, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 273-284

The Scientific World View, Information Technology, and Science Education: Closing the Gap Between Knowledge-Generation and Knowledge–Consumption

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Scholars of science and society have documented a rising public discontent with the scientific enterprise. Low scientific literacy, and an almost instinctive mistrust of scientists and the scientific enterprise, dominate current public discourse about science-intensive matters. Ironically, this disillusionment has come at a time when the ability of scientific discoveries to inform the human condition has perhaps never been greater. New information technologies, including those for accessing data, interacting with data, and communicating with other people through space and time, may offer new pathways for bridging the large gaps that lie between the frontiers of science, students and laypeople. Examples of recent scientific discoveries that exemplify aspects of the “scientific world view” are reviewed, and traditional classroom pedagogy is examined in light of the habits of mind these discoveries embody. Finally, specific information technologies and model projects are reviewed. This review reveals both promise and challenges: while information technologies may foster new modes of teaching and learning, they also demand new forms of interaction among scientists, teachers, and technology/software developers, for which there are both few systemic incentives and a largely incomplete theoretical foundation.