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Last week, ITMO University held a training session aimed to help mentors of regional Quantoriums, children technoparks nurturing creative and engineering skills, develop their hard skills. In the course of several days, participants of the program, the ranks of whom included both young specialists and seasoned educators, practiced working with complex equipment and attended laboratory tours at ITMO and St. Petersburg Academic University. ITMO.NEWS spoke with the mentors to talk about the development of the centers today and find out why such training sessions are important for Quantorium educators and students.
Early in 2017, ITMO staff have developed a unique methodology for the project-based learning of nanotechnologies. Since that time, it has been tried and tested by the Sirius educational center, federal networks of kids’ technoparks Quantorium, and, starting from this academic year, have been rolled out in ITMO University itself. The technique has also recently been recognized by the Government of St. Petersburg’s Committee on Science and Higher Education, who awarded it an honorary prize for being the ‘Best Innovative Product’. Iana Muzychenko, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Physics and Engineering, and Mikhail Mukhin, Head of the Faculty’s Nanocenter, met with ITMO.NEWS to discuss why project-based learning is so effective and how it motivates students to approach unconventional scientific tasks.
In early 2018, ITMO’s resident NT-SPb finished equipping five regional quantoriums with their products. These new “High School Laboratories for Nanotechnology” will become a space for high school students to study a new field of science, as well as conduct interdisciplinary projects that stem from real nanoindustry tasks. Aleksander Golubok, Professor at the Department of Nano-Photonics and Metamaterials, and Ivan Mukhin, Research Fellow at the Metamaterials Laboratory, talk about high-tech equipment that is safe for children, the new School Laboratories for Nanotechnologies and the prospects of this new undertaking.
Some of ITMO University’s staff has become a federal tutor in a childrens’ extracurricular education program organized by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives. The university and the agency have paired up to create the ITMO Nanoquantum program. The university will train tutors who will teach at “Quantoriums” – children’s technoparks that will soon open all over the country. They are intended to serve as a modern version of the “Palaces of the Pioneers” from the olden days where children were brought up as future engineers and inventors. The students at “Quantoriums” will be able to choose among 13 fields of study that correspond to Russia’s scientific and technological priorities of the next 20 to 30 years.