Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

University Students' Opinions concerning Science-Technology-Society Issues

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

University Students' Opinions concerning Science-Technology-Society Issues

Article excerpt

Comprehending the STS relationship provides a basis for scientific literacy (Vazquez-Alonso, Garcia-Carmona, Manassero-Mas, & Bennassar-Roig, 2013). Therefore, one of the primary aims of science education is to ensure students develop scientifically correct, comprehensive, and consistent attitudes (cognitive models) for the topic of STS (Pekdag, 2014). In this sense, students' construction of meaningful relationships among STS concepts is a substantial issue of science education. The concentration of recent studies in science education (Constantinou, Hadjilouca, & Papadouris, 2010; Pekdag, 2014; Scherz & Oren, 2006; Sunar & Geban, 2011; Tairab, 2001; Yalvac, Tekkaya, Cakiroglu, & Kahyaoglu, 2007) on identifying student opinions concerning STS indicates the significance of this issue.

What Does Science Mean?

It is seen that there are various definitions for the concept of science in the literature. According to Çepni (2005) science is defined as the process of comprehension and description of the universe by utilizing and organizing the truth and knowledge with scientific methods. According to Ronan (2005), science is a system which can introduce hypothesis and theories as a result of constructing logical relationships among facts while it is stated as the total of the efforts of humans to comprehend, interpret, and explain the reality by Yesiloglu, Demirdögen, and Köseoglu (2010). The Turkish Language Institute has defined the concept of science as the "organized body of knowledge which selects various events or parts of the universe as a subject matter and attempts to make inferences by utilizing methods and realities based on experiments" (Türk Dil Kurumu [TDK], 2014a).

Zewail (2002) describes science as an education process that allows the educated and creative minds to question, experiment or observe in an attempt to find answers, and then try to identify a set of unifying principles, concepts, and laws that embraces all phenomena of nature. In addition, science has been explained with a cognitive approach for the discovery of truth and the clarification of the phenomenological world (Yildirim, 1999).

Bell (2009) indicated that science has three domains. He has graphically demonstrated these domains as well as the relationships among these domains (see Figure 1).

Aslan (2013) listed the characteristics that qualify science as follows: (1) phenomenological, (2) logical, (3) objective, (4) critical, (5) generic, (6) selective, (7) progressive, and (8) based on several fundamental needs.

In light of the aforementioned definitions, science can be concluded as the body of evaluated knowledge that involves definitions, concepts, and phenomena which are systematically organized using several methods.

What Does Technology Mean?

In the literature, a number of definitions have been made for the concept of technology. The Turkish Language Institute has defined the concept of technology as "the application of knowledge that consists of the production methods related to a branch of industry; the equipment, instruments, and tools that are used; and their usage formats" (TDK, 2014b). The concept of technology in the Science and Technology Teaching Program as prepared by the National Ministry of Education is also expressed as:

Technology is not just technological devices and their various applications as computers. Technology is both a kind of knowledge that utilizes the concepts and skills gained from other disciplines (science, mathematics, culture, etc.) and the submission of this knowledge to the service of humanity for meeting a determined need through the use of materials, energy, and equipment, or for solving a certain problem (Milli Egitim Bakanligi, MEB, 2006, p.8).

In his paper, Wonacott (2001, p. 2) reports several researchers' definitions regarding the concept of technology as follows: According to Dugger (2001), technology is the sum of alterations made to the natural environment for people's own purposes (to live longer and more productively, to meet demands and needs). …

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