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Tomorrow at the Barcelona Science Park (PCB) representatives from a total of 40 educational centers will participate in Spain’s first teacher training course on explaining nanotechnology to students aged 11 to 18 years, and getting them involved in discussions on the ethical, legal and social questions raised by nanotechnology.

The course is part of the European project Nanoyou, an Internet portal that provides educational centers with teaching resources such as workshops, animations, games, experiments, and other online content designed to increase European adolescents’ knowledge of nanotechnology and foster their interest in scientific careers.

Since its inception just over a year ago, Nanoyou has received more than 100,000 visits, drawing on the participation of educational centers from 20 countries around the world. These centers have been offered online and live training courses held in Brussels, Cambridge and, as of tomorrow, Barcelona. Previously, Spain had four educational centers participating in a pilot program for the initiative (one from Sant Just Desvern, in Catalonia, one from Valencia, and two from Andalusia).

Since nanotechnology is such a broad scientific field, Nanoyou has focused on three areas: medicine, energy, and the environment. The program emphasizes applications relevant to the daily lives of today’s youth.

The course will familiarize Spanish teachers with pedagogic resources developed by Nanoyou and instruct them on how to use these resources in the classroom. The planned activities include the chance for attendees to perform two experiments: one in which they use gold nanoparticles as heat sensors, and one dealing with the properties of superhydrophobic materials. The program also includes demonstration of a role-playing game to spark debate on nanotechnology and related issues; presentations on the basics of nanoscience and nanotechnology, given by experts in the field; and a visit to a nanotechnology laboratory at the PCB.

The course, which will be held in the PCB’s OpenLab, is part of the PCB’s Research in Society initiative, which runs more than 120 free events that draw some 6,000 attendees per year.

Besides the PCB, the other institutional members of the Nanoyou consortium comprise the European Schoolnet Partnership AISBL (Belgium); the University of Cambridge (the UK); the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) at Aarhus University (Denmark); the Centre for Social Innovation (Austria); the Centre de Culture Scientifique Technique et Industrielle (CCSTI) in Grenoble (France), the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie (France), and the ARTTIC group (Israel), which is coordinating the project.

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