Monday, 30 May 2011

Europlanet's National Outreach Nodes meet up in Meudon

Europlanet Outreach Nodes (left to right): Magda (Romania),
Martina (Austria), Zdenek (Czech Republic/Slovakia),
Livia (Italy), Eleni (Greece/Europlanet Core Team),
Thierry (France/Europlanet Coordinator), Olivier (webmaster),
Emil (Germany), Jean-Pierre (Europlanet Outreach Advisor),
Anita (UK/Europlanet Core Team) & Hanna (Switzerland)
Thanks to all the Europlanet national nodes who attended the biannual node meeting at the Observatoire de Paris-Meudon on the 23-24th May.

The meeting was an opportunity to share experiences and update each other on activities, as well as to learn some new skills.

Olivier Marco, Europlanet’s outreach webmaster, gave a morning workshop on using new features on the website, plus an overview of Social Media tools available, including Twitter, Facebook.   This led to some very interesting discussion on differences between social media use in different countries and how much social media requires a personal face and how to manage the personal/professional divide in forums like Facebook.

During the meeting, two case studies of outreach projects were presented by Livia Giacomini, the Italian Node, and Emil Khasili, the German Node:

Livia presented a practical case study of how INAF have used social media to promote and develop a community for the Italian team entering the International Astronomy Olympics.  Before setting up the project Livia and her colleague, Stefano Sandrelli, spent some time finding out from the audiences they were targeting (teenagers and professional astronomers) which social media tools they used. This highlighted how much variation there is in social media use by different age-groups e.g. the Olimpiadi Italiane Di Astronomia Facebook page has been hugely successful for building a community of Italian teenagers. However, Livia’s survey showed that the same audience would not use Twitter at all. Download Livia’s presentation.

Emil presented a very honest and interesting review of a Saturn-themed schools event that he organised in Heilbronn, Germany, in April 2011.  The presentation generated a very useful discussion on how to build networks with educators and existing outreach providers, how to plan events that fit in with the constraints of a school’s curriculum and timetable and how to evaluate the success of an event.  Download Emil’s presentation