CRANN Launches Educational Package to Secondary Science Classrooms
17 November 2011. — Today, during Science Week, CRANN, the SFI-funded nanoscience institute based in Trinity College Dublin, has announced the launch of an innovative educational package, ‘Nano in My Life’. The package will introduce Transition Year and Senior Cycle students to nanoscience, the study of materials at very tiny dimensions, which is set to become part of the proposed new Leaving Certificate syllabi.
The ‘Nano in My Life’ package, for the first time, will bring nanoscience – an area of research at which Ireland excels and which is a key enabler for innovation and economic growth – to the Irish classroom. It will encourage students to relate science subjects to innovative careers, with exciting and challenging applications. There are seven modules, each using a range of teaching and learning approaches, including video captured at CRANN, designed to engage students and encourage active learning.
Approximately 10% of Irish exports (€15 billion) are enabled by nanotechnology with tens of thousands of jobs in the ICT and medical devices sectors dependent upon this research. Ireland is ranked 6th in the world for nanoscience research and 8th for materials science research (a branch of nanoscience), with CRANN enabling the majority of this research. Earlier in the week, Prof Jonathan Coleman, Principal Investigator at CRANN and Trinity College Dublin’s School of Physics was announced as the ‘Science Foundation Ireland Researcher of the Year’ for 2011.
Commenting on the launch, Mary Colclough, CRANN’s Communications and Outreach Manager said, “There is a real need to introduce secondary school students to cutting-edge nanoscience research which is driving innovation, providing jobs for highly skilled graduates and is now forming an important part of studying science at third level. CRANN is at the cutting edge of nanoscience research, which has the potential to revolutionise a number of industries, so we feel it is important to open students’ eyes to the opportunities that will be available in the future and hopefully inspire the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg.”
Prof. John Boland, Director of CRANN added “’Nano in My Life’ is an example of how the third and second level education systems can work together to promote the uptake of subjects like Physics and Chemistry. At times it is difficult for secondary school students to relate what they are studying in their textbooks with their everyday lives, but we are in a unique position to cast a spotlight on what the future holds for the whole area of research and its return to Ireland’s smart economy. Our ultimate ambition for the programme is to see students who have used the package working alongside us at CRANN in the years to come, perhaps graduating through Trinity College’s N-PCAM degree programme.”
Along with the launch of the ‘Nano in My Life’ package, CRANN has announced a national poster competition open to senior cycle students in association with the Irish Science Teachers’ Association (ISTA). Competition entrants will be asked to depict a new product involving nanotechnology using the information they have learnt from ‘Nano in My Life’, thus linking scientific research with innovative applications.
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