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New Media: A Double-Edged Sword in Support of Public Engagement with Science

Part of the Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Series book series (CULS,volume 17)

Abstract

Modern life requires individuals with little formal educational background in the sciences to daily make science and technology-based decisions, ranging from vaccinating one’s children and consuming genetically modified food to buying a house near a nuclear power plant. The main information source for many such decisions are contemporary media that have become the public’s primary reference concerning science and technology. Indeed, these media increasingly shape public engagement with science. This chapter addresses the role of new media in personal and civic decision-making. It argues that many of its characteristics – abundance of content, interactivity, mobility, and multimediality – act as a double-edged sword, providing enhanced affordance over traditional media, while rendering it more difficult for a non-expert audience to reach informed, science-related decisions. Higher and lower thinking skills are discussed as they pertain to the usage of new media while taking into account public deliberation and distributive justice concerns.

Keywords

  • New media
  • Traditional media
  • Public engagement with science
  • Internet
  • Search engines
  • Science-based decisions
  • Personal and civic decision-making
  • Thinking skills
  • Public deliberation
  • Distributive justice

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Note that this differs from our conventional understanding of interactivity in educational technology, referring to interface-mediated, two-way flow of information between user and technology.

  2. 2.

    February 2017, using an incognito mode

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Correspondence to Ayelet Baram-Tsabari .

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Baram-Tsabari, A., Schejter, A.M. (2019). New Media: A Double-Edged Sword in Support of Public Engagement with Science. In: Kali, Y., Baram-Tsabari, A., Schejter, A. (eds) Learning In a Networked Society. Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Series, vol 17. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-14610-8_5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-14610-8_5

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