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This content has been moved to and updated on the Nano Education Research page.

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This group consists of a collection of content that focuses on how people learn nanotechnology concepts. We welcome and encourage contributions and discussions. (You can contribute substantial resources to through the resource contribution process, and then send a message to the group manager so that links to those resources can be added to this group.)

The initial materials of this group page have been developed by the Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN) Education Research team. Some of the research has focused on teaching nanotechnology through open-ended problem solving (found in the Pedagogy category). Other research has been conducted on how students learn specific concepts related to nanotechnology (found in Content and Assessment category).There is also some limited research about the philosophical nature of nanotechnology (found in the Philosophy of Nanotechnology Learning Environments category). The NCN Education Research team is constantly working to increase students’ awareness and understanding of nanotechnology, while contributing to the literature about nanotechnology education. There is also an additional reference sub page that list relevant papers in reverse chronological order. (This sub page can be found on the left under the group image and overview link.)

The NCN Education Research team has developed some materials for a course in Purdue’s First-Year Engineering Program. Course content can be seen at the following group:

Summary of Categories (additional content in sub pages):

Impact on nanoHUB users is a collaborative community for researchers, educators, and learners. This group is interested in increasing the pedagogical content to increase the quantity of educators in this community, increase the quality of their experiences by disseminating relevant research, and help increase the effectiveness of learning experiences that they develop for their classrooms. This group is also interested in creating a community for nanotechnology education researchers to disseminate and discuss findings for greater efficiency and impact. This group also aims to continuously improve learners’ experiences on by using research findings to update educational materials and modes of presentation of them.


The details of different pedagogical approaches are discussed in the sub-pages. The seven principles of teaching based on David Perkins (2009) book on Making Learning Whole establish a way of addressing pedagogy. This brief summary discusses components of Perkins’ (2009) framework.

  1. Play the Whole Game: The first component to Perkins’ (2009) framework is that the course must be connective. There should be some context setting element with individual questions that shows application to real life scenarios. This idea of context is one of the six principles of the Models and Modeling Paradigm (Lesh et. al., 2003), so it is already a component implemented into MEAs.
  2. Make the Game Worth Playing: The second component to Perkins’ (2009) framework is to have some element of motivation through demonstrating importance of learning. This can be done by focusing on skills and content that are important for students’ future careers, which should be established in course materials introduction to ensure students’ understand the importance of the course.
  3. Work on the Hard Parts: The third component of Perkins’ (2009) framework is to concentrate on the difficult aspects of the course. The Content and Assessment Category focuses on understanding concepts that have been identified as complex for students to understand.
  4. Play out of Town: The next aspect of Perkins’ (2009) framework is to challenge students to transfer their knowledge to a more complex scenario after being well-established within their well-defined, original setting. One way this can be done is through peer feedback. Peer feedback assignments enable students to have an opportunity to utilize their knowledge to help progress other students’ works that may be headed in a completely different direction. Analyzing a peers’ work forces one to look at a problem through another lens and adding an element of critiquing the work encourages students to transfer their knowledge gained from their solution.
  5. Uncover the Hidden Game: This element of Perkins’ (2009) framework encourages instructors to give students a sense of direction by enabling students to understand the learning objectives, assessment dimensions, and general timeline of the course goals. Supplying an informative syllabus and assessment tools can help fulfill this need.
  6. Learn from the Team: This aspect of Perkins’ (2009) framework supports Vygotsky and social learning theories by requiring some type of engagement pedagogy. Teams encourage continuous interaction between students to develop and improve solutions. Peer feedback opportunities which will also encourage teams to learn from individuals in other teams.
  7. Learn the Game of Learning: This element encourages self-reflection and fostering of metacognition (Perkins, 2009). An emphasis on reflection can fulfill this call.

Perkins, D. (2009) Making learning whole: How seven principles of teaching can transform education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

The following sub-pages are part of this category:

The following resources are additional materials that are helpful for developing classroom instruction:

Instructional Design Process (from

Content and Assessment

Assessment consists of three major components: 1. Cognition – a model of how students represent knowledge and develop competence in the subject domain, 2. Observation – tasks or situations that allow one to observe students’ performance, and 3. Interpretation – a method for drawing inferences from the performance evidence thus obtained (National Research Council, 2001). The type of assessment most commonly discussed and used in Purdue’s First-Year Engineering Program is assessment to assist learning, also referred to as formative assessment. Research in this category investigates specific content knowledge with the purpose of understanding how students progress their understanding of these concepts. These developed frameworks can be used to assess and scaffold student learning.

National Research Council. 2001. Knowing what students know: The science and design of educational assessment.Committee on the Foundations of Assessment. Pellegrino, J., Chudowsky, N., and Glaser, R., editors. Board on Testing and Assessment, Center for Education. Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

The following sub-pages are part of this category:

  • Understanding the concept of Size and Scale
  • Understanding Simulation

The following resources are additional materials that are helpful for developing learning objectives:

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Objectives (from

Philosophy of Nanotechnology Learning Environments

The following sub-pages are part of this category:

  • Cross-disciplinary nature of Nanotechnology, a resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology, is supported by the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.