New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Science Education at Crossroads: Socio-Scientific Issues and Education

Jee-Young Park, Seoul National University (Korea, Republic of)

Eunjeong Ma, Pohang University of Science and Technology (Korea, Republic of)

Sung-Youn Choi, Dongguk University (Korea, Republic of)


This paper discusses pedagogical issues and challenges in science and technology education. A departure point for current research is grounded on the pedagogical belief that the goal of science education is to go beyond delivering technical information and skills and is to cultivate globally competent and socially conscious scientists. Drawing on literature review and pedagogical experience, the researchers wish to contribute to and shed some light on continuing dialogue on the intersections between science education and socio-scientific issues.


The authors, who have been deeply engaged with science and technology education at the university level for multiple years, first present the historical and contextual needs to incorporate socio-scientific dimensions into science and technology education. At this stage we identify and discuss three strands of socio-scientific issues in science education and re-evaluate/reflect them in pedagogical practice: motivational desire, convergent science and technology, global challenges and social responsibility in relation to problem setting and solving. Conscious of these strands, two researchers independently have tried to incorporate social and ethical issues into science and technology education at the university levels. Secondly we brief challenges and issues encountered and experienced in convergent education. We have found that it is painfully rewarding experience to infuse technical information with societal and cultural issues of science situated in a broader context. The challenges we have encountered are as follows, for instance. On the one hand, the depth of knowledge is needed to become a competent scientist, which tends to dissociate technical knowledge from non-technical issues such as social and ethical issues. On the other hand, to become a socially and globally responsible leader, a student needs to understand and attain scientific knowledge in relation to society or in association with society. And yet, we have begun to notice that students think and speak socio-technical issues in science and technology at the least. To conclude, based on our experiential practice and knowledge, we would like to share some challenges and issues to be solved and then cautiously propose some ways to strengthen the infusion between science education and social, humanistic, and artistic issues.

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