NanoEducation


There is no doubt that nanotechnology will appear in curricula in this decade.  However, at present there is little material that is in a form that teachers can easily use and incorporate into their classes.  From the inception of our program, nanotecKnowledgy has had barrier reduction as a primary goal. Through extensive discussions and focus groups with teachers and administrators, we have a clearer understanding of the impediments and the factors that motivate teachers.   We have addressed these in our education program.  This is particularly important today in the absence of mandated nanotechnology instruction. 

Impediments are:
  • Lack of mandated nanotechnology curricula
  • Minimal reference to nanotechnology in educational standards
  • Crowded syllabi-what do you remove to insert nanotechnology content?
  • Teachers are bound by a chemistry, biology and physics curriculum-benchmark tests-district mandated
  • Lack of teachers’ confidence -insufficient comfort level with the material

Clearly, some of these factors are beyond external influence, but others are tractable.   In order to inform teachers in the absence of textbook content, we provide:
  • Background instruction
  • Comprehensive lesson plans
  • Materials to facilitate nanotechnology laboratory instruction
  • Ongoing consultation

In addition, we have learned that a prime motivating factor for teachers is student recognition.  To this end, we have established awards at the Delaware Valley Science Fair for the three best nanotechnology projects.  Criteria are scientific excellence and the ability to extend the projects to classroom lessons.  We will institute a similar, though more modest, awards at countywide science fairs in the tri-state area.  In this way, we intend to increase nanotechnology awareness and participation of both students and teachers in promoting classroom nanotechnology education.




Upcoming Info

 

  • We are developing new nanotechnology lessons.  Look for them in the near future.
  • We have expanded the relationship between schools and our corporate partners through our Outreach Providers Network (OPN).  It is our vision to bring corporate scientists, engineers, technicians, and business people into the classroom, using modern technology.  We have created a repository of short video interviews with our corporate partners for teachers use to show students the journeys that others have taken to careers in science and technology.   These interviews can be used in the classroom or for home assignments as the basis for discussions about nanotechnolgy careers.