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

The Whiteboard Report
September 2007, Issue #120



NSDL Launches Second Year of Web Seminars with NSTA
During the 2006-2007 school year, 11 free web seminars offered by the National Science Teachers Association and NSDL provided online professional development experiences for 588 teachers and informal educators. This year's series begins on September 20 with an introduction to the FunWorks, a digital resource library designed by middle school students that encourages young people to explore math and science careers. Sarita Nair-Pillai, Project Director at the Education Development Center, will show how to use the FunWorks in classroom exercises that engage and inspire. The seminar is designed for middle school teachers but all are welcome. The fall series of seminars runs through January featuring the following NSDL partners: Education Development Center, CSERD, ChemEdDL, AMNH, Woods Hole, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Free pre-registration is required:

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SHODOR Presents at Teacher Workshops
NSDL partners are gearing up for the new school year. On August 21, staff from the Shodor Education Foundation introduced the NSDL to an audience of grade 6 to 12 science teachers at the Back-To-School Science Professional Development Institute at Riverside High School in Durham, North Carolina. The presentation described NSDL's Pathways projects and identified interactive resources for classroom use using live computer demonstrations. A second presentation described Alice, a software tool that helps middle school students build virtual worlds. A third introduced Interactivate, the popular math and science courseware from Shodor that promotes computational thinking. The session was sponsored by Durham Public Schools.

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Call for Manuscripts - JMBE, Volume 9
The American Society for Mocrobiologyu (ASM) seeks scholarly articles for the ninth volume of the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) that explores various aspects of microbiology or biology teaching and learning. JMBE features manuscripts of hypothesis-driven research in the area of student learning and other facets of microbiology or biology education including, but not limited to: outcome-based learning activities and courses that convey important concepts about the micro/biological world, micro/biological processes, or techniques used to study organisms; outcome-based learning activities, courses, and programs in the micro/biological sciences that are driven by societal issues; assessment of student learning in the micro/biological sciences; assessment of teaching techniques and/or program effectiveness in the micro/biological sciences; and outcome-based learning activities, courses, and programs organized according to the ASM recommended core curriculum for introductory microbiology. Submissions are due by October 1, 2007. For more information about how to submit a manuscript or if you have questions regarding the scope of articles sought, please contact or visit To purchase a subscription to the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education, please visit the ASM eStore ( With a subscription, you may access the full text of articles published in the last eight years
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Connecting News and National Science Education Standards
The NSDL Middle School Portal NSDL Middle School Portal has started a blog to encourage teachers to use current events as examples in science classes. Every Thursday, "Connecting News With Natonal Science Education Standards" will link a current news article to related teaching resources that connect specific content standards to the event. Articles may be appropriate for students to read directly, or they may serve as background knowledge for teachers and inspiration for subsequent instructional activities. Related excerpts from the National Science Education Standards for grades 5 to 8 will be included along with links to additional information such as lessons, reference articles, and definitions. User feedback is welcome and should be directed at NSES Standards:

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Answer Whiteboard's Questions, Win $100
Whiteboard Report is planning a makeover and we seek your candid advice. Click on the link to answer a few questions and we will be ever so grateful. We will collect responses through the end of September. How grateful, you may ask? One randomly selected visitor will receive a $100 gift certificate to
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Students Benefit from Math Science Partnerships
Students' performance on annual math and science assessments improved in almost every age group when their schools were involved in programs that partner K-12 teachers with colleagues in higher education, according to a new study. The study followed more than 300 schools with such partnerships, including 52 funded by the National Science Foundation's Math and Science Partnership Program.
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Cornell Joins Google Books Project
On August 7, Cornell became the 27th university to announce a partnership with Google Inc. to make materials from its collection freely available online. Google will digitize up to 500,000 works from the Cornell Library over the next six years and make them available on Google Book Search. Works with copyright restrictions will be summarized. Google Books is poised to benefit most from Cornell's Mann Library, which has unique holdings in biological sciences, natural resources, applied economics, human development, and nutrition. To see what's new, visit

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New Round of Digital Learning Grants from MacArthur
The MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning initiative is holding a public competition that will award $2 million in funding to emerging leaders in the field of digital media and learning. The awards are administered by HASTAC ("Haystack"), a consortium of humanists, artists, scientists, and engineers who are committed to using technology in creative ways to collaborate across communities and disciplines. Smaller awards ($30,000 to $75,000) will support communicators in connecting, mobilizing, circulating or translating new ideas, such as a successful team of teacher bloggers who seek to provide multimedia coverage and translation of a new white paper on media literacy. Larger awards ($100,000 and $250,000) will support learning pioneers, entrepreneurs, and builders of new digital learning environments for formal and informal learning. The application deadline is October 15. Details are posted at

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America, We Have Your Number
Dataplace aims to be the one-stop source for housing and demographic data about American communities, regions, and nations. The site assembles data sets from various sources, including the U.S. Census and federal housing surveys. It also includes tools and guides to assist in analyzing and displaying the data, including maps, tables, and scatterplots. Dataplace is a free, not-for-profit site developed and maintained by the Fannie Mae Foundation and several partners, including the Urban Institute.
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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