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Southern Miss Awarded NISE Network Grant

University Libraries, the School of Library and Information Science and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry were recently awarded a Nanoscale Informal Science Education (NISE) Network mini-grant to develop a nanoscience-based outreach program for non-science teachers and librarians. This program was presented in a workshop to participants of the Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival held in April 2015 at Southern Miss and will also be added to nisenet.org an online digital library of public nano educational products and tools designed for educators and scientists.

The goal of this project is to bring awareness of and inspire interest in nanoscale science to school librarians, children book authors, and illustrators, as an effort to reach new audiences with nano programming. Tracy Englert, associate professor and reference librarian in Cook Library, and Dr. Stacy Creel, assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Science, discussed and demonstrated appropriate materials, including NISE program resources, to help school and public librarians develop their library collections and increase science programming with nano-related resources. Dr. Song Guo and Dr. Julie Pigza, assistant professors in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, presented an overview of basic nanoscience concepts. They also facilitated and taught hands-on activities appropriate for libraries or classrooms that will help participants engage with nano concepts.

Program materials included career resources, children's books suitable for read-aloud story-times and graphic novels, as well as games, and crafts related to nano science. The 10-page Selected Books about Nano, was made available to workshop participants, as well as all festival attendees, along with the nisenet.org online catalog of programs. Evaluation data was collected from surveys given to participants. Anticipated outcomes of this project are that participants will be engaged with nanoscale science and enabled to better identify, access and use NISE resources. Increasing these educators' knowledge of nanoscale science and NISE resources will motivate them to select nano-related materials for collections and provide nano-programming in schools and libraries. These educational resources provided at schools and libraries, will in turn, promote knowledge and interest in nanoscale science.

“After working with Stacy, Song and Julie during our successful Cook Library NanoDays festival in March 2014, we became interested in providing a professional development program to engage librarians and teachers with nanotechnology and enhance the existing NISE Net’s Nano Reading Program. The Children’s Book Festival is a perfect vehicle to reach audiences not typically targeted by informal science education as participants will include over 400 teachers and librarians from across the nation as well as major figures in the field of children’s literature,“ said Englert of the grant award.

The NISE Network launched in 2005 with the Science Museum of Minnesota and San Francisco's Exploratorium, NISE Net brings together researchers and science museum educators to create activities that explain the world at the scale of atoms. It offers a range of activities such as NanoDays, a nationwide festival of activities celebrating advances in nanotechnology research, and also conducts original research and evaluation of the network's impact on informal science education. For more information on the NISE Network, visit http://www.nisenet.org/.

 
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