Informal educational settings such as science centres play an important role in science education around the world. Science centres are known to have a positive influence on promoting visitors’ curiosity, interests, and knowledge of science because visitors can interact with real objects and engage with exhibits in a relaxed informal environment, watch science shows, or consult websites. In addition to informal education, learning in science centres can also be non-formal through organized, systematic, educational activities such as workshops.
The aim of science centres in South Africa is to develop programs, workshops and undertake outreach programs, which focusses on creating awareness, promoting and teaching science and technology particularly in disadvantaged communities, e.g. rural areas and townships.
The Science and Technology Education Centre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (STEC@UKZN) in Durban which includes the Geology Education Museum, is one of these science centres. It is a place of hands-on science learning with an emphasis on Geoscience education. Over the years, STEC@UKZN was involved in the development of numerous low-cost geoscience-related activities, exhibits and educational material using an informal and non-formal education approach. While we usually operate face to face, the Covid-19 crisis had us adopt alternatives ways and we had to move some of our activities online.
In our presentation we will highlight our various geoscience initiatives, be it non-formal or informal, face to face or online that take place in the science centre.