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

The Whiteboard Report
March 2007, Issue #111



New in the Library: MIT Opencourseware Materials
In November of 2005, at the Fourth Annual NSDL Meeting in Denver,Brandon Muramatsu, Program Director of Instructional Technology, Project Kaleidoscope, observed that "Opencourseware repositories represent a large, untapped source of high-quality digital learning resources for NSDL. Repositories, such as MIT OpenCourseWare or Utah State University OpenCourseWare, contain a number of STEM courses that could provide context for NSDL repositories of learning mateials and vice versa."

The first of these OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiatiives, at MIT, has been incorporated into the NSDL broad collection at

Quoting the MIT OCW about page "Our Story," MIT OpenCourseWare is a remarkable story of an institution rallying around an ideal, and then delivering on the promise of that ideal. It is an ideal that flows from the MIT Faculty's passionate belief in the MIT mission, based on the conviction that the open dissemination of knowledge and information can open new doors to the powerful benefits of education for humanity around the world.

In 1999, MIT Provost Robert A. Brown asked a committee of MIT faculty, students, and administrators to provide strategic guidance on how MIT should position itself in the distance/e-learning environment. The resulting recommendation--the idea of MIT OCW--is in line with MIT's mission (to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century)and is true to MIT's values of excellence, innovation, and leadership.

Today, MIT OCW is a large-scale, Web-based publication of the educational materials from the MIT faculty's courses. This unique initiative enables the open sharing of the MIT faculty's teaching materials with educators, enrolled students, and self-learners around the world. MIT OCW provides users with open access to the syllabi, lecture notes, course calendars, problem sets and solutions, exams, reading lists, even a selection of video lectures, from 1550 MIT courses representing 34 departments and all five of MIT's schools."

The MIT OCW collection within NSDL consists of 910 descriptive records relevant to STEM courses offered at MIT.
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NSDL Events at the National Science Teachers Association National Conference
Exhibit and Site Demos from NSDL and NSDL Partners will be located at Booth 3195 in the Exhibit Hall during the NSTA National Conference March 29-April 1:
--Thursday 3/29, 10:30am-6pm
--Friday 3/30, 9am-5pm
--Saturday 3/31, 9am-5pm


National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA) Professional Development InstituteWednesday, March 28
Renaissance Grand Hotel
--Workshop I: Online Teacher Professional Development and Content Knowledge Session in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)
8:45am-11:45am --Workshop II: Using Digital Resources to Enhance Teacher Content Knowledge and 21st Century Skills (NSDL & AMNH)

For registration and more information:
Conference Session: Using Data in the Classroom
Saturday, March 31st
Renaissance Grand Hotel
Room: Landmark 5
Join us for a discussion on strategies for the use of scientific data in the classroom. Discover sources for free data sets and instructional resources within NSDL with a special highlight on the BirdSleuth curriculum from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

NSTA Informal Educators Ice Cream Social
Thursday, March 29th
8:30pm - 10:00pm
Adams Mark Hotel
Rose Garden Room
An ice cream social for informal educators sponsored by NSDL and the NSTA informal science education committee.

NSDL Partnership Building Breakfast Reception
Friday, March 30th
7:30am - 9:30am
Renaissance Grand Hotel
Westmoreland Room
Members and representatives from the states of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) for a discussion on online learning in the 21st century and how NSDL and SREB can collaborate on teacher professional development efforts.

By invitation only. Please contact Susan Van Gundy for more information.

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TEACHERS: "Teach Engineering," An NSDL/NSTA Web Seminar, April 10, 2007
Create more dynamic and interactive lessons through the real-world application of science and mathematics in your classroom! The NSDL Engineering Pathway
provides a host of free K-12 lesson plans, hands-on activities, and interactive's with detailed instructions and simple-to-follow ideas that demonstrate ways to develop your students' problem solving and critical thinking skills. Engineers have a hand in designing, creating or modifying nearly everything we touch, wear, eat, see and hear. By introducing engineering into the K-12 classroom through hands-on, inquiry-based approaches, you connect science and math concepts to the everyday engineering that surrounds youth. This seminar will showcase resources and show participants the value of utilizing digital collections specifically designed to help teachers incorporate quality engineering content into traditional science and math curriculum. Register today!

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NSTA Elects New President
Page Keeley, Senior Science Specialist with the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, was elected as the NSTA 2008-2009 President. Kelly is PI on the NSDL Project "PRISMS Phenomena and Representations for Instruction of Science in Middle Schools." About the PRISMS project:

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Net Day 2006 Survey Results
The Speak Up 2006 Congressional Briefing scheduled for Wednesday, March 21, 2007 from 9:30 - 11:30 am in the Rayburn House Office Building Room 2257 in Washington DC. to discuss survey results from over 270,000 students, teachers and parents representing 2,800 schools from all 50 states. The Speak Up 2006 data includes new survey information from K12 parents as well as teachers and students.
NSDL partners and projects are invited to attend. Please RSVP to

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Open Repositories--Open Knowledge
The March/April issue of D-Lib Magazine features articles that include an overview of the recent Open Repositories Conference, research about the need for addressing cultural diversity issues as institutional repositories are developed, and a look at a linking service that makes repositories more useful.

Summer Camp for Cyber Kids
Spend part of summer vacation in cyberspace! Become an avatar and make new friends as you explore a 3D virtual world of wonder. After you explore SciCentr, a museum that exists only in cyberspace, you will learn to create your own virtual world. There are 3 spaces remaining for girls and 3 for boys in the Virtual Worlds Summer Institute, a week long summer program sponsored by the Cornell Theory Center July 23-27. The program is for students entering 6th, 7th or 8th grade in the fall of 2007. Reservations are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Contact Margaret Corbit for more information (607) 254-8716.
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WIKINOMICS: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything>
"Open everything" seems to be the key message in this book by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams. As some institutions and enterprises wonder about how economic models will work if intellectual property rights become a thing of the past, others seem to be throwing open the doors to collaboration and cooperation at a rapid pace. Digital Libraries are among those looking for a middle ground. While acknowledging collaborators that the authors consulted in preparing this book, it is, in fact, for sale.

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