Nanotechnology and Bioengineering
in Philadelphia Public Schools
Our project entitled Nanotechnology and Bioengineering in Philadelphia Public Schools (ITEST-Nano) is a collaboration between the Graduate School of Education, the Nano-Bio Interface Center at the University of Pennsylvania and the School District of Philadelphia. Funded by NSF under the program title Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) since 2008, the project brings the latest scientific research and applications into high school classrooms through problem-based learning (PBL) curricula in nanotechnology and bioengineering.
All project activities are built upon a five component framework distilled from current science education research and cyberinfrastructure goals: i) Real world science and engineering applications (e.g., current nanotechnology research); ii) Educational technologies to build content knowledge (e.g., simulations and imaging); iii) Information technologies for communication, community-building and dissemination (e.g., Web 2.0 tools); iv) STEM education and careers investigations (e.g., industry internships, speakers); and v) Cognitively-rich pedagogical strategies (e.g., problem-based learning, peer-to-peer interaction).
During a week long teacher professional development workshop in the summer, teachers increase skills and knowledge in the five ITEST-Nano program components and are introduced to curriculum units that incorporate nanotechnology within the classroom.