June 01, 2021

Engaging youth in data stories through a personalised weather forecast

This summer, TV channel één is organising an interactive expo about the weather, called 'Meer Weer' (More Weather). To engage youth in data stories, VRT Innovation developed a weather app for Karrewiet together with VRT NWS and students of LUCA School of Arts. With this app, you can find out what the weather was like on your birthday and how it has changed over time. The development of the weather forecast is part of a European research project on science communication, in which VRT is partner. Here, we explore how to make data and science more accessible and attractive to a wide audience.

European project on participation in science communication

From the weather forecast to the corona figures: science data is part of everyday life and has become increasingly prominent in recent years. As a public broadcaster, VRT aims to make science and data stories as transparent and accessible as possible for every Fleming. In this respect it is important that science stories and data are clearly presented and recognisable for everyone's living environment. Together with KU Leuven, LUT University (Finland) and Knowle West Media Centre (UK), we explore the possibilities of engaging a broad audience in the communication of science and data within the ParCos project. By involving the public directly in the creative process, we can increase diversity, inclusion and trust in science communication. 

The Karrewiet app engages youngsters in a data story that is relevant to them and connected to their own world. By providing a weather forecast that appeals to them personally, we want to encourage children to understand the data, as well as its meaning in the real world. This way, the personalised weather forecast also allows them to see the evolution of the weather throughout the years. An evolution that goes hand in hand with climate change. 

Increasing data literacy and combating disinformation

The installation at the Meer Weer expo is part of various case studies that VRT is developing within the ParCos project. These illustrate the participatory and storytelling methodology of the project. The starting point of the case studies were design explorations that students of LUCA School of Arts worked on based on weather and astronomical data. One of the students created an animated story about the seasons, which was further developed together with VRT Innovation and VRT NWS.

Within the project, various tools will be made to engage a broad audience in science and data. This way, we can strengthen data literacy and combat the spread of disinformation.

Read more about the project on https://parcos-project.eu 

Visit the expo at https://meerweeraanzee.be