PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENCE

 
Science Literacy, as a field of research, is now well established and it has a myriad of definitions. Here is one that gives a flavour of the immense importance of SL - "scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity” (USA National Center for Education Statistics). Indeed, long books have been written on the subject, but mostly as it pertains to what we call a western, educated culture (Science matters: Achieving Science Literacy by Robert Hazen and James Trefil, 2009).

PHASE 1 -LANDSCAPE SURVEY IN SCIENCE LITERACY

 
The report of our first survey of SL assembled and provided a preliminary assessment of SL initiatives that were or had the potential to bear fruit in the areas of most need in the developing world - issues most immediate to survival and life including water and sanitation, maternal and child health, education and food security. It focused on practical and innovative activities that could be replicated or broadened across cultures and countries and provided several case studies. The research was undertaken by Network for Information and Digital Access (http://nida-net.org/en/activities/connectwithscience/science-literacy/landscape-study -science-literacy) and co-funded by HWDI.

PHASE 2 - THE IMPACT OF SCIENCE LITERACY DELIVERY METHODS -WHAT WORKS?

 
We are now embarking upon a more in-depth study of SL research, based upon the earlier recommendations. This is in conjunction with NIDA (http://nida-net.org) and Evergreen Education Foundation (http://www.evergreeneducation.org/) The first phase, to be completed by the end of March 2018, consists of desk research of the different SL delivery methods currently being practised and their effectiveness. The second phase will see the adoption of up to six documented field tests of promising SL models or methods and efficacy evaluation. These will be carried out chiefly by local partners.
The final phase, to be completed in early 2019, will bring all the research and practical experience together in a comparative report addressing the impact of the selected SL delivery methods and providing useful conclusions about their overall value and potential. The team believe it is most important to make all this information freely available with online tools and references.

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