Research news and notes from the National Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Education
Digital Library (NSDL) Program [Back Issues]

The Whiteboard Report
December 2006, Issue #106



TEACHERS: NSDL/NSTA Web Seminar: Learning by Doing: Computational Science, Dec. 19, 2006
Visual models and simulations are powerful methods of using technology in the classroom. Computational Science helps students learn how to use technology to solve problems and to visualize concepts. Learn about Computational Science and explore a variety of fun and interactive math and science models and activities. Resources and experts Patricia Jacobs and Bethany Hudnutt from the Computational Science Education Reference Desk (CSERD)

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High Attendance at NSDL/NSTA Web Seminar on Plate Tectonics
On Nov. 30, 2006, 88 teachers participated in a web seminar with presenters Dr. Anthony Koppers and Dr. Chris Symons from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, making it one of the most highly attended seminars of the NSTA Web Seminar series this year. These interactive, small-group seminars allow teachers to ask questions and to absorb content presented by experts. Dr. Anthony Koppers, who participated from the San Diego Supercompter Center (SDSC), University of California at San Diego, met 20 teachers who had attended the seminar afterwards through the SDSC professional development program to answer additional questions. One of the teachers remarked, " It was valuable to see resources I had not found on my own and to hear expert(s).... I will be able to bring this back to my students and make their learning experiences more meaningful." Add your comments here:

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NSDL Featured in Nov. issue of AAAS Science magazine
For the past 11 years, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and a corps of visionaries funded by NSF have been building a library that uses the Internet as a foundation of an effective, efficient tool of 21st century science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. It's called the National Science Digital Library (go to your search and type in n-s-d-l). From 18-20 October, nearly 200 of the top thinkers and developers of the library-including representatives from industry, major universities and government-gathered at AAAS in Washington, D.C., to consider the library's future challenges and evolution during its annual meeting.

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Combined NSDL Traffic Approaches 1/4 Million Visitors per Month
Visits to rose from 19,000 in October to 24,000 in November. A large part of this increase was due to the listing of as 'Site of the Day' at, which generated 3,327 visitors in one day.

Combined traffic across, the Pathways, and DLESE, is approaching 1/4 million visitors and 1 million page views a month with seasonal variations. These figures are approximate as some NSDL Pathways sites have yet to be included in the overall metrics. Add your comments here:

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NSDL Vocabulary Registry News
Jon Phipps, who is currently leading the technical development of the NSF-funded NSDL Vocabulary Registry project, has been invited to join the W3C Semantic Web Deployment Working Group
as an Invited Expert. The mission of this Working Group is to provide guidance in the form of W3C Technical Reports on issues of practical RDF development and deployment practices in the areas of publishing vocabularies, OWL usage, and integrating RDF with HTML documents.

The NSDL Vocabulary Registry provides support for human and machine use and re-use of vocabularies at several levels. Registration of controlled value vocabularies is open. The Registry supports the creation and maintenance of unambiguous URIs for those vocabularies and associated concepts, and provides machine and human readable output for support of vocabulary maintenance in metadata, using the W3C Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) standard for encoding.

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New for 2006: Parent Responses to be Included in Speak Up Day Survey
Now in its 4th year, NetDay Speak Up's national online survey invites students, teachers, and parents from around the country to share their input in an online survey. The deadline has been extended with the survey remaining open until December 15, 2006 to allow for maximum participation.

For the first time, the national research project will include a survey especially designed to collect feedback from parents about their views and ideas on science education, math education, technology use in school and how schools must improve to adequately prepare their children to compete in today's global economy. Speak Up is the first national research project to collect and compare student, teacher and parent views on education.

This is an opportunity for students, teachers and parents to participate in the national dialog about science, math, technology, and 21st century workforce skills. Speak Up Surveys completed as of 12/4 include answers from:
148,812 Students
14,783 Teachers
10,529 Parents

to find out how to participate.
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Information Literacy Gap
ESchool News reports that many students know how to use technology, but fewer know how to apply it to find what they're looking for. Princeton, N.J.-based ETS based a recent report
on an evaluation of the responses of 6,300 students from 63 institutions around the country to ETS's new ICT (Information and Communications Technology) Literacy Assessment. The majority of high school and college students lack the proper critical thinking skills when it comes to researching online and using sources.

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Register for the Open Repositories Conference 2007, January 23-26, 2007/San Antonio, Texas
James Hilton, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at the University of Virginia, will give the opening keynote address at the Open Repositories Conference on January 24, 2007. In his talk entitled "Open Source for Open Repositories--New Models for Software Development and Sustainability," Hilton will discuss Open Source Software, such as that used for the DSpace, EPrints, and Fedora repository platforms. The development and widespread use of this software represents a sea change in how research and higher education institutions produce, consume and sustain the enterprise software upon which they depend. For years institutions have relied upon commercial vendors to create and maintain the software that they use--from small digital library projects to large enterprise financial systems. Increasingly, Open Source Software provides a viable, and often, preferable alternative to vendor-provided software. But, while Open Source Software provides institutions with enormous opportunities, it also brings enormous challenges--collaborative governance, financial sustainability, technical control, "creative differences", and much more. Join Hilton and others as they explore these questions at Open Repositories Conference 2007,January 23-26, 2007 in San Antonio, Texas.

Advance registration for the conference is open until December 22, 2006. More information including an at-a-glance conference schedule and plenary, keynote and user group session descriptions is available at
Dspace, Fedora, and eprints User Group Sessions have been finalized and are avialable on the web site.

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One Laptop Per Child
Can a small green laptop with friendly-looking "ears" that looks more like a hand-held game than a computer improve the way children learn in countries where heat, dust, moisture, poverty and poor infrastructure have made access to digital resources for learning almost impossible? Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of the One Laptop per Child non-profit association, and co-founder and director of the MIT Media Laboratory and OLPC global collaborators believe that it will. Stay tuned to find out how the pilot manufacture and distribution of three million $150 laptops in multiple countries progresses during the next year.

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Published from 2000 to September 2009, NSDL Whiteboard Report Archives provide access to prior issues of the bi-weekly newsletter published by NSDL. To subscribe to current news and information about NSDL, go to the NSDL Community Network site, register as a user, subscribe to and participate in selected features found there. For more information contact Eileen McIlvain