An Alternative Conceptualization of the Nature of Science for Science and Technology Education
Since years the conceptualization about what to teach about the nature of science and technology (NoS&T) in science and technology education has been controversial, due to the domination of close lists of NoS&T aspects (the “consensus view”). Functional scientific (and technological) literacy in the service of citizens (to engage them in science or to help them on daily life decision making), which is currently the aim and context for teaching and learning NoS&T, leads to a broader view of NoS&T (assumptions, gathering and interpreting data, reliability of claims, internal and external relationships between science, technology and society, environmental and socio-scientific issues). Within this broader view, Erduran and Dagher (2014) have proposed a reconceptualization of NoS in terms of two interactive dimensions (cognitive-epistemic and social-institutional) on the basis of the family resemblance approach model. This paper assumes the broader view criticisms and presents another conceptualization of NoS&T, which is alternative to the consensus view and to Erduran and Dagher’s reconceptualization (EDR). It starts from Popper’s three world model and naturally develops the interactions and relationships among the worlds, which allows generating and justifying a four-dimension conceptualization for NoS&T and multiple specific categories within dimensions. Summing up, the new conceptualization shares the criticisms to the consensus view and many aspects of EDR, which appears as a particular case of it; further, it develops a powerful, explicit, straightforward, and clear tool for justifying the complexity of the broader NoS&T, which simultaneously avoids some of semantic problems in the assignation of categories and aspects to EDR dimensions.
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