Spotlighting shared goals for science education and communication, book review by Laura Fogg-Rogers


The boundaries between science communication and science education are often blurry. Although having very different objectives – to the point that it’s not rare to see science communicators getting annoyed at the idea that what they produce is interpreted as aimed at “educating” publics on S&T topics – it has become almost common practice to analyze both engagement and educational outcomes in impact studies and evaluations of science communication activities. So, what do these fields have in common? Quite a lot, according to editors Maarten C.A. van der Sanden and Marc J. Vries’ book Science and Technology education and communication: seeking synergy, published by Sense publishers: Rotterdam, Netherlands (2016).

In the book review by Laura Fogg-Rogers - Senior Research Fellow in Science Communication at the University of the West of England, Bristol - titled "Spotlighting shared goals for science education and communication" and just published on JCOM, the author explains how “the book aims to build bridges between these fields by seeking synergy; highlighting values, concepts and processes where we have much to learn from each other”. In her review Laura Fogg-Rogers explains, chapter by chapter, how interesting (and sometimes not easy) has been to discover the collection of experiences and reflections which the book’s contributors provide. Contributions that suggest, for example, appealing challenges such as “(…) that in working towards inquiry-based learning in STE, and towards participation in STC, both fields would be stronger together”, or propose to explore “(…) the impacts of embedding science communication principles in a collaborative learning space”, but also address processes for how this can happen, such as for example in a chapter by Steven Flipse and Durdane Bayram-Jacobs which examines “how the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is bridging science education and communication.”

JCOM has published papers reflecting on communication and learning impact of science communication activities, such as “Analysing Dutch Science Cafés to better understand the science-society relationship” by Anne Dijkstra, focusing on how “(…) science cafés stimulate discussion and engagement via informal learning processes”, or “Using social network analysis to document science festival partnerships” by Christine Bevc et al., exploring “the role that one science festival has played in building the state's STEM learning ecosystem”.