We are extremely proud and lucky to have such an experienced team working here at Dynamic Earth to deliver our learning and education programmes, which are an integral part of our ethos and values. We work with schools, teachers, home educators and community groups, and offer over 35 different curriculum-linked workshops, an outdoor learning programme, a dedicated community learning scheme, a regular Saturday kids club and holiday activity programme, CLPL for teachers, plus many one-off events across the year.
At the moment, while our centre is temporarily closed and school visits / public engagement are on hold due to Covid-19 restrictions, we have spent much of our time focussing on providing a plethora of online resources. This is free for anyone to access via our DE Online website, and we hope to inspire teachers, learners and the wider community to continue exploring STEM subjects via home learning.
We also thought that this would be a great opportunity to introduce you to the members of our fabulous Learning Team and let you know a little bit more about them!
Craig Smith - Learning Manager
Craig took up the role of Learning Manager in February 2019 after joining the Learning Team initially as a Senior Learning Officer two years previously. Coming straight from gaining his PGDE in Secondary Education with Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, Craig brought with him a fresh insight into formal teaching and learning practices. Accompanying this with his experience of outdoor sustainability education in Thailand, and previous work in other science centres and festivals, Dynamic Earth was the perfect place for Craig to find himself!
As well as creating content for Dynamic Earth Online, Craig has overseen the project since its beginnings in March 2020. His particular passion lies in finding ways to tell both local and global conservation & environmental stories. He continues to be excited about the new opportunities that more focus on online working can bring to Dynamic Earth now and into the future.
In his spare time, Craig enjoys pursuing different outdoor activities to varying degrees of frequency and skill (mostly at the lower end of the scale). These include hill walking, kayaking and running. It has been a while, but he would also like to find the opportunity to scuba dive again! More often though, you’ll find him cooking, and reading his favourite fiction and non-fiction authors.
Fran Hutchinson - Senior Learning Officer
Fran is an environmental scientist who has worked as part of the Dynamic Earth Learning Team for over 3 years. Fran’s degrees in Environmental Science and Sustainability have set her on course to work in all sorts of jobs, but all with the common aim of engaging people with earth science, sustainable lifestyles and trying to stay in balance with the resources of our planet.
Fran has managed projects to save tonnes of clothes, books and homewares from going to landfill, run trash fashion shows and coordinated outdoor learning events for thousands of school children in Holyrood Park!
Fran is a bit obsessed with rubbish and likes to collect it to upcycle into artwork or useful items…a wallet made from a juice carton anyone? Thanks to this, Fran has contributed to a lot of the DIY Science and Craft activities you will find on our Dynamic Earth Online website.
In Fran’s spare time, she likes to eat cake and volunteer with Give Your Best, an organisation which allows refugees and asylum seekers to shop donated clothes for free.
Eve Armstrong - Learning Officer
Eve studied Geology and Physical Geography at Edinburgh University where her interest in science and the outdoors was sparked. Since then she has used this knowledge and passion to design and run various out-of-the-classroom learning experiences. This includes touring science shows around Scotland, teaching fieldwork skills to high school students in France and Thailand, and co-leading an educational expedition to Yukon Territory in Canada.
She has worked as a Learning Officer at Dynamic Earth since 2019 where she enjoys delivering the huge breadth of learning opportunities on offer, particularly taking groups outdoors into nearby Holyrood Park.
When not at work Eve loves to be outside and can usually be found wild camping, climbing mountains or swimming in the sea! Last March she was part of an all-female expedition to ski across the Finnmark Plateau in Northern Norway - you can read more on her experience living in the arctic tundra here. This year, Eve has returned to University to study for an MEd in Diversity and Inclusion and hopes to become more knowledgeable and inclusive in her own teaching. For Dynamic Earth Online, Eve lends her expertise to the Outdoor Activity, Nature, and Planet Earth sections.
Ranald Dinsdale - Learning Officer
After frequently visiting as a child (the shaking floor was always his favourite!) Ranald returned to Dynamic Earth as a member of the Visitor Services department, then subsequently joined the Learning Team two years ago. Before this, he was studying physics and astrophysics in St Andrews - it was there that his enthusiasm for science education began, while spending four months teaching at a local high school
Ranald is a keen photographer and videographer, and enjoys bringing these interests to the Dynamic Earth Online content. He is particularly interested in technology and relishes the opportunity to incorporate digital learning activities to the Dynamic Earth programmes. Beyond work, Ranald enjoys city breaks, playing the bagpipes and reading.
He is also currently studying towards a Masters in Science Communication at the University of Cambridge, and looks forward to bringing this new knowledge to his work at Dynamic Earth.
Alastair Bruce - Planetarium Manager
Alastair is an astronomer who originally trained as an actor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He began his physics and astronomy journey studying with the Open University part-time and, after graduation, embarked on a full-time PhD in astronomy at the University of Edinburgh. His research focus was on active galaxies, or quasars. He considers himself very lucky to have had the chance to make astronomical observations from the island of La Palma, among the world’s best astronomical sites.
On completion of his PhD, he continued working as a researcher at the Institute of Astronomy, a part of the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. During his time at the observatory, Alastair became an ever-more-active science communicator. In 2020 he jumped at the chance to begin working at Dynamic Earth to help usher in their new live planetarium programme after a major projection system upgrade. When he doesn’t have his head in the clouds, Alastair is a Moon-landing nerd, is an avid sci-fi fan, spends more time gaming than cycling and has become a recent convert to the wonderful world of wild camping.
Laura Gordon - Science Engagement Officer
Laura has over 10 years of experience in science engagement at Dynamic Earth. She started out as a Visitor Services guide in the attraction, and has also led our Dino's Dynamos kids club workshops. She now works on all things public engagement as our Science Engagement Officer, helping to coordinate and deliver family programmes such as Operation Earth and Destination Space. Laura attended Dino's Dynamos as a child so is very excited to have come full circle to work at Dynamic Earth!
She is really interested in wildlife and the environment, having studied Ecology at the University of Edinburgh. She then went on to complete her Masters at the University of Glasgow, researching seabird diet. She loves the ocean and is really keen to share her knowledge and enthusiasm on the wonders of our blue planet in as many ways as possible. When she's not working, she likes reading books, swimming, and taking wildlife photos while out walking.