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.

  • Marine Technology Student: Marine Farming

    In this video adapted from Pathways to Technology, learn how a degree in marine technology helped one student go from working at a marine farming company to becoming a partner in that company. Trevor Fay uses the GPS/GIS technology he studied in school to farm the red abalone, tracking their locations and monitoring their population. This technology helps marine farmers maintain healthy populations of sea creatures and understand more about the important ecosystem of the ocean.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • DNA Extraction

    In this interactive activity adapted from the University of Nebraska's Plant and Soil Science eLibrary, learn how DNA is extracted from leaf tissue for molecular techniques, such as PCR. As the animated sequence shows, DNA extraction involves collecting cells, physically breaking them open to release DNA from the nuclei, separating the DNA from other cellular components, and precipitating DNA out of solution for final extraction. The process utilizes basic laboratory tools, such as microfuge tubes, pipettes, and a centrifuge. Other items used in purifying DNA include buffer solution, a solvent such as chloroform, and ethanol.
    Grades: 9-12
  • PBCL in the Field: Student Insights

    In this video from Making Learning Real, students describe their experiences with Problem-Based Case Learning (PBCL). They explain how these projects model a real-world, work-like environment that actively engages them in the learning process. Students comment on the hands-on, practical nature of the projects, as well as the challenges of working in a group. They note how doing their coursework is similar to working in the real work world, and they value this realistic experience.

    Grades: 11-13+
  • Visualizing Concepts Through Technology

    In this professional development video from Getting Results, a chemical operations instructor and one of his students discuss how classroom technology can ready students for work in industry. A student tells how a particular technology model in his classroom helps him understand the technology in the field. The class visits a local processing plant where they talk with industry professionals and explore state-of-the-art equipment in action. Finally, the student says that the classroom technology helps him understand this equipment by “boiling it down to the basics.”

    Grades: 11-13+
  • Off-Road Engineering

    See students designing and building a rugged off-road vehicle for an automotive engineering competition in this video segment adapted from Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA.
    Grades: 9-12
  • Engaging Students in Lecture and Lab

    In this professional development video from Getting Results, students and their instructors discuss how lab time reinforces what is taught in lecture. One instructor says his goal is to prepare students through lecture, and then apply the learning in a lab. In this video, the students have to understand a mathematical function in order to make a robot work. When students get frustrated in the lab, the instructor guides them with questions. One student says the lab gets results for students by “hammering home” the content. The instructor concurs, saying that he avoids telling his students how to do the problem. Instead, he encourages them to grapple with it themselves.

    Grades: 11-13+
  • Moving Beyond the Classroom

    In this professional development video from Getting Results, Dr. John Bransford, professor of education at the University of Washington School of Education, as well as instructors and students from an aquarium science class, talk about how to make course content relevant through first-hand experiences with labs and connections to the community. As an example, the instructors bring in an aquarium director as a guest lecturer. The students then conduct an experiment. Afterwards, they go to the aquarium to see the same technology used in a professional context.

    Grades: 11-13+
  • Closed-Loop Systems

    In this interactive activity adapted from the Wisconsin Online Resource Center, learn about the elements of a closed-loop system. An animation illustrates typical components (such as an error detector, a controller, an actuator, and a measurement device), as well as the input and output signals for each component. The activity also allows you to compare the animation to a standard block diagram to see how the various elements in a closed-loop system can be represented in a simplified form.

    Grades: 9-12
  • GPS/GIS Technology: Training & Careers

    In this video adapted from Pathways to Technology, you’ll learn how geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) are changing the ways professionals, in many fields, make decisions about their businesses. GPS/GIS technology is used in farming, emergency management, environmental resource work, and city planning. With GPS/GIS, any kind of flow that needs to be studied, from traffic to crop yields to pollutants, can be tracked, mapped, and analyzed.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Interference and Diffraction

    In this video from the ICT Center, learn about interference and diffraction. See how the wave properties of light are used to explain interference patterns on a screen, and learn about related technologies such as the Fabry-Perot cavity, Bragg gratings, interference filters, and antireflection coatings. In addition, learn how diffraction patterns are produced, and study the grating equation.
    Grades: 11-12
  • Pouring an Agarose Gel

    A lab technician shows how to properly pour an agarose gel into a casting tray in this video produced by WGBH. She also demonstrates solutions that are appropriate when the equipment has been compromised from heavy use.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • ICT Center | A Simple Fiber-Optic Communications System

    In this video from the ICT Center, learn how rise-time analysis is performed to determine the maximum data rate of a fiber optic communications system. Animations and diagrams show how a transmitter, fiber, and receiver work together to transfer information and how component rise times and fiber dispersion contribute to total rise time.

    Grades: 11-12
  • Integrating Disciplines in Project-Based Learning

    In this professional development video from Getting Results, instructors from different disciplines fit content from their disciplines into one integrated project that simulates a real-world problem. The instructors—from physics, technology, math, and communications disciplines—discuss the project and work with their students. One instructor explains that each course revolves around a real-world home insulation problem. The communications instructor, for instance, teaches students to write a formal report on their product. Communication between the instructors is key to integrating the different courses.

    Grades: 11-13+
  • Unclogging a Column

    If after opening the stopcock during column preparation, the stopcock fails to flow or is flowing slowly, there may be particulate matter blocking the sieve. In this video produced by WGBH, watch how the resin can be redistributed by picking up the column or by using a pipette to mix the solution.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Careers in Advanced Manufacturing Technologies

    This interactive activity produced by WGBH looks at five possible career paths in advanced manufacturing technologies: design and development; production and quality assurance; inventory and distribution; health, safety, and environment; and installation, maintenance, and repair. Learn about the education and experience required for jobs such as model maker, industrial designer, machinist, quality control inspector, storage and distribution manager, purchasing agent, environmental science and protection technician, industrial safety and health engineer, industrial machinery technician, and industrial electronics technician.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Planning for Outcomes

    In this professional development video from Getting Results, natural resource technology instructors at a community college discuss fitting their courses together. The instructors say that clarifying and communicating outcomes helps them plan courses. They can reinforce skills taught across the program and add additional ones, too. Students talk about how much they appreciate the hands-on, workplace-centered nature of the learning in their program. The video concludes with instructors talking about the goal of teaching skills that are highly relevant to the work world. Building curriculum, they say, is about envisioning and getting these results.

    Grades: 11-13+
  • Information Technology Student: Technical & Network Support

    Learn about the wide range of jobs that are available to someone with a degree in information technology, or IT, in this video adapted from Pathways to Technology. Kennedy Symekher is studying technical and networking support in community college. He attends interviews at Microsoft and Boeing, and discovers how his IT skills can be applied in the working world. An IT specialist relies on technical and analytical skills to fix problems and also to create new software for the countless computers that run our world today.

    Grades: 6-12
  • PBCL: Thinking About Evaluation

    With 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, instructors and a learning scientist discuss ways to evaluate student work in PBCL. One challenge for education is to find a way to evaluate that does not stifle innovation. Another is the need to evaluate how students solve new problems they have never seen before. The solutions that students develop can indicate how well they have learned the material.

    Grades: 11-13+
  • Green Technology: Sustaining the Earth

    In this interactive activity produced for Teachers' Domain, explore five different areas of research and innovation in green technology: renewable energy and conservation; green building; transportation; manufacturing; and pollution and waste management. Within the categories, investigate examples of innovations in solar power, biofuels, energy efficiency, materials efficiency, planes and trains, automobiles, electronic paper, consumer electronics, carbon capture and storage, and bioremediation.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Information Technology: Training & Careers

    In this video excerpted from Pathways to Technology, you'll learn about the wide range of jobs that an information technology (IT) degree can make possible. From PCs to smartphones to cars, almost every tool we use today has computer technology embedded in it. The IT specialist is the person who keeps those computers operating and finds ways to make them run faster and more smoothly, so we can all get our work done.

    Grades: 9-13+

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