Museum of Science's National Center for Technological Literacy Wins Innovation Award

May 14, 2010

BOSTON—The Museum of Science's National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®) in Boston won the 2010 Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE) Innovation Award. The Museum was one of two non-profits and six companies recognized May 13 by SBANE for their innovation, growth, stability, and impact.

The Museum of Science established the NCTL in 2004 to introduce engineering and technology to schools, science centers, and informal education organizations in every state by 2015. The NCTL advances technological literacy by helping state governments modify their educational standards and assessments, designing K-12 engineering materials, offering professional development for educators, and creating museum exhibits and programs. The Museum of Science is the country's only science museum with a comprehensive strategy and infrastructure designed to foster technological literacy in both science museums and schools nationwide.

"It's deeply gratifying to me that the Smaller Business Association of New England has decided to honor the Museum's NCTL for its innovation and impact in engineering education," says Ioannis Miaoulis, Museum president and director, NCTL founding director, and former dean of Tufts University's School of Engineering. "I'm struck that so many of the finalists' innovations involve engineering. Our mission is to inspire the next generation of innovators and to enhance knowledge of engineering and technology for people of all ages."

He recalls, "In 1995, people said we were crazy to try introducing a new discipline in schools nationwide." But in 2004, the Museum began to bring elementary engineering to eight teachers and 200 students in Massachusetts. Today the NCTL has reached over 20,000 teachers and 1.3 million students in 50 states. "I believe that engaging students in engineering will spark them to use their math and science knowledge to solve problems and fuel innovation. Equally important, we hope to inspire young adults to pursue careers in these fields," says Miaoulis.

The Museum faced impressive competition from the other finalists -- companies innovating patented compression technologies for serious vascular conditions to nonprofits transforming at-risk youth's lives. The other non-profit winner, Seeding Labs, distributes reclaimed lab equipment to scientists in 14 countries. The NCTL was the only example of innovation and dramatic growth in education.

The 45 judges, representing companies such as Raytheon IDS, Sovereign Bank, and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, narrowed the field from 162 applicants to 20 finalists to the eight winners. Past Awardees include Genzyme, iRobot, E Ink, NeuroLogica, Staples, PictureTel, Nantucket Nectars, Ben & Jerry's, and Partners in Health.

SBANE is a private non-profit association of 800 companies located throughout the six state region. Visit: http://www.sbane.org/home.

About the National Center for Technological Literacy (NCTL)

Recognizing that a 21st century curriculum must include today's human-made world, the NCTL's goal is to introduce engineering as early as elementary school and continue it through high school and beyond. The NCTL works with leaders in education, government, and industry to integrate engineering as a new discipline: in schools K-12 by aligning state standards, developing curricula, and teacher training; and in science and other lifelong learning centers by upgrading public perceptions and understanding of engineering and technology through exhibits, programs, and professional development. The NCTL has reached more than 20,000 teachers and 1.3 million students in 50 states. Spearheaded by Miaoulis, Massachusetts was first in the nation in 2001 to develop a statewide K-12 curriculum framework and assessments for technology/engineering. Visit: www.mos.org/nctl.

About the Museum of Science, Boston

One of the world's largest science centers, the Museum of Science takes a hands-on approach to science, engineering, and technology, attracting over 1.5 million visitors a year through its vibrant programs and 700 interactive exhibits. Founded in 1830, the Museum was first to embrace all the sciences under one roof. The Museum is ranked one of the top two science museums in the United States in the Zagat Survey's "U.S. Family Travel Guide." Highlights include the Thomson Theater of Electricity; Charles Hayden Planetarium; the 180-degree domed Mugar Omni Theater; 3-D Digital Cinema; and Butterfly Garden. In addition to being the headquarters for the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network reaching 25,000 teens a year worldwide, the Museum is lead partner in a multi-museum, $20 million National Science Foundation-funded nanotechnology initiative. The Museum's "Science Is an Activity" exhibit plan has been awarded many NSF grants and influenced science centers worldwide. For more information, visit www.mos.org.

Press Contacts

Gail Jennes: 617-589-0393, gjennes@mos.org