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A4.04 - Lab to Market to Classroom: Smart Functional Materials and Beyond 
December 18, 2015   9:00am - 10:00am

Interventions on graduate curricula to integrate novel scientific concepts are common practice. The fast-evolving character of graduate curricula, however, does not translate down the education structure. Indeed, scientific curricula in undergraduate and specially, in K-12 education have through decades been the subject of discussion, often debating between placing emphasis on science content knowledge or on the applications derived from it. The notion of adding content and the absence of provisions to reduce, or even suppress, previous content has been pervasive, leading to impasse. In this paper, we explore a novel educative scenario, where technology still in developmental phases is brought to a classroom environment, providing students with early exposure to still-to-be-elucidated scientific phenomena. This new ecosystem has been identified recently as the Lab-to-Market-to-Classroom. It was first introduced as a work plan for the dissemination of refreshable, photoactuatable tactile displays to the visually impaired (enabled by smart nanocomposites), serving both Lab-to-Market and Lab-to- Classroom initiatives. This topic is timely as it resonates with the development of curricula and activities involving novel and newly discovered materials. In this discussion, structure and implications of the Lab-to-Market-to-Classroom will be developed further. This work plan was designed in accordance with the logic model, which identifies an overlap amongst classroom, market, and laboratory. This overlap seemed to nucleate when a technology in developmental phase is deployed in a classroom with high affinity to such technology. In this scheme, students are stakeholders whom help decide both content and applications to be included in the developing curriculum, and provide technology feedback, effectively leading to increased consumer acceptance. The identified Lab-to-Market-to-Classroom continuum could be the missing link in our efforts to nurture sustainable scientific, technological, and curricular development.

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