The 6th ESIC - Educational Sciences International Conference
The Value of Science Education
in an Age of Misinformation
University of Miyazaki, Japan
E-mail: [email protected]
The 6th ESIC
Educational Sciences International Conference
Traditional Paradigm of Science Education 2
In the future...
• Understanding of social issues
• Use scientific knowledge to make
Developing scientific literacy is an important goal of science education
Failure of Traditional Science Education and Social Change 3
Failure of Traditional Science Education
• Only 28% of citizens have the scientific knowledge necessary to read
articles in the science section of the New York Times. (Miller, 2010)
Science education does not provide enough knowledge to understand
articles about science.
• While traditional science education teaches the methods of inquiry of
individual scientists, but it has not taught the social functioning of groups of
Recent Social Changes
• Social issues that involve science have become increasingly complex and
• Social media is replacing newspapers with a flood of misinformation.
• Misinformation is spreading and trust in science is being lost.
Number of People Using Social Media Platforms, 2004 to 2018 4
• Today, young people get more information from YouTube and TikTok than from traditional media
(Pew Research Center, 2021)
Percentage of Young People Engaging in SNS, 2014 5
Misinformation in Social Media 6
Weiss, A. P., Alwan, A., Garcia, E. P., & Garcia, J. (2020). Surveying fake news: Assessing university faculty’s fragmented
definition of fake news and its impact on teaching critical thinking. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 16, 1-30.
Comparison of Two Types of Media 7
Citizen receiving information
Traditional media, various experts played the role of gatekeepers.
Social media, there are no gatekeepers, so misinformation is spread. Echo chamber effect
How Should Science Education Approach the Age of Misinformation? 8
• Science on social issues requires advanced knowledge (ex., climate change)
• We live in a complex society that depends on the expertise of others
• It is difficult to learn everything in depth in a limited school science time
• We cannot be experts in everything.
Three Strategies: Learn about the reliability of science
Learn how to judge the reliability of information sources
Learn the nature of science
Learn how to justify scientific knowledge (epistemology)
Examples of decisions related to climate change
• Many people believe in the existence of climate change, although they cannot understand
expert reports on climate change.
• This is because they understand the reliability of the sources of information and the process of
legitimizing knowledge through peer review and consensus among many scientists.
What is important is not content knowledge,
but knowledge about its reliability.
Extension of Science Education 9
Experiments and Observations
Composition of Arguments
Peer Review of Papers
Discussion and Self-Correction
Accumulation of Evidence
Publication in Science Textbooks
(School science contents knowledge)
• Science Content
• Scientific Methods
• How Science Works
PISA 2025 Science Framework 10
An Example of Learning about the Reliability of Science
Decision tree for evaluating scientific information 12
Osborne, J., & Pimentel, D. (2023). Science education in an age of
misinformation. Science Education, 107(3), 553-571.
Examples of Question 13
You are trying to find information on how smoking affects the lungs.
Which of the following sources is the most reliable?
Choose your answer.
A) A blog post by a smoker
B) A book written by a surgeon
C) A non-peer-reviewed report written by a pulmonologist
D) A research paper conducted by a pulmonologist funded by a tobacco company
E) A peer-reviewed research paper conducted by a pulmonologist funded by the government
Learn the Nature of Science 14
Key Aspects of NOS (McComas, 2020) Science as a cognitive-epistemic and social-institutional
system (Erduran & Dagher 2014)
Consensus View Approach Family Resemblance Approach
History of Science and NOS Instruction 15
• Learn about NOS through selected episodes in the history of science.
• Reading the history of science is a great way to learn not only what science is
about, but also how it works.
Ex. Kekule's ingenious solution to the structure of benzene → creativity in science
Clough (2011) The story behind the science
Examples of Question 16
Scientist X published a paper on his research results on weather forecasting, but the
paper contained errors.
What will this paper cause later?
Please select the most appropriate answer from the following options.
A) Many scientists trust the papers, so they do not realize the mistakes and the wrong
perceptions are spread.
B) Papers that have been published for a long time will not be affected because errors
will not be corrected even if they are found.
C) Other studies based on the erroneous paper are also reviewed for errors.
D) The number of studies on predicting the weather will decrease because pointing out
error in papers will lead to a setback for the field.
of NOS and
• With the development of social media, learners are exposed to a lot
• It is necessary to learn about the production process of science and
its reliability than about the products of science.
• Media literacy and an understanding of the nature of science and
epistemology should be added to the goals of science education.
• Improving the ability to assess the reliability of scientific information
is an important value of science education in an age of
• Clough, M. P. (2011). The story behind the science: Bringing science and scientists to life in
postsecondary science education. Science & Education, 20(7–8), 701–717.
• Erduran, S., Dagher, Z.R. (2014). Reconceptualizing Nature of Science for Science Education. In:
Reconceptualizing the Nature of Science for Science Education. Contemporary Trends and Issues in
Science Education, vol 43. Springer, Dordrecht.
• Esteban Ortiz-Ospina (2019) - "The rise of social media". Published online at OurWorldInData.org.
Retrieved from: 'https://ourworldindata.org/rise-of-social-media' [Online Resource]
• McComas W.F. (2020) Principal Elements of Nature of Science: Informing Science Teaching while
Dispelling the Myths. In: McComas W. (Eds.) Nature of Science in Science Instruction. Science:
Philosophy, History and Education. Springer, Cham.
• Miller, J. D. (2010). Adult science learning in the Internet era. Curator. The Museum Journal, 53, 191–
• Osborne, J., & Pimentel, D. (2023). Science education in an age of misinformation. Science Education,
• Pew Research Center. (2021). Social media use in 2021.
• Weiss, A. P., Alwan, A., Garcia, E. P., & Garcia, J. (2020). Surveying fake news: Assessing university
faculty’s fragmented definition of fake news and its impact on teaching critical thinking. International
Journal for Educational Integrity, 16, 1-30.