Advanced Technological Education

Learn about 21st century technological careers, and the skills they entail, in this collection of media resources. Adapted for use by high school and community college students and teachers, these resources have been developed in collaboration with centers and projects in the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education program.

  • Career Profile: Research Assistant Sandra Bustamante

    Hear how a research assistant got her start in biotechnology, in this video produced by WGBH. Sandra fell in love with science during a free certificate program in Boston, Massachusetts, called CityLab. The video details not only Sandra's cutting-edge research work—using nanotechnology, rather than needles, to deliver vaccines—but also the qualities she has demonstrated that have helped her excel in her field.

    This video is available in English and Spanish with closed captions.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Generating Electrical Voltage

    In this interactive resource adapted from the Wisconsin Online Resource Center, learn how a generator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. Investigate the principle of magnetic induction by moving a conductor through a magnetic field to see how voltage is generated. Explore factors that influence the amount of voltage generated, such as the angle, speed, and length of the conductor and the strength of the magnetic field. In addition, learn the left-hand rule that describes the relationship between the motion of the conductor, the direction of magnetic flux lines, and the direction of current flow.
    Grades: 9-12
  • Protein Purification Lab in the Classroom and in Real-World Research

    In this video produced by WGBH, high school and middle school students participating in the Amgen Biotech Experience use real-world research equipment and techniques to separate a genetically engineered protein from other molecules in a cell. As an industry research scientist explains, this process—called protein purification—is commonly used in research and development of disease therapies. The video also explores some of the reasons people have for choosing a career in science, including the rewards of knowing their work is helping others.
    Grades: 9-12
  • PBCL Stage 3: The Situation

    For Problem-Based Case Learning (PBCL), students work in teams to develop and present solutions to real-world problems. In this video from Making Learning Real, the instructor has partnered with a business owner who needs a networking plan for her new store. The business owner needs to know how the proposed networks will function and how she should use them. During the design process, students use the PBCL Need To Know Board (NTKB), which helps them identify what they already know and what they need to learn in order to continue their work.

    Grades: 11-13+
  • Process Technology Student: Chemical & Refinery Process Technician

    Learn about process technology and the career of a process technician, also known as a process operator in this video adapted from Pathways to Technology. Process technology is what turns chemicals into products, from oil and gas to cosmetics and rubber soles for shoes. The process technician keeps the machines that process chemicals running smoothly. Jason Canales is studying to become a process technician. He explains what brought him to this field and why he wants to work at a refinery or a chemical plant after he graduates. Jason visits a factory to better understand how his classwork can be applied in the real world.

    Grades: 9-12
  • DNA Sequencing

    In this interactive activity adapted from the Dolan DNA Learning Center, examine the techniques geneticists use to read a sequence of DNA fragments. Sequencing enables scientists to analyze DNA and ultimately piece together the genomes of living organisms. The activity features Fred Sanger's original sequencing method, developed in 1977, and an automated version of Sanger's method that uses computers to read and interpret data. This newer technique provides a faster and more reliable means of sequencing.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Career Profile: Associate Scientist Andres Berrio

    Andres Berrio is an associate scientist with the biotechnology company, Biogen. In this video produced by WGBH, Andres talks about his career path, his background as an unmotivated student, the guidance counselor who helped turn his life around, his discovery that he liked learning, and what it takes to succeed in the biotechnology field.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Careers in Plastics

    Learn about career opportunities in the plastics industry in this video segment adapted from Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA. Visit NPE: The International Plastics Showcase, the biggest plastics gathering in the world, and meet some people from the industry. Hear how different academic degrees can lead to different types of positions within the plastics industry. In addition, learn how emerging technologies such as recycling and bioplastics are a part of the sustainability and environmental movement.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Engineering Technology: Electronic Maintenance Technician

    Learn about the role of an electronic maintenance technician, and see how this important position keeps the machines in a factory moving in this video adapted from Pathways to Technology. Community college graduate Brad Richardson always liked taking things apart to see how they work, and his job at Tupperware gives him that satisfaction. Brad describes what brought him to study engineering, and what he does in his career.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Marine Technology Student: Submersible Technician

    Discover the undersea world of Penelope Ross, who’s studying marine technology in this video adapted from Pathways to Technology. Penelope is learning to build undersea robots called ROVs: remotely operated vehicles. These ROVs can go places in the ocean where it’s hard for humans to travel, and can collect data on the ocean and its underwater life. Penelope explains what brought her to community college, and why she's looking forward to a career in marine technology.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Careers In Biotechnology

    In this interactive activity produced by WGBH, learn about the vital role biotechnology professionals serve in health care, and explore the wide range of jobs available in the following career paths: research and development, manufacturing and production, quality control and assurance, and clinical research. Read job descriptions, education and experience requirements, and testimonials from people working in entry-level as well as senior-level positions.

    Grades: 8-12
  • Creating a Community of Learners

    In this professional development video from Getting Results, Dr. John Bransford, professor of education at the University of Washington School of Education, and two science instructors discuss the effect a positive classroom environment has on student success. Bransford points out that much of learning is social. Watch as students build knowledge through a “think-pair-share.” In another class, the instructor creates an environment of trust where students can make mistakes. Finally, the learning scientist explains that building community celebrates individual contributions and that people liberate their minds through learning from diversity.

    Grades: 11-13+
  • Genetic Engineering and Working with DNA

    The technique illustrated in this animation produced by WGBH and Digizyme, Inc., shows how scientists use natural processes and technological innovations to insert genes into loops of DNA called plasmids. Plasmids can then be introduced into bacterial or other cells, which will proceed to replicate the inserted genes or induce the cells to produce such valuable proteins as human insulin and growth hormone. This resource is part of the Biotechnology collection.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Careers in Engineering Technologies

    In this interactive activity produced for Teachers' Domain, investigate three possible career paths in engineering technologies--research and development; manufacturing and construction; and inspection, testing, and repair. Explore each path to learn more about the education and experience required for particular jobs such as drafter, materials testing technician, chemical engineering technician, civil engineering technician, robotics technician, manufacturing engineering technologist, aerospace engineering technician, electronic engineering technician, and non-destructive testing technician.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Running an Agarose Gel

    Gel electrophoresis is a powerful technique used to quickly analyze samples for variations in the DNA molecules they contain. While not nearly as precise as decoding an entire genome, gel electrophoresis uses molecular variability to match biological samples to their sources with a great deal of accuracy. However, as this video from the University of Leicester demonstrates, the technique is only as good as the procedures used to conduct the analysis.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Biotechnology: Training & Careers

    In this video excerpted from Pathways to Technology, you’ll learn about biotechnology: the science of using living organisms to create new products, from drugs to fuels. Genetic engineering is a booming field in biotechnology, as scientists learn how to engineer living organisms to produce useful proteins. The need for people with biotechnology skills is always growing, and there is a wide range of possible careers available within the field.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Careers in Information and Security Technologies

    Investigate three possible career paths in information and security technologies: administration, development, and integration, in this interactive activity produced for Teachers' Domain. Explore each path to learn more about the education and experience required for particular jobs such as computer support specialist, network and systems administrator, computer security specialist, database administrator, computer technician, computer hardware engineer, computer software engineer, computer training specialist, computer systems analyst, and network engineer.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Plating

    Learn how to plate transformed cells onto an agar plate using proper aseptic technique in this video produced by WGBH. Using a micropipette, a lab technician dispenses P- and P+ cells onto three separate agar plates and then carefully spreads the cells using bacterial cell spreaders. After letting the agar plates sit for at least five minutes so the liquid can be absorbed, she inverts the plates and stacks them.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Reroofing Your Uncle's House

    Predict the correct amount of roofing material needed to reroof a house while learning about the importance of proper planning. This interactive exercise focuses on measurement, calculating the area of trapezoids, and combining the areas with the roofing information provided to take math out of the classroom and into the real world.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Technology Over Time

    In this interactive activity adapted from A Science Odyssey, learn how technology in the home has changed through the years. Scroll through a timeline from 1900 to 2010 to explore technological innovations in the home (such as phonographs, telephones, refrigerators, radios, televisions, and computers), and read about how they were developed and adapted and how they changed the way people live.

    Grades: 3-8