Science communication: towards a proper emphasis on the social aspects of science and technology


  • John K. Gilbert The University of Reading, UK


The weaknesses in compulsory school science education are summarized and used to explain the lowerthan-desired uptake of post-compulsory courses and the lack of interest in matters scientific by the general public. Against the background of a model for 'interactive science communication' which addresses these weaknesses and which focuses on the key theme of 'the social aspects of science /technology', two approaches to improved provision are presented. The first is the use of 'context-based' courses within formal provision. The second is the much greater use of informal provision, namely that made through museums zoos and botanical gardens, TV, the internet., newspapers and magazines, books. The challenges to be faced in using these two broad approaches, namely: the nature of science, of technology, and the relation between them; the treatment of risk; the treatment of contemporary issues, are evaluated. Finally, ways to bring about these desirable changes are summarised.

Biografia do Autor

John K. Gilbert, The University of Reading, UK

Professor Emeritus of The University of Reading, Visiting Professor of Science Education at King‟s College, London, and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Science Education. With an academic background in chemistry, he taught in secondary schools before posts at the Universities of Keele and Surrey prior to the move to Reading. His early research work was into students‟ „alternative conceptions‟, this evolving into an interest in „models and modelling‟, with a special focus on visualization, in both formal and informal science education. He now teaches a course on „science communication‟ to undergraduate students of the Natural Sciences. In 2001 he received the award for „Distinguished Contributions to Science Education through Research‟ from the USA-based National Association for Research in Science Teaching‟.