What Can NBIC Do for Education

The unification of the sciences is gaining momentum and will provide a knowledge base for education. The concepts on fundamental building blocks of matter employed in nanoscience can be applied in different disciplines, thus providing a multidisciplinary opportunity to introduce breadth while advancing depth. This creates the opportunity for integration across learning — moving from reductionism to integration. It also introduces the challenge of creating a common language for talking about the big picture.

Technologies that arise from the NBIC convergence will provide new tools and modalities for teaching. Some of these will be sensory, including visual, auditory, and tactile. Others will take advantage of better understanding of how the brain works. Still others will be logistic and include delivery of teaching and educational resources anytime and anywhere. For advanced levels of scientific training, this will create opportunities at new research frontiers.

Across all levels, there will be opportunities to involve groups of people who have tended previously to be excluded from high-quality science education. We have a responsibility to achieve substantial inclusion and outreach, especially across race and gender. The entire 21st century workforce will be involved in the convergent technologies revolution. NBIC-related applications will be an excellent way to promote systemic, problem-based learning from the earliest educational levels.

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