, we looked at essential definitions at play when using images. We also ran through a series of tips, including how to approach someone about asking permission to reproduce their image, the constraints of U.S. Fair Use laws, and more.

In this article, we’ll focus on how to find great images to use in your SciComm, whether that is a conference talk or poster, a lecture in the class you teach, an outreach project, or something else.

There are several ways to access free high-quality images. The following are recommended: Continue reading Finding great scicomm & presentation images for free (Using Images-A Best Practices Primer, Part 2)

Tips for ethical and legal use of images in science presentations and other science communication (Using Images-A Best Practices Primer, Part 1)

When you are looking for great images to communicate about science, the internet is a treasure trove. But it is easy to overstep legal and ethical boundaries.

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Where your images come from, and how you get them, matters. (Sketching jackrabbit specimens, ©2017)

This article is the first in a series aimed at helping you enhance your #scicomm and #sciart by avoiding #visualplagiarism. It will do so by laying out some best practices for dealing with images (which are, by their nature) visual intellectual property protected by copyrights.

NOTE: I am not a lawyer, and no part of this article or series should be construed as legal advice. 

Please chime in, in the comments or by contacting me, if you have suggestions for how to enhance this article or the series.


DEFINITIONS & TIPS FOR ETHICAL AND LEGAL IMAGE USE

Images are a crucial element of compelling science communication.

After all, something like 50% of our brains are keyed in to visual stimuli. And, more than ever, compelling images are easy to find on the internet. That makes the internet a powerful #VisualSciComm tool.

However, like most tools, how you use the internet to source images can have serious implications — in this case for your outreach, reputation, and efficacy.

No matter the use — presenting during a lab meeting, to a public audience, in a classroom, at a conference, or communicating via websites, news agencies, press offices, and social media — using images ethically and legally is an important part of the #scicomm and #sciart process. 

To help you do this, this article series is comprised of several sections: Definitions and Tips (covered today). As the series continues, we’ll also talk about Top Image Sources, How to find the creator/copyright holder of an image you want to use, Working with an illustrator, and Creating your own images.

Continue reading Tips for ethical and legal use of images in science presentations and other science communication (Using Images-A Best Practices Primer, Part 1)