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A Powerful New Tool, NUCLEANDO, Aims to Help 250 000 Students in Latin America and the Caribbean to Explore Nuclear Science

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A pilot, national training course on NUCLEANDO took place in Costa Rica, from 29 July to 2 August 2019, during which 14 secondary school teachers were trained in the use and implementation of the NUCLEANDO platform. (Photo: E. Genini/IAEA)

A new multimedia educational programme which aims to encourage around 250 000 young students throughout the Latin America and Caribbean region to engage in nuclear and nuclear-related disciplines by 2021 will be introduced to Uruguayan teachers next week, from 10 to 14 February, as part of a national training course organized through a regional  technical cooperation (TC) project[1].

‘NUCLEANDO’, initially designed by Argentina’s National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) and subsequently developed in the framework of the Latin American Network for Education in Nuclear Technology (LANENT) with IAEA support, aims to encourage professional development in the field of nuclear science and technology and to stimulate contributions to its future application, development and innovation in the region. By training school teachers not only in the introduction of the NUCLEANDO programme into their curriculum, but in the further dissemination of the toolkit, the project capitalizes on the multiplier effect to reach as many students as possible. 

“The NUCLEANDO project platform makes available educational content, generated by professionals and specialists in the nuclear sector, which is offered as a package of activities to both primary and secondary school teachers. It includes augmented and virtual reality, as well as interactive simulations,” said Eduardo Genini, a CNEA developer who contributed to the design of NUCLEANDO. “Teachers who receive the training can then select, from this basket of tools, the modules and content which are most appropriate for their class.”

‘NUCLEANDO’, initially designed by Argentina’s National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) and subsequently developed in the framework of the Latin American Network for Education in Nuclear Technology (LANENT) with IAEA support. (Photo: A. Morales Campos/Desamparados Secondary School)

Offering a variety of IT-enabled educational kits based on state-of-the-art digital technologies, NUCLEANDO equips school teachers with pedagogic tools and resources, allowing them to introduce elements of nuclear and atomic sciences into their school curricula in an engaging and innovative manner, and to clearly demonstrate the benefits of the peaceful applications of nuclear technologies to the younger generation.

The project is being introduced in Uruguay during a national training course in Montevideo, organized by the IAEA in cooperation with the National Administration of Public Education (ANEP) and with the collaboration of the Argentinian Association of Physics Teachers. This new training event follows a pilot course held in San José from 29 July to 2 August last year to demonstrate the applicability of the programme to Costa Rican educators.

Since the pilot course, the trained teachers have already implemented the programme in their respective classrooms, with reports of substantive engagement and interest by their students. “The students showed great interest and very positive reactions, especially in the novelty of incorporating ICT tools as part of the activities, particularly in the case of virtual reality and applications for mobile devices,” said Andrew Morales Campos, a teacher at the Gravilias School in Desamparados, Costa Rica who participated in the pilot programme.

NUCLEANDO offers a variety of IT-enabled educational kits based on state-of-the-art digital technologies, including virtual and augmented reality, smartphone apps and more. (Photo: O. Yusuf/IAEA) 

NUCLEANDO's contents enable students to explore all aspects of not only nuclear power—from uranium mining to the eventual decommissioning and remediation of a nuclear power plant—but also to discover the myriad, often lesser-known applications of nuclear technology in the fields of water management, health care diagnostics and treatment, agricultural production and more.

Through this capacity building initiative, the IAEA seeks to introduce nuclear science to students at a younger age, starting with primary and secondary school pupils, and to highlight the growing, yet underreported role of nuclear technologies in our daily lives. The interactive tools deployed through NUCLEANDO are expected to complement, not replace, conventional teaching modalities in primary and secondary schools.

“The NUCLEANDO project covers the whole region, a very large area, which is why a ‘train-the-trainers’ model was designed. This model allows each teacher who attends our training not only to bring the contents and resources to their classrooms, but also to become an agent capable of replicating the course elsewhere in their country, thus expanding the NUCLEANDO programme to other classrooms,” said Genini.

[1] RLA0057, ‘Enhancing Nuclear Education, Training, Outreach and Knowledge Management’

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