The Future is N.E.A.R. program is a customized education research experience designed to offer students a glimpse into the exciting world of nanotechnology and research.  The program offers its students an opportunity to gain 21st century skills that will prepare them to become successful leaders in a technological global society.  The program introduces the fundamentals of nanotechnology, engineering research, and higher level thinking and application of knowledge to high school students while cultivating their interest in engineering, problem solving and life-long learning.

The Future Is N.E.A.R. is a custom program offered as a part of the senior capstone course of Engineering Academy at North Penn High School.
Click here to visit the North Penn High School Engineering Academy


Senior Presentation: Introduction Video
The main goals of The Future is N.E.A.R. project are to:
  1.) Inform and educate students about nanotechnology, submicron measurement and the past, present and future applications of nanotechnology.
  2.) Introduce engineering research as a method of increasing intrinsic motivation, self directed learning and the acceptance of failure as a positive "side effect" of learning.
  3.) Identify nanotechnology and its related mathematical and scientific components as a necessary field of study for cultivating student learning and preparing students to become competitive, productive members of a 21st century global society.
  4.) Improve science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) knowledge and skills utilizing a collaborative, real-world research environment.
  5.) Incorporate "Quadrant D" learning and assessment as identified by the International Center for Leadership in Education and High Yield Strategies as identified by Robert Marzano.

How did it the NEAR program begin?
The program began from participation in a National Science Foundation program offered through Drexel University.  The program, named Research Experience for Teachers (RET) is designed to introduce teachers to engineering research and then have those teachers return to the classroom to incorporate those experiences into their lessons. Please click here for more information about the Drexel University RET programs.


Justifying a Need: Why Engineering Research in High School?
Global competition, the rapid advance of new and emerging technologies, and a shrinking national workforce make it imperative that our students are prepared now more than ever to succeed in today's world. 

One of the latest emerging technologies is Nanotechnology.  Most of the research in this field is currently being performed at the university and corporate levels. 

Organized approaches to true research can be such an educational tool.  It is often a real eye-opener for one who has never endeavored into the unknown.  It is an arena where failure is an option...and often encouraged.  Failure can be such an awesome tool.  In the right context and environment, with the right support and guidance, failure creates character and desire.  It is not the failure that matters, it is what was learned, applied and adapted from that failure that does. 

How often can an inventor or engineer state that their product was designed, prototyped and manufactured correctly on the first try without revision? Or state that their outcome was directly in line with their predictions from the beginning?

Much of the educational world today takes students through an activity where the outcome is known, expected, and prepared.  While there is merit to the approach, it is not enough to spark a true understanding of genuine problem solving.  There becomes opportunities to skip steps to get to the end or to cheat to get an answer.  Students find these methods rather easily and thus the activity has lost much of its student creativity and exploration.

In the research world, there is no room for cheating, for skipping steps, or saying, "I've seen this before and I know the answer."  The students are left to create, solve, and try again.  Their original goals are often abandoned for new ones as their research leads them from their original path and leads them to something deeper and closer to the results they are seeking!


home   |   about us   |   links   |   contact   |   NPHS engineering academy