Responding to the national call for more trained engineers and scientists, the Museum established the NCTL in 2004 to inspire the next generation of engineers, inventors, and scientists and to enable the public to become wiser consumers and citizens in an increasingly technological world. The NCTL's goal is to integrate engineering as a new discipline in schools nationwide and to present technology as an equal to science through lifelong learning in museums and science centers.
Convinced that science museums can bring government, industry, and education leaders together to create a scientifically and technologically literate citizenry, Miaoulis will help lead this mounting revolution in science and technology education. The NCTL's innovative strategy involves introducing engineering as early as elementary school, then continuing it through high school, college, and throughout later life. According to Miaoulis, "K-12 education has not done enough to develop our understanding of the human-made world. Isn't it as important to teach children about how a car or a computer works as how a volcano erupts? I think we need both."
Miaoulis spearheaded the introduction of engineering into Massachusetts public schools, making the Commonwealth first in 2001 to develop curricular frameworks and assessments for engineering at all levels K-12. As Tufts University's Dean of Engineering, he also originated practical courses engaging students' interests, greatly increased the number of female students and faculty, and designed collaborative programs with industry.
Spicer "brings outstanding skills and expertise in science and technology education," says Miaoulis. "Both imaginative and articulate, Yvonne was instrumental in establishing the new technology/engineering learning standards in Massachusetts and has been challenging stereotypes about minorities, women, and technology education" since 1985. A National Science Foundation Program Reviewer, she also taught drafting, architecture, graphic arts, and photography in the Framingham Public Schools for many years, earning several awards, including the 1995 Anti-Defamation League's "A World of Difference" Teacher Incentive Award.
"The NCTL model offers educators in Massachusetts and across the country everything--curricula, standards, assessments and professional development," says Spicer. She is concerned how many children in the U.S. "are shut out of technology and engineering. They need to learn how engineers create things. We must show students how to apply what they know in math and science to solve engineering problems. Technological literacy is important because it is embedded in everything we touch," says Spicer. She will oversee work with state leaders in education, industry, government and policy-making across the country to help them integrate technology and engineering into their curricula and will assist with dissemination of the Museum's formal engineering/ technology education elements. They include K-12 curricula, such as the Engineering is Elementary and Engineering the Future courses, and teacher training and support.
Bell "combines an extraordinary intellect with over 30 years' experience in the design of inspiring hands-on Museum exhibits and programs," says Miaoulis. "Larry has also played a key role in shaping our approach to lifelong learning about technology and engineering." A national authority on informal science education, his exhibit plan, Science Is an Activity, which fosters learning by practicing scientific thinking skills, spans over 20 permanent exhibits and activity centers at the Museum. Awarded many National Science Foundation grants, the plan has redefined informal science education worldwide.
"I am excited at the challenge of creating a new generation of exhibits and programs that will motivate Museum visitors to explore what technology is, how it is created and can be used, and how we as individuals and citizens can make good decisions about its development and implementation," says Bell. The Museum's approach to informal technology education includes a Technology Showcase presenting a window on the latest research and technology; a Creativity Workshop addressing hands-on problem-solving with technology and invention; and a Forum focusing on critical science and technology issues and decision-making. He will also direct projects such as the Museum's leadership of the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network of science museums and research centers to enhance public engagement nationally in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology.
Funding for NCTL-led formal and informal technology education initiatives has surpassed $32 million, underlining the appropriateness of the Museum's strategy for science, engineering, and technology education. The Museum's formal and informal technology/engineering initiatives--which form the backbone of the NCTL--are supported by Cisco Systems, Inc., Concord Communications, Inc., the GE Foundation, the Hayden Foundation, Hewlett-Packard, the Highland Street Connection, the Intel Foundation, the Lockheed Martin Foundation, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Renewable Energy Trust, Museum of Science Overseers and Trustees, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Science Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, the United States Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Web address is www.nctl.org.
For 175 years, the Museum of Science, Boston has demonstrated a strong commitment to making science and technology accessible and relevant to the public. One of the world's largest science centers and Boston's most-attended cultural institution, the Museum is ideally positioned to lead this nationwide educational effort. Drawing over 1.5 million visitors in 2004, including more than 209,000 school children, the Museum received the Massachusetts Association of School Committees' 2005 Thomas P. O'Neill Award for Lifetime Service to Public Education, the first time the award went to an institution, not an individual. The Museum is ranked sixteenth among the "50 Overall Top-Rated Attractions" in the Zagat Survey's "U.S. Family Travel Guide" and one of the top two science museums nationwide. For more information, visit http://www.mos.org/.