The first thing to realize as a docent with SOS is that you are working “in the
round” and depending on the positioning of the audience, they are not all
seeing the same thing. This can be overcome by either gathering your audience
on one side of the sphere, or by rotating the sphere and replaying the datasets
multiple times for everyone to see. If you have people surrounding the sphere,
make sure to not neglect half of the audience by focusing only on one side.
Even if your audience is stationary, as the docent, you don’t have to be. The
sphere is a three-dimensional object, so you can walk around to point out
different features in the datasets.
Before beginning a presentation, it’s important as a docent that you understand
how to operate Science On a Sphere®. It can be very distracting for the
audience if the docent is struggling with the technology throughout the
presentation. Even if you are struggling during a presentation, do not get
visibly frustrated or give up. Docents can use an iPad to control SOS during a
live presentation. The iPad is intuitive, but practice for familiarization is
still highly recommended. Relax, go with the flow and when you do mess up, just
keep going. There is no need to highlight your mistakes to the audience.
An often-repeated tip from existing SOS docents is to have a laser pointer at
all times. This allows you to direct the attention of the audience to specific
features and ensures that everyone is looking at the correct location. It also
helps you reinforce the basic geography knowledge of your audience by calling
out specific locations by name and highlighting them with your laser pointer.
Don’t assume that your audience knows all of the geographical references that
you make, be sure to point them out.
Depending on the setting, a microphone might be necessary for docent led
presentations. You want to make sure that everyone in the audience can easily
hear you, but at the same time you don’t want your audio to bleed over into
surrounding exhibits. If using a microphone, you will want a hands-free option
so that you can still easily maneuver both a remote and a laser pointer.
Presenting to a Large Crowd Requires Docent Movement
Because SOS is such a captivating display tool, docents are often able to draw
in large crowds during presentations. As mentioned above, it is often easiest
for the docent to ask the audience to all gather on one side of the sphere so
everyone is looking at the same thing. However, with a large crowd, this is
often not possible. In this case, make sure to walk around the sphere and
address the audience on all sides of the sphere. Don’t stay in any one position
too long; you don’t want part of your audience to feel ignored or neglected.
his is also a case where a microphone is very useful to ensure that everyone
can hear you, even those to which your back is temporarily turned. In public
settings, people often join in part way through the presentation. Feel free to
pause somewhere in the middle of the presentation and reintroduce SOS for those
that have joined late. Try to bring newcomers up to speed without being too
repetitive for those that have been there from the beginning. If you have time,
at the end of your presentation you can offer to go back to any datasets that
newcomers might have missed or answer any questions that come up from missing