In the last month there have been three nano education announcements. Dexter Johnson at Nanoclast featured a project with NanoProfessor (a division of NanoInk) in Colombia. From Dexter’s May 26, 2010 post,
According to Tom Levesque, General Manager of NanoInk in the Americas, he visited a school in Bogota, Colombia where about 350 teenagers in conjunction with the NanoProfessor curriculum work with atomic force microscopes [AFM] and end up with better training than many receive at private universities in the country.
While making available an AFM for 350 kids seems almost as incredible as the idea that these kids have a better education than those at the best private schools, one has to wonder why this program has taken off in foreign countries and has not fared as well in the United States.
I too find the idea of an AFM for 350 kids extraordinary and his point about the initiative (or something else like it) not being widely adopted in the US, as I understand it, holds true for Canada.
Meanwhile, the Russians held an international conference on nanoeducation, May 18 – 20, 2010. From the news item on Nanowerk,
On May 18-20th the nanotechnology equipment manufacturer in Russia NT-MDT Co. and one of the main Russian scientific nanocenters the Kurchatov Institute held an international conference “Nanoeducation: the main approaches and perspectives”. The meeting had a unique format – the first educational international conference with trainings on working with nanoeducational equipment for teachers. 185 participants took part in the event, including representatives from Russia, the USA, Europe and CIS. The conference has become an essential part of Russian Government Federal Program.
The main goal of the conference was to overcome the gap between impetuous development of the modern nanoscience and the conservative system of education, especially in schools, where the teachers suffer serious problems in working with new equipment.
I find their direct approach to describing some of the issues quite refreshing. The topics covered were,
… controversial areas as contemporary approaches to nanoeducation, educational process organizing and leading, the newest educational technologies, international university cooperation all over the world concerning personnel trainings for teachers and professors and etc. The discussion has touched all the educational levels at schools as well as in universities.
In Iran, they’re launching a student competition (from the Fars News Agency item),
Iran’s Nanoclub (a club for students that works under the supervision of Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council) plans to hold the first stage of Nanotechnology Olympiad for Students in a number of provincial capitals on June 25.
All students familiar with nanotechnology will compete scientifically in two stages in this scientific competition entitled ‘Nanotechnology Olympiad for Students’ throughout the country. The Olympiad will be held in two stages on June 25 and August 9, 2010.
The test for the first stage will be held in 2010-2011 educational year in 10 capitals of Iranian provinces that are more active in the field of nanotechnology and enjoy more students familiar with nanotechnology, according to statistics.
The Promotion and Public Education Workgroup of Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council will give three 1000-dollar awards to the top three winners of the first Nanotechnology Olympiad for Students.
Very exciting news and if you know of any comparable programmes for children in Canada, please do let me know.