2419 Views
  1. John Fraser
  2. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8383-0699
  3. President & CEO
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Knology
  1. Joe Heimlich
  2. Director of Research
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. COSI Center for Research and Evaluation
  1. Kelly Riedinger
  2. http://stem.oregonstate.edu/people/kelly-riedinger
  3. Senior Researcher
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Oregon State University
  1. Amy Rutherford
  2. https://www.aza.org/staff
  3. Director, Professional Development & Education
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)
Facilitators’
Choice

Collaborative Research: STEM Matters: Investigating the Confluence of Visitor...

NSF Awards: 1612729

2020 (see original presentation & discussion)

Informal / multi-age

Zoos and aquariums are the most well attended and demographically diverse audience of any paid STEM learning destination. A vast international body of research has demonstrated that Z/As can result in substantive learning outcomes for individuals, and can galvanize social action around specific conservation issues. This presentation provides an overview of the national research collaborative leading this research based on three core questions:

1) How do public perceptions of zoos and aquariums (Z/As) sit within the informal STEM learning ecology? and How does the public institutional voice of Z/As advance STEM in that context?;

2) What are the conditions of the visit within the life stage and learning ecology of the individual? How are entry themes reconciled with institutional mission?; and

3) How do visitor entry characteristics play out in behaviors during a visit?

The model represents a new wave of studies integrating the personal experience with the societal context and the public voice of the sector. It builds on past studies through integrated parallel research to develop a more accurate view of the learning in a social matrix interacting where institutions work as both direct sources of information and social actors influencing public discourse.

It demonstrates a new national model for coordinated sector-wide research, that works at the local and national level to describe more fully how informal learning institutions are situated in a heterogeneous range of learning opportunities, and to understand how that constellation contributes to national science literacy.

This video has had approximately 632 visits by 508 visitors from 333 unique locations. It has been played 283 times.
Click to See Activity Worldwide
Map reflects activity with this presentation from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase website, as well as the STEM For All Multiplex website.
Based on periodically updated Google Analytics data. This is intended to show usage trends but may not capture all activity from every visitor.
show more
Original Discussion from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Alan Peterfreund

    Alan Peterfreund

    Facilitator
    May 4, 2020 | 03:03 p.m.

    Beautifully produced piece and a really interesting project.  How are you disseminating your findings back to the participating zoos and aquariums?

  • Icon for: Amy Rutherford

    Amy Rutherford

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 03:48 p.m.

    Thanks Alan, as Johnny referenced AZA has a robust professional development program for zoo and aquarium professionals. We are working with the research teams and instructors in our courses to integrate the findings into course curriculum. These efforts include courses aimed at education staff and leadership, those involved in the exhibit design process, and mid-level leadership across the field. We will have the first opportunity to offer courses with these new elements later this year and into 2021.

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Mariana Enriquez
    Sasha Palmquist
  • Icon for: John Fraser

    John Fraser

    Lead Presenter
    President & CEO
    May 4, 2020 | 04:40 p.m.

    Thanks for being one of the folks to kick off the discussion. Dissemination is a rather layered effort. AZA (co-presenter @Amy Rutherford) is working with the folks who lead professional development for the association to fold findings and implications into the professional development course materials. We present at the two AZA conferences each year. These presentations happen with a variety of committees that reach educators, researchers, marketing and PR folks, and we've done webinars for directors, educators, and pr/marketing folks. With 102 participating z/a's, we've also been sending the reports out to our prime contacts at each of these zoos/aquariums, so they are feeding outward in the administrative structure of our partners, and that represents half the field. We have a website for anyone in the field to review at WZAM.org blog and of course, we list our current peer-reviewed publications on that site. Most of the AZA folks are following the website updates.  We have a book coming up that will synthesize our results in the context of the larger field of learning in zoos and aquariums (Springer Nature) due out in late fall, early spring 2020, and i have another related book that is being submitted this Friday to University of Cambridge Press.  So, LOTS of sharing. I think the biggest vector for uptake, though, is our research partners working in the member institutions. They were active contributors because the project is really participatory action research. The member institutions are working hand in hand with our research teams, so it's really been an open and transparent project by the field, with the field, and for the field.

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Mariana Enriquez
    Sasha Palmquist
  • Icon for: Patrick Honner

    Patrick Honner

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 08:09 a.m.

    The video definitely broadened my perspective on zoos and aquariums. My primary experiences are as a visitor with young children, so it's interesting to see these institutions again through the lens of STEM education -- in particular the roles of zoos and aquariums as a central STEM authority in the eyes of the public.

    I find it fascinating that nearly 30% of visitors are adults without children. Is there any additional data about who these visitors are and why they visit?

    In my personal experiences, I have definitely noticed an increase in the presence of STEM's T and E at zoos and aquariums, like exhibits that explain the technology and engineering involved in rescue and rehabilitation. I find these great opportunities to start and further conversations with my children during our visit, but as a STEM educator I have a leg up on the average visitor. I wonder, how are zoos and aquariums trying to capitalize on these opportunities with the general public, both during visits and after they've left?

     

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Amy Rutherford
  • Icon for: John Fraser

    John Fraser

    Lead Presenter
    President & CEO
    May 5, 2020 | 09:03 a.m.

    Thanks for the note Patrick.  Indeed, we have a ton of data on visitor types, thanks to the data collected by our colleagues Kelly Reidinger at OSU and Joe Heimlich at COSI. They did extensive interviewing and know a lot about visitors. They can add more to the discussion about demographics.  Our work on psychographics just completed a confirmatory study that's been 10 years in incubation and testing. That data hasn't made it to peer-review yet, but we know that visitors are much more attuned to conservation and value environmental protection, are more likely to be engaged in civic dialogue, and have more understanding of conservation issues than the general public, but are not distinct based on voting patterns. They look like all other voters, except environmental issues are top of mind. 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Sasha Palmquist
  • Icon for: Patrick Honner

    Patrick Honner

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 09:32 a.m.

    Very interesting. I look forward to hearing and learning more! Thanks for sharing, John.

  • Icon for: Kelly Riedinger

    Kelly Riedinger

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 04:40 p.m.

    Thanks for the question, Patrick. We collected video data at zoos and aquariums in our sample through mounting GoPro cameras at the entrances. We also complemented this data with intercept interviews at the entrance as well as longer entry and exit interviews with a select sample of groups. The groups who were adults visiting without children were usually couples on dates or adult family members. In both cases they were usually visiting as a way to spend time together or because a member of the group had a specific interest (e.g., someone working on their degree in conservation biology). 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Sasha Palmquist
  • Icon for: Joe Heimlich

    Joe Heimlich

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 04:56 p.m.

    And COSI's Center for Research and Evaluation conducted entry and exit questionnaires at 25 different Z/A and asked a lot of questions about life-stage and social roles along with affective, behavioral, and cognitive outcomes. We are currently working on analyses and one of the more exiting things are the cluster analyses we are setting up to try to better understand what attributes of who a person is/what they bring tie to different outcomes in what clusters. So lots more coming as we explore the data. Thanks for the question- the adult visitors without children is a group we are especially interested in exploring.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Sasha Palmquist
  • Icon for: Patrick Honner

    Patrick Honner

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 10:09 p.m.

    Thanks to you both for the details. Very interesting! I'll definitely be collecting some data myself the next time we're at the zoo or aquarium! Which hopefully won't be too long from now.

  • Icon for: Jessica Kaelblein

    Jessica Kaelblein

    Production Specialist
    May 5, 2020 | 01:29 p.m.

    Hi John. First, let me say thank you for commenting on our video, and congratulate you on your own! It was wonderful. As a former volunteer at the Mystic Aquarium, this issue is close to my heart. In your video you mention that your team has identified the 7 factors that influence public trust in zoos and aquariums. Could you elaborate on those and the graph you displayed?

  • Icon for: John Fraser

    John Fraser

    Lead Presenter
    President & CEO
    May 5, 2020 | 03:10 p.m.

    Hey Jessica,

    I replied below to Bradley Allf who asked the same question below.  Saw things in reverse order when I logged on or I'd have answered here first.  An interesting paper we published on the topic can be found here. 

    Rank, Shelley J.; Voiklis, John; Gupta, Rupanwita; Fraser, John R.; and Flinner, Kate (2018). Understanding Organizational Trust of

    Zoos and Aquariums. Kathleen P. Hunt (Ed.), Understanding the Role of Trust and Credibility in Science Communication.

    https://doi.org/10.31274/sciencecommunication-1...

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Mariana Enriquez
  • May 8, 2020 | 08:50 a.m.

    Thanks.  I was wondering the same thing.  We run a project at the Belle Isle Aquarium.  Always looking for ways to improve the visitor experience and to communicate environmental values better.  Due to financial difficulties 20 years ago we dropped out of AZA but we are revived, survived, and (until COVID-19 hit) thrived. Major fundraiser for the year, usually in June now canceled so the next year will be a challenge financially.  However, the grass roots saved us 10 years ago; we will need more than the roots going forward!  We will check out your 7 factors.  In the meantime, we are creating virtual educational visits to the Aquarium (e.g., see https://www.biaquariumstem.org/virtual-field-trip.html)

  • Icon for: Gail Scowcroft

    Gail Scowcroft

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 5, 2020 | 01:30 p.m.

    This is such an important project. With the majority of the public gaining science content from informal science institutions, we need to better understand how to make informal science learning learning "stick." I am very curious about your results related to the professional development of zoo and aquarium educators. Do you have early results that have been shared on the effective practices that you describe in your video. Well done!

  • Icon for: John Fraser

    John Fraser

    Lead Presenter
    President & CEO
    May 5, 2020 | 03:08 p.m.

    Gail, 

    Great to hear from you. Yes indeedie, there's a host of resources on the project website:  WZAM.org   The professional development programs are currently in development for testing in the fall.   Thanks for the great question.  

  • Icon for: Amy Rutherford

    Amy Rutherford

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 03:54 p.m.

    Thanks Gail, as Johnny said we are currently working with the research teams and instructors in our courses to integrate the findings into course curriculum. These efforts include courses aimed at education staff and leadership, those involved in the exhibit design process, and mid-level leadership across the field. We will have the first opportunity to offer courses with these new elements later this year and into 2021. We look forward to seeing how practitioners engage with this research and build new informed practices.

  • Icon for: Kelly Riedinger

    Kelly Riedinger

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 04:41 p.m.

    Thanks, Gail. I also wanted to add that we have a page on informalscience.org where we share some of our products as well: https://www.informalscience.org/stem-matters-investigating-confluence-visitor-and-institutional-learning-agendas

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Sasha Palmquist
  • Icon for: Bradley Allf

    Bradley Allf

    Graduate Student
    May 5, 2020 | 02:55 p.m.

    This was a beautiful and informative video, thank you for sharing it. Like Jessica mentioned, I am also interested in what the 7 factors were that the team identified as important for influencing public trust in zoos and aquariums. 

  • Icon for: John Fraser

    John Fraser

    Lead Presenter
    President & CEO
    May 5, 2020 | 03:06 p.m.

    Bradley,  

    You hit on one of our cutting room floor edits to get to the 3 minute mark.  The graph illustrates perceived favorability of zoos. For those who rate zoos less than perfect marks, we learned that there are seven criteria that are independently weighted in their assessment of trust in the institution.  I will attach a table here, but there's an open access paper that you might find interesting on this topic. The citation is followed by the DOI to download the paper:

    Rank, Shelley J.; Voiklis, John; Gupta, Rupanwita; Fraser, John R.; and Flinner, Kate (2018). Understanding Organizational Trust of Zoos and Aquariums. Kathleen P. Hunt (Ed.), Understanding the Role of Trust and Credibility in Science Communication.

    https://doi.org/10.31274/sciencecommunication-1...

    More simply, these are the factors:

    Categories

    Topics

    Ethical integrity

    Ethics

    Inform about specific animals

    Conservation agency

    Wildlife Agent, Informant, Activator

    Collaborator in conservation

    Transparency

    Advise on sustainability practices

    Quality

    Quality attraction

    Quality experience

     
    3
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Mariana Enriquez
    Tina Phillips
    Sasha Palmquist
  • May 5, 2020 | 06:25 p.m.

    Such interesting work! Can you talk more about what visitors were saying in between exhibits and why what they were saying might be important? 

  • Icon for: Kelly Riedinger

    Kelly Riedinger

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 02:53 p.m.

    Thanks for your question, Catherine. We asked participants in our study sample to wear GoPro cameras during their zoo/aquarium visit so that we could capture their full visit experience. We coded the videos for different types of talk including meaning-making talk which we defined as any talk where individuals or the group construct understanding or make sense of new information or content presented in Z/A exhibits and programming. We noted in our sample that visitors did not just engage in this type of talk at exhibits and we have some examples of visitors making meaning while walking between exhibits and in places such as the gift shop. As one example, a group with a mother and two sons leaves an octopus habitat and as they are walking on the path to the next exhibit, they discuss what they think the octopus eats. We think this finding is important because it highlights that learning doesn’t only happen in places where we design for it to happen. The meaning-making continues after visitors leave the exhibit, on the car ride and at home, as Joe’s group at COSI has learned in their study.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Sasha Palmquist
  • Icon for: Joe Heimlich

    Joe Heimlich

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 04:30 p.m.

    Oregon State's findings are very exciting as they confirm beliefs that lots of people assume to be. Likewise, in interviews of people (at six facilities) who visit multiple times, we have great evidence of cumulative learning (and metacognition of it), meaning making discussions in the car, at home as a family (and, of course, meals were mentioned), and other examples of how meaning is constructed post rather than during the visit or more specifically as Kelly points out, post one component of a visit.

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Mariana Enriquez
    Sasha Palmquist
  • May 8, 2020 | 08:57 a.m.

    So, the "gorilla cafe" (or some such other place to eat, including picnic areas) are part of making the zoo/aquarium experience "work" as informal self-education?  Interesting.  Unfortunately, our small Aquarium doesn't have any of those amenities. (there is a small gift shop, but so small it's not likely that much conversation goes on there.).  However, Belle Isle is a great place to picnic and the fact that we are free means that a lot of visitors just "drop in."  

  • Icon for: Nathan Auck

    Nathan Auck

    Facilitator
    May 6, 2020 | 12:35 p.m.

    I agree with the comments above relating to it being a beautifully crafted piece! Well done!

    I’m interested in understanding more about the efforts that the WZAM project have exerted regarding content retention. In the school-based educational world, STEM subjects are more consistently applying this idea of “spiraling” content so students have more than one opportunity to learn a topic. I’m wondering about how frequently visitors have season passes or attend more than once a season? Depending on this rate, I’m also wondering about how zoos attend to “retention” of the knowledge visitors learn for both single time visitors, as well as frequent attendees?

    Thanks for the opportunity to learn more about this educational avenue!

  • Icon for: Joe Heimlich

    Joe Heimlich

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 01:48 p.m.

    Thanks, Nathan!  In the informal world, we've been talking about spiral curriculum since the 90s, but haven't seen it well applied, so I really appreciate your bringing that into the coversation. We do have evidence that learning does spiral, even though the institutions may not be designed specifically with that intention (though I know some educators who have been working it into their programs for years and years!). In this study, we found the vast majority of visitors come either 4x or more OR 1x or less per year. Across visitors, they all both report learning, and can share the types of things learned on the present visit (open-ended ask). In follow-up interviews at six institutions (data are still being analyzed, so I'm only giving high level findings here), we are learning much more about how people make meaning across multiple visits over time--and we heard individuals in open-ended responses bring up learning over time as opposed to a single visit and that they gain cumulative understandings. Also, with a sizeable proportion of visitors to zoos and aquariums being adults alone or in groups of adults (between 27 and 34% depending on the particular ask and institution and season--cooler climates have more adults only in colder weather and larger intergenerational groups in summer, for example--since we did them in multiple ways and times between Oregon State and CRE), there is tremendous opportunity for these institutions to rethink their message approach to provide opportunities that can go deeper.

    Thanks again, Nathan! Great question and writing this response is helping me see how our research goal of having different data from different sources working together to give us a more complex picture of a visitor can start to answer more difficult questions!

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    John Fraser
    Sasha Palmquist
  • Icon for: Leigh Peake

    Leigh Peake

    Informal Educator
    May 7, 2020 | 07:09 a.m.

    A great video from a great team! (And let's all admit that doing a video about research in/on zoos & aquaria gives you a leg up in the "compelling images" department!) I assume that many of the "groups of children" that make up ~70% of visitors are coming through school field trips? Did you use the same research techniques with those groups? (the GoPros, entry/exit interviews, etc) Uncovering more about the role of such trips in developing trust in science early in life would be a valuable contribution. I was also curious whether the research got deep enough to reveal the generalizability of the trust in science. Did you pick up any conflicting levels of trust in science -- e.g., believing the science that is part of the work and exhibits of the Z/A but not believing in climate science? It also seems like you have a unique opportunity in this moment -- as beloved institutions have gone virtual -- to learn something about the durability of that trust and our informal institutions as sources of trusted science in critical times. As always with great research, you leave us wanting more!

  • Icon for: Joe Heimlich

    Joe Heimlich

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 07:41 p.m.

    I am going to let Johnny respond about the trust. COSI's studies were of visitors, so we had extremely high levels of trust and belief of accuracy of information from zoos and aquariums. Knology's study was really well done and measured the movable middle rather than the extremes on either end. The studies at the zoos/aquariums did not include school groups, either in observation or in survey work or interviews. So our numbers do not include the relatively low percent of visitors that are school groups. The groups we ended up including were organized groups of adults and children for the most part (religious groups, socially connected groups, etc.). There are a lot of studies of school groups and Z/A. Many are grey literature with some available on informalscience.org.

  • Icon for: Kelly Riedinger

    Kelly Riedinger

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 08:24 p.m.

    Thanks for your question, Leigh. We did not include school groups in our sample for the GoPro cameras at the Z/A entrances nor did we ask school groups to wear the GoPro cameras as part of our study. The numbers that we reported are for groups visiting the Z/A who were not a part of school groups on field trips. As Joe noted, Johnny may be able to chime in with some of the specifics of their trust study in relation to your question. 

  • May 8, 2020 | 09:23 a.m.

    In a project that we did about the impact of an interactive element added to our electric eel exhibit, we were able to show significant increases in knowledge and interest as a result of the added technology.  However, our survey methods included a survey upon entering the Aquarium and a survey of visitors when leaving.  These were independently selected visitors, so only a portion of the "post" surveys had done the "pre" survey, and vice versa.  Still, in unpaired statistical comparisons we had significant improvments in the "post" visit survey.  However, since we had a group that had done both the "pre" and "post" surveys (one "post" question asked:  "Did you do the pre-visit survey?"), we could also see a small effect of simply having had them do a survey upon entering the building.  Seems that the "pre" survey also functions as a priming mechanism.  Which brings up my question:  how much were the results of your surveys affected by the survey instruments themselves.  For example, the "goPro" cameras are likely to have modified some people's behavior in some ways.  Comments?   BTW, we've tried to get this study published in a variety of journals. I personally think the design, description, etc. are of high quality, but whether we went to education journals, or visitor studies journals, electronics and education journals (electronics were involved), the response has so far been--"we are not the right journal for this study".  This is a shame because it may really have put off the engineering student who designed the electronics and also supervised multiple students in doing the surveys [the more difficult part of the project]. We also have a video that accompanies the manuscript.  Suggestions for getting it published and viewed would be welcome. I can send you the manuscript and video if you would like to look. In the end, we may just put it on our website without peer review and leave it at that.  Actually, you can look at the video supplement here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcJlXdJm4zc&feature=youtu.be

  • Icon for: John Fraser

    John Fraser

    Lead Presenter
    President & CEO
    May 8, 2020 | 09:55 a.m.

    Leigh, 

    A really great question about TRUST that we can answer from outside of this research project. Trust in science is topically not stable because it's too elusive a construct for the general public to answer. We've seen surveys and the problem is social stereotyping of the construct. Like "who is a scientist?" or "who is a doctor?" we get different answers about these two flavors in the science enterprise. 

    Wildlife science undertaken by zoos is HIGHLY trusted, but the spokesperson actually impacts trust. ANIMAL CARE STAFF have the highest trust because have a personal relationship with the animals in their lives, while CEO's of Z/As are least trusted, and VETS are only trusted to talk about animal physiological health. That paper is  Fraser, J., Taylor, A., Johnson, E., & Sickler, J. (2008). The relative credibility of zoo‐affiliated spokespeople for delivering conservation messages. Curator: the Museum Journal51(4), 407-418.

    Americans are suspicious of business intentions that underpin the science enterprise, so Universities are highly trusted, while science corporations have more contingent trust.  Zoos and Aquariums are highly trusted as reliable explainers of science because they simplify things and compare data, while university faculty are not as trusted to explain what they know (slow down egghead phenomenon). you can find some nice summaries of our assessment of comparative trust in the 2009 WZAM 2 results on WZAM.org

    At Knology, we've come to the conclusion that "science" itself is just too general a construct to assess without anchors to kinds of knowledge. Right now there's a ridiculous advertisement running on broadcast television about how "science" will save the nation from COVID-19. The misconstrual of what SCIENCE is, got our team peeling in laughter because the ad tries to brand science like it's some sort of altruistic company or individual super-hero rather than a process. I'm sure the Lederman's are also distressed at how the commercial obfuscates the Nature of Science. Scientists can solve problems because they have agency. Science is neutral like water. Trusting in science is like trusting in water. Both can be used to save or take a life.  

    What we know from our work is that there is variability in what scientific expertise might be. We'd recommend reading our paper that we just published on how the public sorts their STEM learning ecology, how much they associate types of museums with each word in the STEM acronym and where they assign topical scientific authority based on expertise and frequency of expected STEM communications . 

    Rupanwita Gupta, John Voiklis, Shelley J. Rank, Joseph de la Torre Dwyer, John Fraser, Kate Flinner & Kathryn Nock (2020): Public perceptions of the STEM learning ecology – perspectives from a national sample in the US, International Journal of Science Education, Part B: https://doi.org/10.1080/21548455.2020.1719291

    I realize that's a super long answer, but I think the idea of "science" as something to trust can send us in the wrong direction in learning research. I would prefer to think about how each of the scientific disciplines is like a crayon in a coloring box. As we test each brand, color, composition, and use condition, we know more about the nature of the form. 

  • Icon for: Joe Heimlich

    Joe Heimlich

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 09:59 a.m.

    I feel your pain re: publishing. I have had so many articles that have gone to 3 or more journals before finding one that will even review it. The problem with a disciplinary-academic system driving the journals is that those things that fall between have fewer outlets for dissemination. Johnny may have some ideas for journals. If you studied adults rather than youth, there are some good adult education journals that appreciate informal and nonformal learning insights into adults.

    Kelly has some great info about the goPro cameras, and their findings support what has been learned in other "tech moves with the person" studies such as those of the Untours (Adams and Luke are two authors of some reports and studies) where a few people remain cognizant of the tech, but for the most part, after the initial engagement with the tech, the tech falls into the background. Kelly can explain and give examples better. In terms of the questionnaire, I am not a strong proponent of pre/post measures for two reasons in informal/nonformal settings; the content is not usually top of mind so any knowledge measure is skewed in a pre and the content is both cued and then fresh in the post. Our questionnaires were by far descriptives and summated scales of characteristics of the visitor responding. We used an entry and exit measure and invited people to return for the exit. Our focus was on life stage and social role (a LOT of demographic and psychographic single time measures) and on affect responses that are only at most slightly altered by a single visit (and usually only for a short time) so we were looking at more stable affect components that related to Z/A so we can look at the interrelationships of where someone is in their life, the dominant social roles enacted during the visit, and the relationship of that to beliefs and values toward and around the mission elements of zoos and aquariums. The few matched scales were intentionally designed for kappa analyses knowing the distance will be small, but is any difference related to any particular characterstics of those who had the larger or lesser distances from pre (in both directions). The knowledge was a self-report not a cognitive test. But for adults with/in the same group as the respondent, we had three open-ended questions related to learning outcomes and individuals were able to give us a lot of evidence about the types of things they learned and specifics of learning that stand out. Our interviews of people who visit Z/A much more often are supporting the stability of the areas of information, interest, cognitive gain. 

  • Icon for: John Fraser

    John Fraser

    Lead Presenter
    President & CEO
    May 8, 2020 | 10:15 a.m.

    Jeffrey,

    Not sure about other journals. I edit Curator: The Museum Journal and haven't seen the paper across my desk. As a Wiley publication, we can support video as supplementary information, and we publish full translations of articles in any language if the authors choose to provide that material after peer-review. 

    I think Joe offers some good thoughts that if you have enough in your paired sample to demonstrate comparative data and justification for then assessing a combined dataset, it should pass muster.  Some journal editors simply don't like messy real world data. Museums are pretty messy, and zoo/aquarium settings are even messier.  If you'd like to submit to Curator, it does seem on target for us, at least it would get reviewed, but our methodology reviewers would be looking for solid explanations for the validity section in the manuscript.

    On another note, we have another grant (NSF #1906556, Kris Morrissey & me co-PIs). Addressing Societal Challenges through STEM (ASCs): A Research Synthesis.  We've been looking at a lot of informal STEM learning research papers, and find that the process descriptions and validity sections  of the methods are spare to non-existent in many cases, even in the peer-reviewed literature. Not saying that's the case for your paper, but your question reminds me that this is a big issue in the informal science learning papers we're seeing.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Joe Heimlich
  • May 10, 2020 | 04:59 p.m.

    I submitted the manuscript to you and will be interested to see the responses of the reviewers.

  • Icon for: John Fraser

    John Fraser

    Lead Presenter
    President & CEO
    May 11, 2020 | 02:40 p.m.

    Thanks so much. It'll likely take two months. Reviews take a while.

     

  • Icon for: Kelly Riedinger

    Kelly Riedinger

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2020 | 02:06 p.m.

    Thanks for your question, Jeffrey. As Joe noted, we did find that there was an initial novelty to wearing the GoPro cameras but over time, the groups seemed to forget about the cameras. We noticed that much of the talk about the cameras came early on in the visit, shortly after the groups finished their entry interviews. Comments later in the visits also seemed to get more personal as though groups forgot they were wearing the cameras. 

    Best of luck with your manuscript!

  • Icon for: John Fraser

    John Fraser

    Lead Presenter
    President & CEO
    May 12, 2020 | 02:11 p.m.

    Kelly's results are consistent with the studies Sue Allen did recording people to the Exploratorium's exhibit on frogs a while ago... I forget the citation but thought I should mention it.

  • Icon for: Kelly Riedinger

    Kelly Riedinger

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2020 | 05:01 p.m.

    I think this is the citation for Sue Allen's study that Johnny referred to: 

    Allen, S. (2002). Looking for learning in visitor talk: A methodological exploration. In Leinhardt, G., Crowley, K., & Knutson, K. (Eds.). Learning Conversations in Museums (pp. 259-303). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  • Icon for: John Fraser

    John Fraser

    Lead Presenter
    President & CEO
    May 12, 2020 | 05:33 p.m.

    Yup, thanks Kelly

  • Icon for: Jennifer Ward

    Jennifer Ward

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 7, 2020 | 10:46 a.m.

    Hello to fellow Oregonians! :D I recognize the locations in the footage of your video which made me happy.

    Beautiful video! As a parent, I can related to the work you have been doing because in early March I took my 3.5 year old (and a friend) to the Oregon Zoo for the second time (the first time she was just one). My daughter asked so many brutally honest questions about the animals and I found myself having to answer questions like "Why are there animals at the zoo?" and "Why does that animal have a hurt wing?" with great care. As an adult I was able to reflect on the bigger picture of the purpose of zoos and aquariumss.

    In the last year we have been to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center and have been able to compare/contrast a paid and free aquarium, notice how they are set up, the information that is shown, and then make a judgement call about which location we'd visit again. Did your study dive into pricing of zoos and aquariums and how that affected people's enjoyment of the zoo or aquarium?

  • Icon for: Kelly Riedinger

    Kelly Riedinger

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 08:20 p.m.

    The OSU study did not explore this specifically but Johnny's group might have findings to add here. Thanks for your question, Jennifer. 

  • Icon for: John Fraser

    John Fraser

    Lead Presenter
    President & CEO
    May 8, 2020 | 09:20 a.m.

    The Knology work on this project included a collaboration with Zoo Advisors and The Prime Group to assess historical cost of admission and public perspectives on trust, as well as public consumer sentiment AND our national data. It was a rather large bootstrapped dataset.  What we now know is that the waters are muddy because of the variability across zoo and aquarium type and how economic performance influences favorability but not trust. 

    The simple answer is that TRUST remains stable for the select Z/As that are part of Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and there's been no movement in over 12 years in the anti-zoo sentiment. Haters gonna hate (5%) and lovers gonna love (45%+) and the rest are the movable middle that are negotiating where they land. Cost of admissions is part of the calculation that includes whether the Z/A in question is perceived as ethical, transparent, demonstrates active engagement in altruistic work to conserve wildlife and nature, and perceptions of the quality of the facility they run (care for animals, care for visitors, treat staff well).  

    What we know, that is likely applicable to all museum types, is that we've had 10 years of economic recovery data since 2008 with low cost of living increases and absolutely flat household income rise, which is actually COLA adjusted wage stagnation.  In that time, consumer spending on family out-of-home admissions / year is $66 and hasn't risen by $1 in that 10 year window, but that excludes membership which we often see families purchase for a single visit to a Z/A because they can save money. So price sensitivity has been offset by rising consumer confidence and budget conscious decision-making at the gate. 

    Now that the country is in economic free-fall, we're about to see the real experiment play out.  But, with Z/A's having such high TRUST, the legitimacy to advance STEM learning can only increase as these organizations start to craft more direct learning goals about conservation solutions.  With our colleagues at OSU and COSI, all of our data point to the idea that it's not about the one time event at one place, but what the sector is achieving together. Admissions models don't seem to impact outcomes. Like you mention in your note, people are sampling from multiple venues, and that leads to richer learning with compare and contrast opportunities to advance understanding.  We're advocating for more work on how synthesis integrates across types of visit.

    For advancing STEM, one of the big bonuses of the membership choice at the admission desk is that Z/As can follow-up through their member communications to provide reinforcements to the site-based learning, so again, we would have variability in any study because post-visit contact or learning opportunities are highly desired services for visitors.

    And of course, a quick note that we're working with AZA Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (N=240), (102 of the 218 in the USA are our collaborating researchers) while our national surveys asks about the "sector" Zoos and Aquariums, of which there are 2,400 licensed by the USDA including quite a few that would be challenged to demonstrate that they meet the TRUST dimensions we describe above. 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Joe Heimlich
  • May 12, 2020 | 08:57 a.m.

    It is great to see this work going on, since zoos and aquariums are so important to modern life yet I feel in science education we generally don't talk about the actual learning and the affective outcomes that are so important to science literacy and understanding. Thank you for sharing this important work!

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Amy Rutherford
  • Icon for: John Fraser

    John Fraser

    Lead Presenter
    President & CEO
    May 12, 2020 | 10:17 a.m.


    Thanks so much for dropping by.  I think you'll find the papers that describe the STEM. learning ecology interesting. One exercise I've had grad students do at the zoo is to observe human behaviors watching animals. We often see mimicry or modeling behaviors in visitors as part of their "describing to one another" what they are observing. The vocalizations tend to be general (touches shoulder of other visitor, points, states name of animal, aligns viewing with other, sways in sync with animal). A good friend also worked with a dance company to workshop movement exercises inspired by animal behavior as public performance at the Prospect Park Zoo, it was a major hit with audiences. I think the work you're doing would add great depth to these types of studies on what people do and how that influences what they take away.



     + Reply

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.

Multiplex Discussion
  • Post to the Discussion

    If you have an account, please login before contributing. New visitors may post with email verification.


    For visitors, we require email verification before we will post your comment. When you receive the email click on the verification link and your message will be made visible.



    Name:

    Email:

    Role:
    NOTE: Your email will be kept private and will not be shared with any 3rd parties