Global Learning Meets Science And Technology: Teaching Technology Justice In European Classrooms

There are compelling arguments for making the link between science and citizenship education to engage school students in debates about sustainable futures. Global learning brings authentic contexts, challenges and dilemmas such as food security, the effects of climate change and access to energy into the heart of science and technology education. The value in developing school students’ ‘science literacy’ goes beyond facts about the natural and physical world to a broader engagement with the social, moral, economic and environmental debates about the role and implications of science and technology in tackling global problems. This paper presents findings of research for Practical Action’s EC funded project ‘Technology Challenging Poverty: Make the Link’. Practical Action is an international non-governmental organisation that uses technology to challenge poverty in developing countries. The project’s partners include development education and science learning organisations from the UK, Poland, Cyprus and Italy who work with teachers to develop resources to support integration of technology justice issues through global learning methodologies into science and technology teaching practice. The research for this paper involved depth interviews with key stakeholders, classroom observations and focus groups with primary and secondary students. Findings revealed how teachers reconcile global learning and science and technology learning and how the use of global contexts ‘makes real’ scientific and technological challenges for classroom investigations. The research divulges students’ views on unequal access to global resources and the potential uses of science and technology in tackling global and sustainability issues. The research findings suggest there is a beneficial, if evolving, relationship between scientific learning and real world global development contexts for science and technology in the classroom.

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