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Curriculum Resources for Incorporating Cutting-edge Neurotechnologies into Secondary STEM Classrooms

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Resource Exchange

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Pre-College Engineering Education

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Kristen Clapper Bergsman University of Washington

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Kristen Clapper Bergsman is a learning scientist, STEM program manager, and curriculum designer. She is the Engineering Education Research Manager at the Center for Neurotechnology at the University of Washington and the Curriculum Design Project Lead at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Bergsman owns Laughing Crow Curriculum, a consulting firm offering support in STEM curriculum design and publication. Previously, she was a graduate researcher at the Institute for Science and Math Education. Dr. Bergsman received her Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Washington.

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Eric H. Chudler University of Washington

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Eric H. Chudler is a research neuroscientist interested in the neuroactive properties of medicinal plants and herbs and how the brain processes information about pain and nociception. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1985. He has worked at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. (1986-1989) and in the Department of Neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass. (1989-1991). Chudler is currently a research associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering and the executive director of the Center for Neurotechnology. He is also a faculty member in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at the University of Washington. In addition to performing basic neuroscience research, he works with other neuroscientists and classroom teachers to develop educational materials to help K-12 students learn about the brain.

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Exciting advances in neurotechnologies, once the ideas of science fiction, are now regularly featured in the media, making neural engineering a high-interest and contemporary topic for STEM classrooms. Neurotechnologies such as brain-computer interfaces, deep brain stimulation, retinal implants, smart prosthetic limbs, and artificial neural networks--and the complicated neuroethical considerations associated with their design and use--provide exciting opportunities for transdisciplinary STEM explorations.

Free curriculum resources are available to secondary STEM educators from the Center for Neurotechnology at the University of Washington. Currently, nine teacher-authored, NGSS-aligned curriculum units for Grades 6-12 STEM courses are featured. Through these units, students design and build models of artificial neural networks, neuroprosthetics, and sensory substitution devices. The materials utilize educational technologies such as robotic gripper hands, circuit boards, SnapCircuits, Arduino Uno rigs, and SpikerBoxes. The study of bioethics is also integrated into these units by using case studies, articles, films, and discussions.

In addition, a new, free e-book titled "Exploring Neuroscience and Neurotechnologies at Home" is now available. This interactive e-book for secondary students explores the topics of neuroscience, neural engineering, and neuroethics. Through five chapters, the book presents case studies, videos, career profiles, research spotlights, examples of engineered devices, and explanations of basic scientific principles.

Together, these curriculum resources support secondary STEM educators in incorporating the topics of neurotechnologies, neural engineering, neuroscience, and neuroethics into their courses.

Bergsman, K. C., & Chudler, E. H. (2021, July), Curriculum Resources for Incorporating Cutting-edge Neurotechnologies into Secondary STEM Classrooms Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36893

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