Nanotech Database

Article Title:
What Can Students Learn in an Extended Role-Play Simulation on Technology and Society?

Loui, Michael C

Journal Information:
Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society
Vol. 29, Num. 1


Loui uses a role-play exercise with his students to teach them about the public role of science. The dozen students who took part in the exercise were given one of three scenarios, the middle dealing with the expansion of nanotechnology, and charged with either attacking, defending or judging the developments (part of the lesson plan, alternating good and bad news) over four days. The idea was to see what these students could learn about how society works by giving them the opportunity to act as citizen proponents or opponents of emerging technologies. Louis results found that the students were almost universally frustrated by the process of trying to persuade intractable opponents to change their views, and many ended up relieved when the final assignment was not to change peoples minds but simply build a consensus.