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

The Whiteboard Report
April 2007, Issue #113



Shodor Recognized Twice in Top International Honors for the Web
The Webby Awards, the leading international honor for the Web, has recognized Shodor, a Durham based non profit organization that helps improve math and science education for students locally and nationally. Shodor was recognized in two categories as an Official Honoree, a distinction that recognizes work exhibiting remarkable achievement.

In the science category, Official Honoree distinction was given to Shodor's Computational Science Education Reference Desk (CSERD),
a catalog of high quality interactive computer models and tools. CSERD is a Pathway portal of the National Science Digital Library and is funded by the National Science Foundation. All items are peer reviewed using a verification, validation and accreditation process. In the education category, Official Honoree distinction was given to Shodor's Interactivate site -
Interactivate provides free web-based mathematics courseware for grades 3 - 12 and is used by students and educators to explore and practice mathematics on the computer - experimenting with different scenarios. Interactivate is developed in collaboration with classroom teachers, content experts, curriculum designers and educational technologists, with suggested lesson plans, discussions and supplemental materials - and supports NCTM standards for grades 3-12.

The growth of Shodor's website has been phenomenal, generating more than 3.5 million page views per month by more than 1 million visitors.

The Webby Awards, hailed as the "Oscars of the Internet" by the New York Times, is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, including Websites, Interactive Advertising, Online Film & Video, and Mobile Websites. The awards are judged by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, a global organization that includes David Bowie, Harvey Weinstein, Arianna Huffington, Matt Groening, Jamie Oliver, internet inventor Vinton Cerf, and RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser.

"If you look at the lists of honorees, we are among very good company," said Shodor's Executive Director, Dr. Robert Panoff. "You can see how a small organization in Durham competes well against the best nationally," he added.

The 11th Annual Webby Awards received a record 8,000 entries from over 60 countries and all 50 states. Out more than 8,000 entries submitted, fewer than 15% received this honor and were deemed an Official Honoree.

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Other NSDL Project and Partner Webby Honorees are . . .
The Rossetta Project,
a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers building a publicly accessible online archive of all documented human languages.

The Exploratorium,
, the Museum of science, art and human perception.

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DELOS/NSDL Summer School in Florence
DELOS, a Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries partially funded by the European Commission, and NSDL have joined forces in organizing a Summer School, Digital Libraries for the Digital Librarian Making the Journey from Traditional to Digital Libraries, to be held May 28 - June 2, 2007 in Florence, Italy.

The school intends to address some common concerns of cultural heritage institutions (such as libraries, archival institutions and museums) as they work together with information providers, publishers, publications suppliers to tackle the challenges and opportunities of the digital environment for the knowledge society. The digital medium is radically new for libraries, archives, museums and other information providers. The main aim of the School is to provide information professionals who intend to take leadership and responsibilities in the complex world of digital libraries with the knowledge of the technologies and the organizational issues involved in the transition from a traditional organization to a Digital Library, illustrating criteria and methods that exploit the strengths of digital libraries in a socio-economic and interdisciplinary manner.

This one-week intensive school will consist of ten half-day sessions that will include lectures, seminars, practical demonstrations, group work and field trips to cultural institutions. Distinguished lecturers from Europe and the United States will be addressing the following topics.

--Introduction to Digital Libraries
--Digitizing Information
--Digital Collections
--Describing Information
--Organizing the Digital Library
--Distributed Services and Identity Management
--Accessing the Repository
--Re-thinking the Role of Repositories
--Making the Library work for the User
--Scholarly Communication in the 21st Century
--Final Session: the (near) Future
--Field Trips

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Atlas of Science Literacy Completes Mapping of Science-Learning Pathways
AAAS Project 2061 and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have joined forces to release the long-awaited Atlas of Science Literacy, Volume 2. Contributing to the work begun in the first volume of Atlas published in 2001, the new Atlas 2 completes the set of nearly 100 maps that now incorporate all of the K-12 learning goals recommended in Project 2061's groundbreaking Science for All Americans and Benchmarks for Science Literacy. It is anticipated that the new maps will also contribute to the refinement of the NSDL Concept Map Tool,
which was based on Atlas of Science Literacy, Volume 1.

The new Atlas 2 includes 44 maps for key topics in science, mathematics, and technology*topics such as Scientific World View, Nature of Mathematics, Technology and Science, Weather and Climate, Interdependence of Life, Human Development, Global Interdependence, Energy Resources, Reasoning, Models, and Detecting Flaws in Arguments. To view a complete list of all Atlas maps and to find out more about the new volume, visit Project 2061's Web site at

To order a copy of the new Atlas 2, Atlas 1, or the two-volume set, go to

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2008 NSDL/NSTA Plan: More Great Web Seminars for More Great Teachers
The 2006-2007 NSDL/NSTA Web Seminars have been highly successful in providing NSDL partners with an opportunity to show off their sites and expertise while at the same time offering a highly interactive professional development series for K-12 teachers. During the school year NSDL completed nine seminars with two additional ones on the way, including one from the Maine Math and Science Alliance
in June. These 90-minute seminars give teachers an opportunity to meet with field experts, learn about specific science content through NSDL resources, and how to effectively use these resources in the classroom.

Here are some comments from recent NSDL seminar evaluations: "It helped me to better understand digital resources available for chemistry and how to access them. It also helped me to see the value of web seminars in professional development."

"I enjoyed the interaction that was available: polls, quizzes, as well as the experiments. This was very fun and interesting."

NSDL will continue its successful partnership with NSTA for the 2007-2008 school year with another round of seminars. If you are interested in participating in next year's web seminar series, please contact Robert Payo,

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Shodor en Espanol
EDUTEKA ( has completed the translation into Spanish of the second of four units for Shodor's Interactivate math explorations, a resource of the Computational Science Education Reference Desk.

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Kudos to NSDL Presenters and Volunteers at NSTA
Thanks to all those who helped out at workshops, events, and at the exhibit booth at the NSTA Conference on Science Education. NSDL made new connections with the NSTA organization and with conference attendees thanks to the efforts and support of the following people in the NSDL community: Carol Minton Morris, Ann Miller, Robert Payo, and Susan Van Gundy (CI); Lois McLean and Rick Tessman (Content Clips); Jennifer Schaus, Colleen McLinn, and Flisa Stevenson (Cornell Lab of Ornithology); Diny Golder (Jess & CO); Mike Karabinos (Chem Collective); Carla McAuliffe (TERC); Deb Burns (The Exploratorium); Eric Friedman (Teachers Domain); Caroline Hall and Lyle Barbato (ComPADRE); Pam Wiffen (DLESE Ambassador); Rob Steiner and Dave Randle (AMNH).

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NSDL and Pathways Featured in Haworth Press
John M. Saylor and Carol Minton Morris describe the mission, history, and current status of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL), and then focus on the current and near future work of NSDL Core Integration, including the NSDL Collection Development activity, phase two of the architecture and data model, and two new services that leverage acquisition and management of user-contributed contextual information about educational resources, and the ability to express complex relationships between them-made possible by the new architecture.

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VECTORS Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular
An international journal that brings togehter visionary scholars with cutting-edge designers and technologists to propose a thorough rethinking of the dynamic relationship of form to content in academic research, focusing on ways technology shapes, transforms and reconfigures social and cultural relations.

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Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century
Henry Jenkins, Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at the Massachusettes Institute of Technology, has co-authored a white paper that outlines a set of skills and strategies that allow students to participate in cultures rather than interact with technologies. Jenkins outlines participation as a crosscutting term that includes affiliations, expressions, collaborative problem-solving, and circulations.

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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