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ERIC Number: EJ1061664
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jul
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1059-8650
Tackling Tough Topics: Using Socio-Scientific Issues to Help Museum Visitors Participate in Democratic Dialogue and Increase Their Understandings of Current Science and Technology
Kollmann, Elizabeth Kunz; Reich, Christine; Bell, Larry; Goss, Juli
Journal of Museum Education, v38 n2 p174-186 Jul 2013
In a world of increasing scientific and technological complexity, where science and technology play an expanding role in our lives, there is need for a democratic citizenry that is skilled at discussing and making choices that are informed by science and shaped by individual and collective values. Although an oft argued rationale for teaching science is the need for informed citizens, few have connected science education goals to democratic dialogue. At the Museum of Science, taking on this task--to promote democratic dialogue and teach the public about current science and technology--has meant a change in our approach to science education over the past decade. We know that creating an informed citizenry prepared to address today's challenges requires educating the public about cutting edge science and technology research connected to the issues of the day, but it also requires moving beyond a public "understanding" of science model to a public "engagement" with science model in which the public's expertise, values, and personal experience are respected, explored, and discussed. Socio-scientific topics ranging from "Under what conditions should nanotechnology in medicine and personal care products be made available to the public?" to "Should parents be able make decisions about their future child based upon their genetic sequence?" have proven to be an effective means to achieve the goals of public engagement mode. In the projects detailed here, we show how and why they also prove effective as a means by which science museums can promote democratic dialogue and learning about current science and technology.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts