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As science education has matured as a discipline, it has developed experts in the
field, specialized journals, professional meetings, advanced degree programs along
with a unique language and the desire on the part of scholars and practitioners from
across the globe to participate in work designed to enhance science teaching and
learning. Recently, these last two elements came together when I was approached
by colleagues from the Excellence Research Center of Science and Mathematics
Education (ECSME) of the King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Their
request was to write a glossary defining a number of key terms within science
education so that they could more fully understand the literature and make
contributions to it. This immediately seemed to be a worthy and interesting project
with potentially far reaching implications to promote shared understanding.
The original list of more than seventy terms featured an important cross section
of many aspects of science education, all of which were worthy of formal
definition. The list revealed that science education has truly developed its own
language with unique entries and general education terms contextualized with
respect to science teaching and learning. It was immediately clear that knowledge
of this core set of terms would be fundamental to having shared and productive
conversations within the discipline. As we completed our task for ECSME, they
graciously encouraged us to expand the work and produce a product directed at a

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