Techno-moral vignettes: A useful tool to introduce synthetic biology related socio-scientific issues?
Ruijter, C. de
MetadataShow full item record
Synthetic biology is a new high-profile area of research in biology that develops rapidly and entails both promises and perils. At the moment, we are therefore on the threshold of social discussions about synthetic biology related socio-scientific issues (SSIs). To be able to form opinions and make informed decisions about SSIs generated by new developments in biological research, i.e. synthetic biology, students need to be prepared. A possible way of introducing those issues is by use of future scenarios. The present study investigated the educational potential of techno-moral vignettes, which are future scenarios, for introducing synthetic biology related SSIs. Ten Dutch upper secondary school students (five males and five females) from the fifth grade of pre-university level with an average age of 16.3 years, were interviewed in individual face-to-face interviews and subsequently in two heterogeneous focus groups. The students were asked to read a vignette and react upon the story described. Five vignettes were used in total. The results demonstrate that techno-moral vignettes have educational potential because they evoked some emotions and a broad range of questions, values and reasoning types in the students. Those aspects are important to develop knowledge on synthetic biology and to work on citizenship education. The vignettes used covered different parts of the broad range of questions, values and reasoning types. Therefore it is advised to use two or more vignettes for the development of a teaching and learning strategy and to test this strategy in a larger setting.