How to promote chemical literacy? On-line question posing and communicating with scientists
Facilitating students' chemical literacy is a focal point of current science education. This study examines views of chemists and chemistry teachers on chemical literacy and, more broadly, on scientific literacy of four kinds of stakeholders: scientists, teachers, STEM students, and the educated public. We explored the views of 347 participants, representing the four stakeholder groups with diversified scientific literacy, and an Ask-a-Scientist public website as a communication channel for facilitating chemical literacy through posing questions. Research tools included interviews, open-ended questionnaires, and questions retrieved from the website. We found that the questions posed on the website expressed a range of levels of chemical literacy that the students had constructed. The stakeholder groups expressed diverse perspectives of their experiences using various types of communication channels, arguing for the need to encourage students to pose questions and receive scientists' responses. Our study is placed in the larger context of scientific literacy and communication channels, as it takes the example of chemical literacy, with a focus on communications among scientists and chemistry teachers in the context of an Ask-a-Scientist website. It has established a link between responses of various stakeholders and the literature definitions regarding scientific literacy with focus on chemical literacy. From a practical viewpoint, the study presents a productive communication channel for posing questions in the context of chemistry and other sciences. Methodologically, this study includes the design of tools for analyzing both the views of different stakeholders and for evaluating the complexity level of chemistry questions, which might serve chemistry educators.