ERIC Number: ED244787
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Apr-24
Reference Count: 0
Scientific Literacy: Reality or Illusion?
Shamos, Morris H.
Science education seems to have become fashionable again, and with it the recurrent theme of scientific literacy for the masses. Some 25 years ago it was mainly the launching of Sputnik that triggered a curriculum reform movement in science and mathematics. Today, the impetus for reform and the achievement of scientific literacy appears related to such issues as the number and quality of scientists, engineers, and technicians; the technical illiteracy of most high school and college graduates; a growing shortage of qualified high school science teachers; and declining test scores in science. However, an examination of these and other issues suggests that scientific literacy may be difficult to achieve due to the lack of a real incentive for the average citizen to become literate in science and the lack of methodology in teaching science to non-science students in meaningful, yet painless ways. What is needed to address problems posed under the guise of a "crisis in science education" is to move toward a more realistic goal: technological literacy. One reason for fostering this goal is that unlike scientific literacy, technological literacy focuses on social, cultural, and economic changes brought on by technology, changes which touch more closely the lives of most people. (JN)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (68th, New Orleans, LA, April 24, 1984).