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Professional Development for Teachers in Nanotechnology Using Distance Learning Technologies

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Since 2002, the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN) at Rice University has offered a teacher professional development course "Nanotechnology for Teachers" that models the active analysis of research to reinforce conceptual knowledge. This semester long course exposes teachers to cutting edge developments in the exciting field of nanotechnology, offers teachers new pedagogical approaches to teaching science, and provides teachers with the opportunity to refresh their understanding of core science concepts by participating this a inquiry-driven course. Over 150 teachers from more than 22 school districts in the greater Houston area have taken this evening graduate level class. On average, each teacher in our program teaches 120 students; therefore, this corresponds to over 18,000 students per year potentially benefiting from this program. Building upon the success of our face-to-face course, which has been shown to increase teachers' content and pedagogical knowledge and improve their practice, the course was expanded and offered via video conferencing and webcasting with 50 teachers participating from Texas and Colorado. Surveys, feedback and follow-up workshops have shown that lesson plans and concept questions have been developed and group discussions have been fostered, even for teachers participating in remote locations. This has been confirmed in a videoconferenced workshop where teachers shared their experiences. We have found that the outcomes from the synchronous videoconferencing format were similar to the face-to-face course and that teachers find this a valuable professional development program.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-06-01

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  • The Journal of Nano Education (JNE) is a peer-reviewed international journal that aims to provide the most complete and reliable source of information on current developments in nanoscale science, technology, engineering, and medical education.
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