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Seminar urges teachers to think small

"It's not natural for educators to reach out to business," McDermith said. "The conference offered encouragement for schools to reach out."

Doug Loeser, who teaches at Brown School in Niskayuna, said that he looks forward to taking his sixth-grade science students to nanotechnology career day next spring. Last May, more than 300 area middle- and high-school students attended a similar event at the CNSE.

While many expressed enthusiasm, some said they are cautious.

Weingarten expressed her concerns about being able to get through a state-mandated chemistry curriculum and additional material.

"Educators need to be cautious because New York state mandates the curriculum," Weingarten said. "It could be difficult to get through a chemistry curriculum and add to it."

McDermith said that elementary school teachers will need to learn more about science and math and that retraining a work force of educators could be expensive. He also said that a more inquiry-based approach to learning will require students to conduct research on the Internet and school districts to invest more money in computer equipment.

McDermith said that nanotechnology was mysterious to him a year ago. However, with a better understanding, the Shenendehowa Central School District is developing a math and science academy.

Meanwhile, the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District has collaborated with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to develop a nanotechnology awareness curriculum.

The November conference was funded by a grant from Citizens Bank Foundation and was part of an education awareness series initiated by the Tech Valley Education Committee and the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce. ""

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