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Authors: Locritani, Marina* 
Batzu, Ilenia* 
Carmisciano, Cosmo* 
Muccini, Filippo* 
Talamoni, Roberta* 
La Tassa, Hebert* 
Stroobant, Mascha* 
Guccinelli, Giacomo* 
Benvenuti, Lucrezia* 
Abbate, Marinella* 
Furia, Stefania* 
Benedetti, Alessandro* 
Bernardini, Maria Ines* 
Centi, Roberto* 
Casale, Laura* 
Vannucci, Cristina* 
Giacomazzi, Fabio* 
Marini, Claudio* 
Tosi, Daniela* 
Merlino, Silvia* 
Mioni, Erika* 
Nacini, Francesca* 
Title: Feeling the pulse of Public Perception of Science: does Research make our hearts beat faster?
Issue Date: 20-May-2015
Keywords: STEM
Science Perception
Abstract: In 2007 the Italian Ministry of Education identified the need of raising a new Humanism: students must receive adequate tools for knowledge, but must also understand and be able to handle the increasingly frequent transitions and changes they have to face as citizens and individuals. Orientation during the developmental phase must, hence, allow students to acquire all those key and context-independent competences, necessary for self-assessment of natural attitudes. Nevertheless, the label “new Humanism”, should not be the first step for giving even less importance to scientific education: there is no need to enhance the existing general lack of interest affecting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and literature; moreover, the social importance of scientific and technological research can’t remain undervalued. All these issues are a matter of concern for the European Community and, in fact, the last European Directives concerning education and social development, are trying to redirect and enforce educational programmes towards a “knowledge-based society and economy” that will support the societal challenges of the 21st century and the growing demand of scientific expertise in all sectors (necessary for boosting European economic development). The most interesting strategies for implementing these directives are all those activities that see a wide partnership of schools with public institutions, enterprises and research centres (e.g. science festivals, competitions and internships for high school students). Recent studies, and the same recommendations of the European Community, have also shown that these activities, when included since the earliest years of primary schools, have a deeper impact in the long term as they match with the evolutive period in which intrinsic motivation is strongly present. This study is, hence, aimed to build an instrument able for understanding if all these kind of activities are effective in 2 increasing: (1) appreciation and interest towards scientific research and (2) number of young people considering a STEM career as a possible perspective for their future (the question is: ‘does Science make our hearts beat faster?’).
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