Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Nanotechnology: Changing The Way We Teach

Nanotechnology: Changing The Way We Teach
18 May 2005

How can we make sure our schools and colleges turn out a new generation equipped to handle new and unfolding technologies? That's the question posed by scientist and futures thinker Professor Akhlesh Lakhtakia in a public seminar at Waikato Management School on Monday 23 May.

Professor Lakhtakia is Distinguished Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Pennsylvania State University and Adjunct Professor of Physics at London University's Imperial College. In his presentation, "Taking Nanotechnology to Schools", Professor Lakhtakia will discuss how the vast potential of nanotechnology opens up new ways of integrating sciences and the humanities.

"Nanotechnology - which is all about manipulating matter at the infinitesimal nanoscale -- is expected to radically alter the human condition within the next twenty years," says Professor Lakhtakia. "Human cultures don't change that fast, so it's imperative we begin to think about the social, legal and ethical changes that may emerge."

Prof Lakhtakia predicts that the convergence of nanotechnologies, information technologies and biotechnologies will result in new medical treatments, monitoring systems for safety-critical structures, such as dams, buildings, ships and aircraft, and energy-efficient production systems that produce very little waste.

But there are nightmare scenarios too, he warns. "We need watchdog groups to make sure governments don't erode individual rights and privacy, and we need laws to curb the powers of the controllers of the technologies over their users.

"To get our heads around the implications of these new technologies, we need to educate people to understand both the science and the social, ethical, legal and political issues they raise," argues Professor Lakhtakia.

He proposes integrating technosciences and humanities in education so that both future technoscientists and non-technoscientists can develop a common language.

To do this, Professor Lakhtakia advocates what he calls "just-in-time" education (JITE) - individual or team projects which require the students to gather information from many different sources to solve multidisciplinary problems.

"It's very different to "just-in-case" learning," he says. "There, we teach topics just in case they turn out to be useful to students. What I'm suggesting is supplementation by a broader, integrated form of educational experiences. That way we can equip future generations with the analytical tools they'll need to cope with our rapidly changing world."


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Hourly Wage Gap Grows: Gender Pay Gap Still Fixed At Fourteen Percent

“The totally unchanged pay gap is a slap in the face for women, families and the economy,” says Coalition spokesperson, Angela McLeod. Even worse, Māori and Pacific women face an outrageous pay gap of 28% and 33% when compared with the pay packets of Pākehā men. More>>


Housing: English On Housing Affordability And The Economy

"Long lead times in the planning process tend to drive prices higher in the upswing of the housing cycle. And those lead times increase the risk that eight years later, when additional supply arrives, the demand shock that spurred the additional supply has reversed. The resulting excess supply could produce a price crash..." More>>


Sweet Health: Sugary Drinks Banned From Hospitals And Health Boards

All hospitals and DHBs are expected to kick sugary drinks out of their premises. University of Auckland researcher, Dr Gerhard Sundborn who also heads public health advocacy group “FIZZ”, says he welcomes the initiative. More>>


NASA: Evidence Of Liquid Water On Today's Mars

Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. More>>


Bird Brains: Robins Can Just Be Generally Clever

Research from Victoria University of Wellington has revealed that birds may possess a ‘general intelligence’ similar to humans, with some individuals able to excel in multiple cognitive tests. More>>


Psa-V: Positive Result On Whangarei Kiwifruit Orchard

Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) has received a Psa-V positive test result on Hort16A and male vines on a kiwifruit orchard in Whangarei. This is the first confirmed case of Psa-V on an orchard in the Whangarei region. More>>

Regional Accents: Are Microbes The Key To Geographical Differences In Wine?

A new study of six of New Zealand’s major wine-growing regions has found that differences in flavour and aroma of wine from different areas may depend more on microbes than was previously thought. More>>


Science: AgResearch To Cut Science Staff In Areas Of 'Reduced Demand'

“We are therefore consulting with our staff from today on a proposal to reduce science staff in areas of shrinking demand. Combined with recruitment planned in areas of growing demand, this would mean a net reduction of 15 scientists and 41 technicians at AgResearch in the 2015/16 year." More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news