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

The Whiteboard Report
June 2007, Issue #117



Finding Quality Online Resources for Middle School Math and Science Just Became Easier, Faster, and
The Middle School Portal, an NSDL Pathway portal for math and science teachers, has added a free, easy-to-use registration feature to its web site. Teachers can sign up for instant notification as new publications "go live." Teachers are invited to register for announcements of all new publications or just for those in their field - mathematics or science.

Throughout the year, the Middle School Portal produces two types of online publications, called Explore in Depth and Quick Takes. Explore in Depth publications are collections of quality instructional and professional development resources on topics that address broad concepts important to middle school teachers. Quick Takes are one-pagers that highlight three to four exceptional digital resources. They are designed to be "just-in-time" aids for the teacher who needs just a few resources for a classroom activity or for a quick review of a topic.

The newest publications cover the topics of simple machines, gardening, probability, rainbows, and fractions. Project staff are working on a series of publications on cycles - carbon, water, and nitrogen - as well as on chemistry, quantitative literacy, and astronomy. Check back often or register to be notified when new content is posted to the site.

Teachers can also browse the Middle School Portal collection by subject lists that align with the national science and math standards or search by keywords. The Middle School Portal draws on the massive catalog of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) to identify web sites that support a standards-based middle school curriculum.

The Middle School Portal staff encourages teachers to contact them at
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This Week in NSDL's Blogosphere
From the Expert Voices Pathways News blog
"BEN Scholar: terry McGuire"

NSDL and its Biological Sciences Pathway BiosciEdNet (BEN).NSDL Annotation share a problem. "I am always meeting people who say, 'It's too bad there isn't a website that offers peer reviewed biological material for teaching,'" says Terry McGuire, associate professor of genetics at Rutgers University. In fact, BEN and NSDL offer thousands of these sources. "But no one has heard of BEN or NSDL," he says.

From the Expert Voices Road Reports blog
"Something larger and older at stake with 'open access'"

John Willensky gave the keynote address on June 21 at JCDL 2007 while waving a sheaf of paper notes to emphasize his departure from Power Point presentation technology in the interest of communicating directly with the audience assembled in Vancouver. He referred to this style as, "An homage to openness." . . . . read this and other reports from the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries 2007 at

From the Expert Voices New in NSDL blog
PBS NewsHour Online In-Depth

The PBS "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer" is known for high quality broadcast journalism, and the program's website has created a series of science-related "In-Depth" reports that reflect those high standards. Most of these packages include news reports, slide shows, interactive features, and often, lesson plans.

From the Expert Voices Selecting and Using Digital Phenomena and Representations blog
"An Introductory post about PRISMS"

The PRISMS project began as an outgrowth of a curriculum review process undertaken by the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Project 2061. Phenomena and representations in textbooks were only a part of these analyses.



Teach-Learn-Connect at the 23rd Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning
Join your colleagues at this international conference on distance education and training to be held at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wisconsin August 8-10, 2007. Select from more than 140 workshops, roundtable discussions, course showcases, forums, and concurrent sessions that examine a wide range of practical applications, teaching strategies, best practices, and design solutions. This program draws more than 1,000 participants every year from experienced professionals to newcomers in the field who come to learn from their peers and network with industry leaders about distance learning resources, products, and services available. Keynote speakers featured this year: Dr. Mark Milliron, Dr. Darcy Walsh Hardy, and Dr. Chris Dede.

Register by July 16 to receive the regular conference fee. Group rates available. For program and registration information visit our Web site: or contact Kimary Peterson at

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REMINDER: NSDL Annual Meeting Presenters
Download the schedule and review the date and time of your session. The program is final, but let us know if you see scheduling conflicts. Also please confirm that you accept the changes recommended by the Planning Committee and the Review Committee by June 29. Reply to Sarah Giersch or Donna Cummings with your acknowledgement, or if you have questions.

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Help Test the NSDL Concept Map Tool
We would like your your comments and feedback. Did you like it? Did you encounter any problems? Do you have any suggestions for future features or improvements? Please follow the feedback instructions on the page and let us know.

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Whiteboard Report 2007 Summer Schedule
NSDL Whiteboard Report will be published Aug. 7 (deadline for submissions: Friday, Aug. 3). Regular bi-weekly publication will resume with the Sept. 4, 2007 issue.

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NSTA Principles of Professionalism for Science Educators
In a newly revised position statement, Principles of Professionalism for Science Educators, NSTA establishes expectations and principles to guide the professional conduct of all preK-16 teachers of science. The statement emphasizes the need for science educators to "uphold the highest ethical standards of the profession to earn the respect, trust, and confidence of students, parents, school leadership, colleagues, and other members of the community."

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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