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An analysis of the educational significance of nanoscience and nanotechnology in scientific and technological literacy

Author(s): Antti Laherto

Journal: Science Education International
ISSN 1450-104X

Volume: 21;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 160;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: analysis of educational significance | nanoscience | nanotechnology | scientific literacy | technological literacy

Due to the rapid development and growing societal role of nanoscience andnanotechnology (NST), these emerging fields are also growing ineducational importance. The demands for incorporating NST-related issuesinto curricula are often expressed with reference to the goals of scientificand technological literacy. This paper reports on a theoretical part of astudy that employs the Model of Educational Reconstruction to respond tothe perceived need for education in NST. The educational significance ofNST is scrutinised by analysing and synthesising two domains of literature:(i) recent conceptualisations of scientific and technological literacy, and (ii)studies on the nature and societal implications of nanoscale science andtechnology. Several social as well as epistemological aspects of NST areidentified, which render these fields especially interesting and relevant toscientific and technological literacy. The article suggests that scienceeducation in general could use NST as a subject matter in order to evokedialogue on important contemporary issues related to science, technology,and society, and to provide up-to-date views on the nature of science.
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