Ángel Blanco-López, Enrique España-Ramos, Francisco José González-García and Antonio Joaquín Franco-Mariscal
Recent decades have seen an increasing emphasis on linking the content and aims of science teaching to what the average citizen requires in order to participate effectively in contemporary society, one that is heavily dependent on science and technology. However, despite attempts to define what a scientific education for citizenship should ideally involve, a comprehensive set of key aspects has yet to be clearly established. With this in mind, the present study sought to determine empirically the extent of any consensus in Spain regarding the principal aspects of scientific competence that citizens should possess in order to function adequately in everyday life. This was done by means of a three-stage Delphi process involving 31 participants drawn from among leading and acknowledged Spanish scholar-scientists and engineers, researchers and private sector scientists, philosophers of science, science educators, and science communicators. The outcome of this process was a set of five aspects for which there was both consensus and stability. Several of these aspects were also found to be interrelated. There was a tendency for higher ratings to be given to aspects related to attitudes and/or values than to those referring to knowledge. It was in relation to the latter, along with other aspects concerning the nature of science, that discrepancies were observed among the different professional groups surveyed. Comparison of the present results with the content of previous reports indicates that in recent decades the ability to think critically and skills related to the interpretation of information have been considered to be important aspects for citizens to acquire as part of their scientific education. It is argued that the five key aspects identified in this study should be considered jointly in the context of school science education, since they are interrelated skills that citizens will require when tackling important issues and making decisions in various spheres of their life (personal, social, professional, etc.).
Noah Weeth Feinstein
In the 1920s, John Dewey and Walter Lippmann both wrote important books examining whether the public was capable of playing a constructive role in policy, particularly when specialized knowledge was involved. This essay uses the Lippmann–Dewey debate to identify new challenges for science education and to explore the relationship between science education and science communication. It argues that science education can help foster democracy in ways that embody Habermas’ ideal of the public sphere, but only if we as a field pay more attention to (1) the non-scientific frames and narratives that people use to interpret news about science, (2) the “second shaping” of scientific facts by the media, and (3) emerging platforms for public engagement.
Ayelet Baram-Tsabari and Jonathan Osborne
In some senses, both science education and science communication share common goals. Both seek to educate, entertain and engage the public with and about science. Somewhat surprisingly, given their common goals, they have evolved as disparate academic fields where each pays little attention to the other. The purpose of this special issue, therefore, is an attempt some form of rapprochement—to contribute to building a better awareness of what each has to contribute to the other and the value of the scholarship conducted in both fields.
Lynda Walsh, Andrew B. Ross
This article presents results from a qualitative pilot survey of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) researchers concerning techniques used to create graphics for research articles. The survey aimed to induce a methodological vocabulary for a larger project designed to describe and improve STEM visual literacy for nonexperts. However, the survey also revealed interesting problems for investigation—chief among them a mismatch between STEM visual pedagogy and praxis. In addition, participants supplied a handlist of STEM visual communication texts that have informed their praxis. Survey results are presented in the form of a topology—a frequency-based representation of the topics framing participants’ discussion of STEM visual invention.