Nanotechnology Experiences for Students and Teachers (NEST)
This project will advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to better understand and promote practices that increase students' motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) by introducing high school teachers and students to the field of nanotechnology. The project will develop and study the outcomes of a program that includes a concentrated two-week summer program coupled with academic year mentoring, support, and research opportunities. Nanotechnology teaching modules will be developed and tested, with the aim of implementing, researching, and refining a nanotechnology-focused program for secondary students, along with a professional development program for teachers. The project is intended to generate student awareness and interest in emerging workforce opportunities, particularly among students from low-income and underrepresented populations.
The project aims to increase nanotechnology content knowledge among students and teachers, increase associated pedagogical content knowledge among teachers, increase scientific research knowledge and skills among students and teachers, foster career readiness in nanotechnology-related fields among students, and foster increased teacher self-efficacy as it relates to teaching nanotechnology concepts. A mixed-methods research approach will be used to study outcomes among teacher and student participants, with pre-test and post-test data being collected in association with each implementation of summer sessions and academic-year modules. A quasi-experimental design will be used to compare results from treatment and comparison groups. Content assessments and interest surveys will be used to measure program impacts on student and teacher knowledge and interests, and a series of observations, interviews, and surveys will be used to guide interpretation of patterns detected in results from the treatment and comparison groups.