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Abstract

This paper aims to explore the potential suitability of the press as a teaching resource for raising scientific literacy for citizenship within science education. Our methodology is based on a content analysis of a sample of 1867 articles about science and technology from four Greek newspapers. The analysis showed that the press is potentially a useful tool for teaching certain aspects of science and technology for citizenship since it (a) provides a constant flow of relevant articles on a regular basis, (b) gives prominence to techno-scientific issues that prevail in the public arena (digital technologies, advances in biotechnology and genetic engineering, environmental degradation), (c) identifies the various social actors and forces (mainly coming from the world of politics and the business world) that impinge on the collective decision-making procedures about these issues, (d) portrays the kind of the social impacts of science and technology in an optimistic way, albeit tempered by considerable levels of concern, and (e) presents all the relevant news in context, thereby adding relevance and meaningfulness to the techno-scientific concepts under discussion. In addition to strong points, the press has also weak points as a teaching resource in science classes. These weaknesses are mostly related to the underpresentation of techno-scientific subject matter and the internal mechanisms that lead to the production of the corresponding knowledge. Consequently, press material can be used in the science classes in a complementary way to the conventional material already used so as to illuminate crucial aspects of science and technology in the public that seem to be missing from the official pedagogic discourse of science education. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed87:241–256, 2003; Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI 10.1002/sce.10054