The RET Fellows will participate in a five-week intensive research period in the summer. RET Fellows will participate in the Introduction to Emerging Technology course. This introductory course is designed to develop an understanding of emerging technologies. These introductory lectures will present topics in: a) Information Technology, b) Nanotechnology, and c) Biotechnology. These courses will form the basis of a Certificate Program in Introduction to Emerging Technology to be offered to each Fellow. The RET Fellows will be paired with a mentor and their graduate students who are involved in the area of research of interest to the Fellows. The technological education of the teachers participating in the RET program will involve proposal writing, field trips for understanding the implementation of technology in the workplace, and ethics in engineering and education.
There exist several funding opportunities for teachers and schools to improve their classrooms and laboratories, and sharpen their educational skills. However, urban schools with a dearth in funding can be easily deprived of these opportunities. As a result, one primary focus of our RET program is to educate the RET Fellows in the skills of proposal writing. During the five week period, RET Fellows will be involved in two of the five weeks in proposal writing. They will be taught to write both technical and educational proposals.
It is our belief that technology can be best learned by participating in the implementation of the basic principles in a given technological workplace. We will arrange for three field trips in the core areas identified above to demonstrate to the teachers how new and innovative technology affect our everyday lives. For example, one of the field trips will be to the Main US Postal facility in Philadelphia where letters with both hand-written and typed letters are processed at extremely high speeds using the SRI-developed address block locator and word recognition system modules. These systems incorporate optical character recognition (OCR) software and directory search software and works in conjunction with high-speed computers. This system is capable of processing 12 letters per second, or 720 letters per minute or 1,036,800 letters per day.
The advent of new and revolutionary technology has in some cases been met with skepticism of its impact on many societal levels. While the RET Fellows will be encouraged to participate in pushing the frontiers of understanding, they will also be guided to implement innovations in an ethical manner, cognizant of the impact on societal, environmental, and political issues. This is of special importance in the emerging areas where some ideas may cause concerns in the community and criticism of prominent scientists. Another important issue in the science and engineering ethics is scientific misconduct, which will be addressed through invited seminars and dissemination of codes of ethics issued by professional societies such as the ASME and the IEEE.