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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

The Lightwave programme and roadshow: an overview and update

Paper Abstract

While optics and photonics are exciting disciplines with much research, industrial, and economic potential in the 21st century, this appreciation is only shared by a limited number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experts, and there is a recognized STEM skills shortage. To widen the pool of talent, it is essential to expose students to optics and photonics throughout their education and particularly starting at a young age. The Lightwave programme, consisting of an interactive collection of photonics demonstrations and experiments targeted for primary school students, was thus created to facilitate this endeavor. The programme is run by doctoral students forming a team of “Lightwave ambassadors”. All the demonstrations that comprise Lightwave can be easily integrated into a physics curriculum, enabling educators to generate more student interest and enhance the image of science through an interactive pedagogy. We provide a description of the programme at its initial inception, and report on the recent additions and updates that have brought about its success, moving from a purely outreach driven focus to engaging pupils with our own research. We also discuss our approach to ensuring that our team of ambassadors are from diverse backgrounds and use both male and female students as role models. Finally, we reflect on how evaluation methods to obtain feedback from our activities are key to Lightwave's sustainability and in improving the perception of optics and photonics.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 October 2015
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 9793, Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2015, 97932V (8 October 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2223239
Show Author Affiliations
Nicholas H. L. Wong, Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom)
Matthew T. Posner, Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom)
Pearl V. John, Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9793:
Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2015

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