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International Journal of Environmental and Science Education

Yıl 2009 , Cilt 4 , Sayı 3

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Beyond science literacy: science and the public

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State University of New York at Buffalo1
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The late 20th century and beginning of 21st century have witnessed unprecedented rapid economic development due to advances in technology and globalization. In response to this development, a renewed call for science literacy has become louder in the USA and many other countries. Common to all science education reforms around the world is emphasis on achieving science literacy by all children before high school graduation. This paper first reviews definitions of science literacy in the literature; it then examines the status of science literacy in the USA and other countries. Following the above, this paper then presents a new notion of science literacy as life-long participation in science – science and the public. This new notion expands science literacy to recognize it as both extrinsic and intrinsic, and as a state and a life-long process, which expands science literacy from school science to ongoing participation in science activities in society by citizens of all ages. This paper finally discusses two necessary approaches to achieving the expanded science literacy that include bridging formal and informal science education, and training science and the public educators through graduate programs on science and the public.

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