In contemporary societies, science and media literacy are competences long recognized by experts in multiple fields as crucial for a suitable understanding of both techno-scientific and socio-political developments. The need to improve science literacy has long been flagged by scientists and educators alike (See Sinatra and Hofer 2016), and is at the heart of the concept of knowledge societies, i.e. societies which nurture and promote the ability “to identify, produce, process, transform, disseminate and use information to build and apply knowledge for human development”. Achieving such societies requires “an empowering social vision that encompasses plurality, inclusion, solidarity and participation” (UNESCO 2005: 27). Central to knowledge societies is the availability of information (which involves both information as such, and the means whereby it can be retrieved), but also an ability to build it into knowledge, and to use that knowledge for the improvement of society. It should be noted that while overcoming the digital divide remains a challenge, it is far from being the key issue. The move from information availability, to knowledge construction, to greater and more active social participation requires a concerted effort on the part of knowledge producers, knowledge communicators, educators and policymakers which is still remarkably rare even in advanced societies. Outlining a principled approach to this problem requires addressing multiple issues of literacy in separate but interconnected areas. This chapter aims to address this issue by focusing on three main aspects crucial to the development of knowledge societies: 1) knowledge dissemination practices and strategies, with special regard for scientific and technological popularization; 2) the role of the media in this process; and 3) the competences required to use scientific and technological knowledge to make informed choices and, above all, to contribute to steering policy decision either directly (for instance through individual behavior) or indirectly (by putting pressure on policy actors of various kinds). Scientific and technological literacy is obviously key to the development knowledge societies. It is crucial that citizens be able to understand scientific notions (and to distinguish sound science from hoaxes), and that they participate in the co-construction of scientific knowledge in ways that overcome traditional (and in many cases persisting) science communication practices grounded in deficit models of science transmission for science to truly become democratic. In order to be able to use knowledge and information to make informed decisions, however, it is important that citizens develop what Beach (2018) has called “21st century literacy”. In the 21st century, Beach argues, “people need to be able to think critically and to monitor their own thinking so they can actively construct evaluate, debate and use their knowledge in diverse multicultural settings”; in other words, “21st-century literacy needs to enable human beings not only to know better, but also know how to use their knowledge more effectively in order to make reasoned judgements, communicate rational arguments, and take deliberate action”.

The Role of Science Literacy in Critical Multiliteracy Advancement : Developing Competences for Fairer Knowledge Societies / P. Catenaccio - In: Global Citizenship for Adult Education : Advancing Critical Literacies for Equity and Social Justice / [a cura di] P.A. Robinson, K.V. Williams, M. Stojanović. - Prima edizione. - New York : Routledge, 2021. - ISBN 9780367505875. - pp. 30-41

The Role of Science Literacy in Critical Multiliteracy Advancement : Developing Competences for Fairer Knowledge Societies

P. Catenaccio
2021

Abstract

In contemporary societies, science and media literacy are competences long recognized by experts in multiple fields as crucial for a suitable understanding of both techno-scientific and socio-political developments. The need to improve science literacy has long been flagged by scientists and educators alike (See Sinatra and Hofer 2016), and is at the heart of the concept of knowledge societies, i.e. societies which nurture and promote the ability “to identify, produce, process, transform, disseminate and use information to build and apply knowledge for human development”. Achieving such societies requires “an empowering social vision that encompasses plurality, inclusion, solidarity and participation” (UNESCO 2005: 27). Central to knowledge societies is the availability of information (which involves both information as such, and the means whereby it can be retrieved), but also an ability to build it into knowledge, and to use that knowledge for the improvement of society. It should be noted that while overcoming the digital divide remains a challenge, it is far from being the key issue. The move from information availability, to knowledge construction, to greater and more active social participation requires a concerted effort on the part of knowledge producers, knowledge communicators, educators and policymakers which is still remarkably rare even in advanced societies. Outlining a principled approach to this problem requires addressing multiple issues of literacy in separate but interconnected areas. This chapter aims to address this issue by focusing on three main aspects crucial to the development of knowledge societies: 1) knowledge dissemination practices and strategies, with special regard for scientific and technological popularization; 2) the role of the media in this process; and 3) the competences required to use scientific and technological knowledge to make informed choices and, above all, to contribute to steering policy decision either directly (for instance through individual behavior) or indirectly (by putting pressure on policy actors of various kinds). Scientific and technological literacy is obviously key to the development knowledge societies. It is crucial that citizens be able to understand scientific notions (and to distinguish sound science from hoaxes), and that they participate in the co-construction of scientific knowledge in ways that overcome traditional (and in many cases persisting) science communication practices grounded in deficit models of science transmission for science to truly become democratic. In order to be able to use knowledge and information to make informed decisions, however, it is important that citizens develop what Beach (2018) has called “21st century literacy”. In the 21st century, Beach argues, “people need to be able to think critically and to monitor their own thinking so they can actively construct evaluate, debate and use their knowledge in diverse multicultural settings”; in other words, “21st-century literacy needs to enable human beings not only to know better, but also know how to use their knowledge more effectively in order to make reasoned judgements, communicate rational arguments, and take deliberate action”.
science literacy; 21st century literacy; Critical Literacies Advancement Model; knowledge dissemination; adult learning
Settore L-LIN/12 - Lingua e Traduzione - Lingua Inglese
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/860350
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