Nanotechnology Education Sources

Just having come from a conference on nanotechnology education, I thought that it might be interesting to review some of the sites/tools available within the United States. This is not an all-inclusive list but only a sampling of available resources. The NSEE (Nanoscale Science and Engineering Education) workshop was focused on identifying needs in developing curriculum to educate from K-12 through post graduate and workforce individuals. This National Science Foundation meeting involved people from academia, government, and industry. The attendees represented a number of the leading nanotech countries from around the world. The findings and recommendations will be published in 2015.

Nano-Link is an NSF funded center providing nanotechnology education led by Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minnesota.  With over 30 nano specific courses available, the Center mentors and supports colleges in the creation and implementation of nano based survey courses, diploma and certificate programs as well as 2 year AAS degree programs. Nano-Link provides modularized educational content for grades K-14, and provides Hands-On Educator Workshops.  Nano-Link is an alliance of over 12 colleges and universities with a nanotechnology focus throughout the US.  Graduates from the Nano-Link alliance schools are in high demand working in a myriad of market segments. Their web site is http://www.nano-link.org/.

NACK (Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge) is another NSF funded center hosted at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania. NACK support development of two-year degree programs in micro- and nanotechnology across the country. It emphasizes hands-on laboratory education and attention to the full range of micro- and nanotechnology applications; offers professional development programs in micro- and nanotechnology for secondary and postsecondary educators. NACK is committed nanotechnology education through its network partnerships with community colleges and research universities. Their web site is http://nano4me.org/.

 Nanotechnology Safety Education Courses were developed at Texas State University and University of Texas at Tyler under an NSF grant. (Full disclosure: I am involved in the efforts described in this paragraph.) The development of two modular courses was focused on the need to insert nanotechnology education across the broad spectrum of majors at a university and not just address the tightly focused nanotechnology related degrees. These courses will be released to the general public in 2015 after the completion of the second round of feedback from the students and evaluators. The modular nature of these courses permit insertion of various modules into existing course, which insertion has been very successful. In 2015, there will be a Nanotechnology Safety Certification program announced in conjunction with a major national organization.

 NanoHUB is the web portal of the Network for Computational Nanotechnology, which is an NSF funded effort, and is located at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The NanoHUB site hosts a growing collection of Simulation Programs for nanoscale phenomena that run in the cloud and are accessible through a web browser. In addition to simulation devices, nanoHUB provides Online Presentations, Courses, Learning Modules, Podcasts, Animations, Teaching Materials, and more. These resources help users learn about our simulation programs and about nanotechnology in general. The site offers researchers a venue to explore, collaborate, and publish content, as well. Much of these collaborative efforts occur via Workspaces and User groups. Their web site is https://nanohub.org/.

As mentioned at the start of this blog, these are only a representation of the available resources. There are many opportunities to find specific information or programs through web searches.

About Walt

I have been involved in various aspects of nanotechnology since the late 1970s. My interest in promoting nano-safety began in 2006 and produced a white paper in 2007 explaining the four pillars of nano-safety. I am a technology futurist and is currently focused on nanoelectronics, single digit nanomaterials, and 3D printing at the nanoscale. My experience includes three startups, two of which I founded, 13 years at SEMATECH, where I was a Senior Fellow of the technical staff when I left, and 12 years at General Electric with nine of them on corporate staff. I have a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, an MBA from James Madison University, and a B.S. in Physics from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

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