Research news and notes from the National Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Education
Digital Library (NSDL) Program [Back Issues]
May 2008 Issue #135
NCSMT recognizes Shodor as statewide leader in innovative partnership. Collaboration brings computing excitement to community kids' programs
When it comes to partnering with other organizations to improve math and science education, there's one North Carolina non profit organization that stands out: Shodor.
Shodor's Pathways to Cyberinfrastructure program, which brings computational science (scientific computing) activities into existing afterschool programs at community centers such as the Emily K Center in Durham, was recognized on April 19, 2008 at the North Carolina Science, Math and Technology Education Center's annual Celebration of Science, Math and Technology as a leader for its partnership efforts. The "Partnership Award in Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education" recognizes and honors North Carolina organizations that have an innovative partnership supporting science, mathematics, and technology (SMT) education.Shodor's Pathways program seeks out existing programs for kids from grades 3 through high school in order to add a scientific computing component. At the Emily K Center, for example, students are challenged with activities such as:
--exploring math and
science skills using tools from the National Science Digital Library such as Shodor's own Interactivate
--working hands-on in Web design using HTML
--designing web page logos using Gimpshop and Inkscape; and
--learning skills in agent modeling using AgentSheets and Netlogo.
Amy Cummings, Education Program Leader at the Emily K Center, commented that youth involved in
Shodor's program at the center last summer "had a genuine understanding of how germs and disease spread because they had worked with a computer generated model." "They had learned a good deal about
probability in the process," she added.
"Shodor is able to engage our students in science and technology in a way that they do not experience in their school day," explained Cummings.
Shodor also partners with Durham's Antioch Builds Community Center through the Pathways program. NCCU undergraduates were trained to lead computational science workshops in a four-week summer program at the center for 3rd through 8th grade participants. Topics ranged from mathematical modeling to environmental science.
"Shodor has done an outstanding job of sharing math and computational skills for the youth of this community," said Michael D. Page, Chairman of the Antioch Center's board of directors. "These workshops have been an asset in enhancing learning skills, improving homework performance and demonstrating new and innovative techniques to problem solving," he added.
By partnering with organizations such as the Emily K Center, various faith-based centers, several Durham Parks and Recreation centers and Durham Public Schools' afterschool programs, Shodor multiplies the impact of its work by teaching others to adapt and use Shodor's online tools and student workshop curricula alongside other NSDL resources.Dr. Robert M. Panoff, founder and executive director of Shodor, accepted the award on behalf of the whole staff. "Winning the 'Partnership' award does so much to validate the "BASF" approach we have been taking at Shodor," Panoff said. "We don't have to run a lot of the programs in math, science and technology, but we try to make a lot of the programs in NC better."
Shodor is a Durham non profit serving students and educators to improve math and science education nationwide through the effective use of interactive computing and communications technologies. Their website receives more than 3 million web page views per month.
The goal of the Exploratorium Digital Library Afterschool Project is to bring more science and math enrichment into out-of-school time using resources from the Exploratorium's Digital Library, one of the many collections from the Educators visiting the site will learn about different afterschool activities through digital videos, concept maps, links to other STEM resources in NSDL, science explanations, educator tips, and related activities. Portable media in the form of a DVD is also available upon request. Through a collaboration with the California School-age Consortium and their trainee network, outreach specialists are sharing NSDL materials and resources from the website with afterschool leaders and frontline staff across California. For more information, please contact Sherry Hsi, the Principal Investigator of the project.
A new volume of the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) has been published in the American Society for Microbiology's (ASM) MicrobeLibrary. This volume spreads its wings by publishing articles that focus on genome sequencing and Mendelian inheritance in Drosophila, both of which fit directly into the interests of the readership of JMBE. Also available in this volume are articles that come directly from microbiology courses. One article examines the effect that online learning modules have on examination scores of medical students enrolled in a microbiology course while the other takes online learning one step further and studies the effectiveness of an online microbiology course for non-science majors.
Shodor high school intern Kelley Katzenmeyer, a sophomore from Riverside High School in Durham, North Carolina, led a team of students from Shodor who created a video entry for the "Voices of the South" Southern Growth Policies Board contest. She won FIRST PLACE with her video about ITEST apprentices and interns at Shodor learning skills that allow them to be computational scientists working on the National Science Digital Library. See her winning video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIoBG1Af2Vc, or follow the link at http://www.southern.org.
The Chemical Education Digital Library has a new look. All of the original content is there plus new content has been added, and appearance and functionality have been improved. The website was updated by incorporating user feedback and to make room for new material. In weeks to come even more new features will be added. The ChemEd DL site has been streamlined, is more visually interesting, and is friendlier to users. Come by and explore our eye-catching, easier to use, new Web site.
A keynote address was given on Mar. 18, 2008 by Dr. Robert M. Panoff, founder and director of the Shodor Education Foundation in Durham, NC, as part of the UNIV 2008 Forum. The event focused on opening a new interdisciplinary debate on communication with nearly 4500 participating students from 200 universities. Panoff's talk was entitled, "Internet and Honesty. Found on the Web: But How Do You Know If It Is "Right?" He discusssed the importance of young people helping to shape their own information futures. After giving an example of what can go wrong in a simple search, he showed how the "editor" is going to be part of Web 3.0 by demonstrating the National Science Digital Library. Dr. Panoff explained the process of Validation (solving the right problem) and Verification (solving the problem right) as well as demonstrating many tools from math, and physics, and chemistry."Here in Rome," commented John Vassallo, 20, spokesman for UNIV 2008, "We are seeing university students worldwide, who first of all seek to study and understand the great technological and communication possibilities of today's world. And then they want to get in game, indeed, as the first person, in service, volunteering both in Africa and poor countries and closer to home, in one's own district." He concluded, "In short, it is not true that all young people living in a virtual reality are consumerist, with the only Playstation, MySpace, iPods... As Dr. Panoff presented in one of his talks, there is more to life than what happens on Second Life!"
On April 23, 2008 Cornell University's 2005-2008 Networks Theme Project capped the three-year teaching and research initiative with a lecture by team members including David Easley (Economics), Jon Kleinberg (Computer Science), Kathleen O'Connor (JGSM), Michael Macy (Sociology), and Dan Huttenlocher (Computer Science & JGSM) entitled "Getting Connected: Social Science in the Age of Networks."
David Easley introduced the idea of networks by comparing something as easy to understand as a map of the London Underground with station hubs and connecting train lines, to esoteric systems based on ideas and beliefs such as as the intertwined and often hard to detect connections among groups of people where a person is a node, and the edges between one individual and another are different types of relationships. Though the internet has made the study of the spread of networks that convey disease, rumor, and history easier because digital traces can now be tracked and measured, interpretation is still the key to making sense of their significance for people and policy-makers. As Michael Macy noted, "You can interview friends, but you cannot interview a friendship."
The initiative itself was an interesting social network that encouraged collaboration across disciplinary boundaries. 280 students from 33 majors participated in two conferences: Search and Diffusion on Social Networks Workshop, and the Cornell Microsoft International Symposium on Self-Organizing Online Communities, attended lectures, took part in reading groups and made over 600 blog posts in NSDL's Expert Voices. Jon Kleinberg observed that undergraduate students were able to take part in "Building the science behind the world they inhabit." Students studied situations like how a network of apartment roommates functions, and how social network theories applied to their own day-to-day experiences on line and in real life.
Content Clips is a free, interactive web environment that features compelling online resources for K-12 teachers, including images, sounds, and video clips to help build student understanding of science concepts and the natural world. It offers easy-to-use tools (no programming required), a growing multimedia collection, an "add-your-own-clip" feature, and a simple way to combine and arrange online content from multiple sources into customized presentations or learning activities. The interactive fossil sort, used as part of an assessment probe activity and the electronic storybooks in the April 2008 issue of Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears magazine, illustrate how teachers can use Content Clips to create their own classroom interactives. Note that Content Clips requires Adobe Flash.
In a preprint article published online by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Duke University Scholarly Communications
Officer Kevin L. Smith offers pragmatic strategies that authors and their institutions can use to manage authors' copyrights to fulfill the requirements of the new National Institutes of Health
(NIH) Public Access Policy.
Effective April 7, 2008, the NIH Public Access Policy requires that all investigators funded by NIH submit an electronic copy of their final peer-reviewed manuscripts of articles that have been accepted for publication. The articles must be made available in the PubMed Central database within one year of publication.
Smith explores three strategic options for authors and institutions to retain and manage the rights needed to comply with the new policy. Additionally, Smith includes a sample letter that authors can use to notify publishers that an article they are submitting for consideration is based on NIH-funded research and therefore must be made accessible to the public under NIH's new policy.
See the ARL Web site for the preprint article, Kevin L. Smith, "Managing Copyright for NIH Public Access: Strategies to Ensure Compliance," ARL: A Bimonthly Report, no. 258 (June 2008), http://www.arl.org/resources/pubs/br/br258.shtml.
Not enough time to teach all the science and literacy skills required in your curriculum? Studies have shown that an integrated approach to science and literacy (balancing first-hand experience with reading, writing, and talking about science) improves students' literacy skills as well as science content knowledge. Find out how to integrate these two related areas by teaching about the polar regions-a high-interest topic for students and adults alike-at this free, online NSDL/NSTA Web Seminar that will showcase the new Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears online magazine. BPPB is a free online resource focusing on polar science and literacy for educators in elementary school classrooms.
Join experts from Ohio State University: Jessica Fries-Gaither, Elementary Resource Specialist and Beyond Penguins Project Director, and Carol Landis, Education Outreach Specialist at the Byrd Polar Research Center as they examine the unique and dramatically different areas of Arctic and Antarctic regions through the lens of geography. The seminar will provide relevant information about the polar regions as well as spotlight selections of content resources, lesson plans, and suggested readings. This seminar is designed for K-5 educators. Register today.
This web seminar is part of the Beyond Penguins and Polar Bear Series: Integrating Science and Literacy for the K-5 Classroom. Seminar 1: Polar Geography, Tuesday, May 27, 2008, 6:30pm - 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
The 2008 NSDL Annual Meeting will be held from September 30 to October 2, 2008 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. The theme for this year's meeting is "STEM Research and Education in Action." Details, including the call for proposals, deadlines, meeting registration and travel support information, are available on the annual meeting website: http://annualmeeting.nsdl.org. The meeting is designed to provide a forum for sharing STEM research and education experiences, successes, and issues of interest across the entire NSDL network that includes the NSDL community as well as individuals and groups not directly affiliated with NSDL-funded projects. The success of NSDL's annual event depends on community participation and the quality and relevancy of the sessions.
If you've seen the current NSF solicitation for the NSDL program, you will know that this is a transitional year for several groups including some Pathways and the Core Integration team. The current institutions that comprise the Core Integration team (Columbia, Cornell, and UCAR) do plan to respond to the solicitation. The meeting will be structured to provide plenty of time and space to discuss plans for the future, and to celebrate and share the interesting work that continues within and beyond the NSDL program.
The Annual Meeting Planning Committee solicits proposals for presentations to the 2008 NSDL Annual Meeting. Proposals are welcomed
from both the NSDL community and from individuals and groups not directly affiliated with an NSDL-funded project. The Committee encourages all projects to share their experiences and successes, and
to raise issues that are of interest across NSDL.
NSDL: STEM Research & Education in Action
In 2007, the NSDL Annual Meeting highlighted a network of projects and people that had collectively reached a milestone. Presenters did not say, "When it's built, we can?." Instead, attendees said, "What we learned was?," and, "What we're doing is?." Building on that ethos, the Planning Committee encourages proposals to the 2008 NSDL Annual Meeting that demonstrate how the vision of a National Science Digital Library continues to be fulfilled within, and how it contributes to, the evolving national STEM research and education infrastructure. Proposals should explore issues and report on activities that:
--Reflect cumulative experiences and provide compelling narratives about ongoing, or concluded, research (e.g., technology, education, policy) within the context of the
--Highlight inter-disciplinary work undertaken by NSDL projects that encompass continuums, for example, between technology developers and users, across STEM disciplines, and between public and private organizations;
--Are directly applicable to the STEM teacher and learner audiences of NSDL projects;
--Describe a vision for the role of NSDL within the evolving national STEM research and education infrastructure;
--Demonstrate the complementary contributions between STEM research and STEM education.
In keeping with the action-oriented meeting theme, the Committee also encourages presentations that incorporate various media (e.g., video clips, podcasts, blogs), which further document STEM Research & Education in Action.
The Planning Committee solicits proposals on any relevant topic, within the broader meeting theme, in sessions ranging from 30 to 60 minutes as appropriate. The following session types are invited for the 2008 meeting: Panels, Presentations, Computer Lab, and Lightning Talks. When organizing sessions, projects are encouraged to collaborate with one another or with individuals or organizations not directly affiliated with an NSDL project.
Please read the suggestions about session formats below; refer to the Proposal Submission Process FAQ; and as always, contact the Planning Committee with questions.
1. Panel or
Presentation, 30 minutes: This time would support an update on several facets of one project's activities, or several projects could report on related activities.
2. Panel or Presentation, 60 minutes: This time would support a panel presentation comprising several perspectives on an issue or an in-depth examination of one significant issue. Based on feedback to the 2007 end-of-meeting survey, proposals for workshops will not be accepted in 2008.
3. Computer Lab: This year, there will be a computer lab with 10 laptop computers available for 60-minute sessions. The sessions do not have to follow a specific format, though we encourage proposals that plan an engaging and interactive session, which could result in tangible outcomes for participants. Possible session formats could include a Crit Lab to gather feedback about site functions or hands-on Demonstrations of site features or activities. Some examples include: train-the-trainer sessions on delivering a specific workshop curriculum, learning to use an NSDL service such as Content Clips or Instructional Architect, or learning how to de-bug a particular piece of software.
4. Lightning Talk: Lightning talks are 5-minute presentations on any topic and are a great way to quickly share detailed information. The style is informal, focused, informative, and can be as prepared or as spontaneous as the presenter chooses. You do not need to organize a whole session of lighting talks. The Planning Committee will organize the talks into 60-minute sessions.
From April 22 until May 18, 2008 "CONFCHEM", a virtual chemistry conference, is taking place using email and a listserv. The CONFCHEM schedule consists of a series of eight
paper presentations focused on "Chemistry at the National Science Digital Library" given by major developers of NSDL chemistry collections. After each paper there is a discussion period. To
register for the conference you must subscribe to the listserv--visit the web site to logon.
The event launched with a discussion of Lee Zia's paper about the NSDL entitled, "NSF's NSDL Program: An Overview of its History, Progress, and Promise." To find out how to enroll in the free conference go to http://www.ched-ccce.org/confchem/instructions.html.
Register by May 16 and reserve your spot at the Fedora-focused Repository Institute on Prince Edward Island, one of Canada's premiere travel destinations known for its sandy beaches, golfing, seafood and iconic red dirt roads. The 1-week hands-on workshop will be led by well-known Fedora "natives" Sandy Payette, Fedora Commons Executive Director; Richard Green, Manager, RIDIR, REMAP and RepoMMan Projects, e-SIG, Academic Services, University of Hull, and; Matt Zumwalt, MediaShelf.The Institute is hands-on and targeted at individuals from institutions planning or running a repository program and is intended for users with a wide range of experience, from managers to programmers. Attendees will be provided all the information and tools needed to implement and maintain a flexible repository program using Fedora. Since the Institute is a combination of lecture and hands-on experience, we encourage all participants to bring their own laptops. This will allow participants to return to their place of work with a fully-functional Fedora installation for further development and testing. Those participants who are not able to bring a laptop will be provided with one to use for the duration of the Institute.
Register by May 16 for the reduced early-bird fee of $1,500 --after that the fee is $1,800.
Registration includes meals (except dinners for Tuesday to Thursday), special events and all materials. A preliminary workshop agenda and registration
form are now available.
If you have questions about the Red Island Repository Institute, please contact Mark Leggott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Institute for Multimedia Literacy is pleased to announce a workshop for faculty and graduate students to create multimedia projects with Sophie, an easy-to-use free software application developed by the Institute for the Future of the Book and presented by USC's School of Cinematic Arts. Sophie allows users to design interactive texts that incorporate images, video and sound, and it deploys creative formats for analysis, annotation and citation.The deadline for proposals is May 12, 2008.
Participants will engage in a hands-on workshop May 27 - 30, 2008, with the goal of creating a scholarly project; they will then be free to use the IML labs with support staff during the summer to continue work on the project; and they will be invited to present their completed projects at a showcase event in August. Participants will receive an honorarium of $1,000 for their participation in the workshop.
Sophie is described by the Institute for the Future of the Book as "software for writing and reading rich media documents in a networked environment." Sophie's goal is to encourage multimedia authoring and, in the process, "to redefine the notion of a book or ?academic paper' to include both rich media and mechanisms for reader feedback and conversation in dynamic margins."
Successful proposals will be based on an existing paper or body of research; they will articulate how media elements will enhance or transform the paper; and they will indicate a desire to dedicate a full week to the project during the workshop.
Those interested are invited to submit a proposal that includes the following:
Name and affiliation
Paper/project title and brief description
Sophie project description: what do you imagine doing with Sophie?
Why is this an interesting project to translate into an interactive, media-rich, extensible and/or networked format?
What assets (images, video, sound) do you have ready to use
Please submit proposals by
email to Holly Willis, Director of Academic Programs, Institute for Multimedia Literacy
About the Institute for Multimedia Literacy: The IML is an organized research unit within USC's School of Cinematic Arts dedicated to developing educational programs and conducting research on the changing nature of literacy in a networked culture. The IML's educational programs promote effective and expressive communication and scholarly production through the use of multiple media applications and tools. The IML also supports faculty research that seeks to transform discipline-based scholarship. < a href="http://iml.usc.edu">http://iml.usc.edu.
As many groups, individuals and institutions prepare to submit proposals to NSF, it is of note that the National Science Foundation publishes a quarterly newsletter from the Policy Office, that includes general information on the 2009 budget request, the impacts of America COMPETES Act, and other information.
Saving energy part of the Indiana Department of Education's yearly challenge to Indiana High Schools to engineer solutions for our nations energy needs. The 2008 Super Mileage Challenge (SMC) took place on April 28, 2008 at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. In the SMC High School students apply Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) to design, engineer, construct, test and evaluate vehicles that obtain the highest MPG.
Tapped In is a Web-based learning environment created by SRI International to transform teacher professional development (TPD) for professional development providers and educators. Tapped In enables providers to offer high-quality online professional development experiences and support to more teachers cost-effectively. Through Tapped In, educators can extend their professional growth beyond courses or workshops with the online tools, resources, colleagues, and support they need to implement effective, classroom-centered learning activities.
Impoverished citizens in developing countries who are forced to manage their lives without conveniences such as plumbing and electricity somehow still manage to stay connected through their cell phones. This article suggests that our phones are becoming more and more like ubiquitous human appendages that provide users with a chance to utilize technology to leverage economic opportunities.
Six library, student, and advocacy organizations today announced the Second Annual Sparky Awards, a contest that recognizes the best new short videos on the value of sharing and aims to broaden the discussion of access to scholarly research by inviting students to express their views creatively.
This year's contest is being organized by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) with additional co-sponsorship by the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, Penn Libraries (at the University of Pennsylvania), Students for Free Culture, and The Student PIRGs. Details are online at http://www.sparkyawards.org.
The 2008 contest theme is "MindMashup: The Value of Information Sharing." Well-suited for adoption as a college class assignment, the Sparky Awards invite contestants to submit videos of two minutes or less that imaginatively portray the benefits of the open, legal exchange of information. Mashup is an expression referring to a song, video, Web site, or software application that combines content from more than one source.
To be eligible, submissions must be publicly available on the Internet - on a Web site or in a digital repository - and available for use under a Creative Commons License. The Winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000 along with a Sparky Award statuette. Two Runners Up will each receive $500 plus a personalized award certificate. At the discretion of the judges, additional Special Merit Awards may be designated. The award-winning videos will be screened at the January 2009 American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Denver.
Entries must be received by November 30, 2008. Winners will be announced in January 2009. The Winner of the First Annual Sparky Awards in 2007 was Habib Yazdi, a student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for "Share."
"If the medium is the message, then a video competition is an apt means of encouraging the YouTube generation to think about the challenging intellectual property issues shaping their communication environment," said SPARC Executive Director Heather Joseph.
"This video contest is an excellent venue to engage students and to explore with them the intricacies of re-using content," said Anu Vedantham, Director of the Weigle Information Commons at Penn Libraries. "The videos that emanate from this and similar contests provide vibrant examples of student creativity and ownership of new media. At Penn, I have noticed that mashup video contests and video classroom assignments engage students and faculty in new ways with academic material, and that video creation can be effectively integrated in many disciplines including writing, history and language studies. Through involvement with the 2009 Sparky Awards, libraries and new media centers have a valuable opportunity to reach out to faculty and students."
"We're excited to be a part of the Sparky Awards again this year," said Karen Rustad, Core Team Chair for Students for Free Culture. "More and more students are having to manage issues of access and re-use in their daily school work. It's a great time to talk about the potential for open sharing."
The contest takes as its inspiration a quote from George Bernard Shaw: "If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."
For details, see the contest Web site at http://www.sparkyawards.org.
The Cornell University Outreach portal acts as a place where users can search through outreach resources quickly and easily. As the main entrance to outreach activity at Cornell, the web portal is a powerful tool for providing access to Cornell's outreach efforts. By utilizing search and browse using terms identified by outreach providers and through user testing, the portal provides flexible and precise access to valuable resources like the National Science Digital Library.
Roger Cunningham passed away April 17, 2008 after a short illness. He was with the Ohio State University College of Education since 1994, first working for the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse and then the Ohio Resource Center. During that time, he worked on multiple NSDL Digital Library Projects including the NSDL Middle School Portal, Learning Matrix, Gender and Science Digital Library, and ICON. He was a Senior Systems Developer and Database Architect. Condolences can be sent to his wife Jeanne Cunningham, 4481 Hampton Woods Court, Gahanna, OH 43230.
319,223 students, 25,544 teachers, 19,726 parents, and 3,263 school leaders submitted surveys through Speak Up 2007, an annual national research project about the use of technology and science resources to prepare students for the 21st century. The annual survey is facilitated by Project Tomorrow whose goal it is to insure that today's students are well prepared to be tomorrow's innovators, leaders and engaged citizens of the world by supporting the innovative uses of science, math and technology resources in K-12 schools and communities. To find out more about issues such as how students view the value of educational gaming visit http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/.