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Scientific and Technological Culture in Secondary Education Textbooks in Spain

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Wikipedia is becoming a main source for scientific information. However, we know very little of the nature of science transmitted by Wikipedia. In this paper we present the preliminary results of our attempt to characterize scientific knowledge on the Spanish Wikipedia. Our analysis consists of two stages: Identifying scientific and technological content and highlighting the relationships among its components. Comparing our results with similar procedures carried out on school textbooks, suggests that there is a significant difference between scientific culture in traditional educational aids and on the Web. Scientific content in textbooks is characterized by a traditional disciplinary division, in spite of efforts to integrate interdisciplinary approaches and significant social contexts. It seems that for its dynamic nature Wikipedia is more prone to an interdisciplinary structure of contents. This relative flexibility also opens the way to the incorporation of social concerns alongside traditional scientific disciplines. We believe thus that the popularity of Wikipedia can contribute to changing the nature of scientific content available to students.
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