Release type: Media Release


Schools thinking big about small technologies

The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, will today in Melbourne launch an innovative secondary school resource that will assist science teachers to teach nanotechnology in Australian schools.

AccessNano, a cutting-edge educational resource, is designed to introduce accessible and innovative science and technology into classrooms, and provide an integrated approach to teaching nanotechnolgy.

The Australian Office of Nanotechnology developed AccessNano following feedback from science teachers that children were asking to be taught about nanotechnology, but many teachers did not have the knowledge or resources to be able to teach the topic.

Science teachers have since adapted Nanotechnology to fit in high school curriculums throughout Australia and it is one of the first such resources in the world to offer in-depth teaching modules about the study of nanosized technologies – at a scale of one billionth of a metre.

Nanotechnology research and applications are growing rapidly around the world, with nanotechnology appearing in new materials, electronics and sporting goods.

It is estimated that by 2014, $2.6 trillion of global manufactured goods will incorporate nanotechnology.

AccessNanowill have a variety of teaching modules aimed at junior science through to senior levels of high school, for teachers and students to discover the relevance of exciting research and real world nanotechnology applications.

Topics covered by the modules include:

  • understanding scale and properties at the nanoscale;
  • performance materials such as carbon nanotubes, textiles, shape memory alloys and glass;
  • health and medical fields including drug delivery, imaging and diagnostics;
  • water and sunscreens; and
  • social and ethical aspects of emerging technologies.

AccessNanois based on the SHINE program developed at Saint Helena Secondary College in Melbourne and was funded by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

It was developed by the Australian Office of Nanotechnology in collaboration with the company, Bridge8, the Federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations; the Australian Science Teachers Association; the Victorian Department of Education; NanoVic and SHINE.

AccessNanois being launched by the Minister at the Science Teachers Association of Victoria annual conference.