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Science Education: From Separation to Integration

Abstract

"Advances in technology, science, and learning sciences research over the past 100 years have reshaped science education. This chapter focuses on how investigators from varied fields of inquiry who initially worked separately began to interact, eventually formed partnerships, and recently integrated their perspectives to strengthen science education. Advances depended on the broadening of the participants in science education research, starting with psychologists, science discipline experts, and science educators; adding science teachers, psychometricians, computer scientists, and sociologists; and eventually including leaders in cultural studies, linguistics, and neuroscience. This process depended on renegotiating power structures, deliberate funding decisions by the National Science Foundation and others, and sustained, creative teamwork. It reflects a growing commitment to ensure that all learners are respected and that all students learn to address the complex scientific dilemmas they face in their lives. This chapter traces the evolution of research on science education in the United States with a focus on 5- to 17-year-olds. It highlights trends in the view of the learner, the design of instruction, the role of professional development, and the impact of technology. The chapter closes with recommendations designed to realize the full potential of these advances."

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