Young people, Science and Technology

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The ‘Youth, Science and Technology’ survey, promoted and coordinated by Observa and Pristem Bocconi in the spring 2017, was carried out using some of the questions of the ROSE (Relevance of Science Education) research questionnaire dedicated to studying student orientation towards science and technology (Schreiner & Sjoberg, 2005). The survey was also carried out in 2014 and it was possible to detect any changes in attitudes and behavior of students (Pellegrini, 2015).

The research involved a representative sample of  Italians students age 14-15 in Secondary Schools (n: 2023, 53% females).

The collected data demonstrate interesting effects of science and technology on adolescent attitudes. There is a wealth of ideas for reflection thanks to the territorial and cultural factors that point to different ways of understanding the  scientific activity.
The time has come for the advancement of science, especially for health and knowledge activities. Significant differences remain between the interests of males and females, especially in the area of ??health and care, although it increases both in sensitivity to scientific research.

Growing interest is linked to a good appreciation of school activities that in part allow to design their own future even if they do not always favor a tangible relapse in everyday life. The most novel element concerns the increasing desire of female teenagers to become scientists: it doubles the percentage between 2014 and 2017 and aligns with that of males. Different situation with regard to the professions in the field of technology where there is a decrease in the interest of males and an increase in females.

Opinions on science demonstrate a positive view of science in various areas: knowledge, environment and development. However, this is not a question of unconditional trust when one considers that students recognize the limits of scientific activity, since it can not give a definite answer to all the problems it face with.

In summary, science and technology are at the center of teenagers’ interests and put them into opportunities and questions useful to face the present and to plan the future. Students demonstrate a strong familiarity with the various scientific fields by showing curiosity and critical thinking, preferring a useful and reflective science rather than an omnipotent science unattractive to the effects of their activities.

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