Research news and notes from the National Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Education
Digital Library (NSDL) Program [Back Issues]
August 2008 Issue #138
On Thursday, July 31, 2008, Digital Promise, a fund to keep America competitive in this digital century by transforming education, workforce training, and lifelong learning, was passed by both the U.S. House and Senate as part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. It is expected to be signed into law by President Bush. Digital Promise will establish the National Center for Learning Science and Technology Trust Fund based on the principles of Digital Promise. The Trust's goal is to transform America's education at all levels through the development and use of revolutionary advanced information technologies comparable to those that have already transformed the nation's economy, its communications system, media, and the daily lives of its people.
The Trust will enable the nation's schools, universities, libraries, museums, and public broadcasters to reach out to millions of people in inner cities and remote regional areas, no matter how poor or deprived, in the U.S. and throughout the world, with the best of the educational and informational content now locked inside their walls. It will support the research and development of new models and prototypes of educational content, taking full advantage of the Internet and other new digital distribution technologies. For example, the Trust will commission pre-competitive research and fund the development of prototypes to:- Demonstrate computer simulations that let learners tinker with chemical reactions in living cells, practice operating and repairing expensive equipment, or practice marketing techniques, thus making it easier to grasp complex concepts and transfer this understanding quickly to practical problems.
Come see the Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears online magazine's new features and functionalities. You can now Browse Columns and access the Archive. Browse Columns allows you to view a particular column across all magazine issues. Archive allows you to view all past magazine issues. A new Google customized search of the magazine and Expert Voices Polar blog returns resources from both.The BPPB team has also started a Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears group in Shelfari-- a virtual bookshelf were people can get together online and discuss books they've read or want to read. Through the Beyond Penguins Shelfari, users have access to selected polar children's books from the Virtual Bookshelf column of the magazine. The team looks forward to user discussions about the books and comments, especially once they have used them in their classes. A widget on the BPPB blog allows users to scroll through the book selections or click on the word Shelfari and to go to the Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears Shelfari bookshelf.
The American Society for Microbiology's MicrobeLibrary continues to grow. Recent additions include a new issue of Focus on Microbiology Education (FOME) newsmagazine featuring over 30 reviews of educational materials including textbooks, websites, and electronic materials; a new article in the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education that reports on benefits gained by students who participated as undergraduate teaching assistants at the University of Maryland-College Park; and a new curriculum activity on constructing nucleotides.
Principal Investigators from the NSF CCLI program met at the Renaissance Hotel, Washington DC, from August 13-15, 2008. The meeting was hosted by AAAS.
Three poster sessions, where NSDL posters were grouped together were part of the meeting. NSDL resource tables, where CCLI participants could meet and talk with NSDL representatives, have their questions answered, try out sites, and pick up handout materials were grouped together in a high traffic area outside the plenary session meeting room.
Eileen McIlvain presented a brief overview of NSDL during the opening plenary that detailed the dimensions of NSDL resources/collections; tools; services; partnership infrastructure, and opportunities to contribute to Pathways and NSDL which generated interest from meeting participants. NSDL representatives staffed both the NSDL resource area and the poster sessions. Thanks to the following Pathways for their participation: Rachael Bower, AMSER; Bruce Mason, ComPADRE; John Moore, ChemEd DL; Ingrid Burbey (Virginia Tech) for Engineering Pathway; Laura Bartolo and Cathy Lowe, MatDL; Lang Moore, MathDL. Brian Jersky of the NSDL CauseWeb project also participated in poster sessions. CCLI participants were encouraged to contribute to Pathways and NSDL and there was lots of good connection-making at the event.
Watch for the launch of Teachers' Domain College Edition in the coming week! Selected STEM media resources from TD collections will be catalogued according to topics and commonly taught courses in Astonomy, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Geoscience, Health Science, and Physics. Go to www.teacherdomain.org, and click the Change Edition link in the footer to select the College Edition.
K-12 users will find many new resources and content areas in the K-12 edition, and New York K-12 users will be directed to VITAL New York, customized to the New York State Core Curriculum.
Reports from summer travels to the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)Meeeting; RepoCamp at the Library of Congress plus a view from SIGGRAPH 2008 in LA are all available on NSDL Road Reports.
Fedora Commons released version 3.0 of the popular Fedora software that completes all general release features on July 30, 2008. Dan Davis, Chief Software Architect, Fedora Commons, explained, "We are pleased to offer a Fedora 3.0 that is a foundational step towards a model-driven content architecture." He went on to say, "Users will find it simpler to maintain and operate their repositories with version 3.0-it's more scalable and fits better into the Web."
Fedora 3.0 features the Content Model Architecture (CMA), an integrated structure for persisting and delivering the essential characteristics of digital objects in Fedora. The software is available at http://www.fedora-commons.org/ and at http://sourceforge.net/projects/fedora-commons. The Fedora CMA plays a central role in the Fedora architecture, in many ways forms the over-arching conceptual framework for future development of Fedora Repositories.Overview of New Features in Fedora 3.0 Release
The Fedora CMA builds on the Fedora architecture simplifies use while unlocking potential. Dan Davis explains the CMA in the context of Fedora 3.0, "It's a hybrid. The Fedora CMA handles content models that are used by publishers and others, and is also a computer model that describes an information representation and processing architecture." By combining these viewpoints, Fedora CMA has the potential to provide a way to build an interoperable repository for integrated information access within organizations and to provide durable access to our intellectual works.
Please continue to contribute your observations and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Fedora 2.2.2 will continue to be supported for production repositories.Acknowledgements
The release of Fedora 3.0 is made possible by a collaborative partnership with community developers and the Fedora core software development team that include: Chris Wilper (Fedora Commons), Eddie Shin (Fedora Commons), Bill Branan (Fedora Commons), Paul Gearon (Fedora Commons and Mulgara), Robert Haschart (Fedora Commons), Ross Wayland (Fedora Commons), Aaron Birkland (Fedora Commons and National Science Digital Library), Jim Blake (Fedora Commons and National Science Digital Library), Matt Zumwalt (API-M LITE, Media Shelf), Gert Schmeltz Pedersen (GSearch), Cuong Tran (API-M LITE, Digital Innovation South Africa), Pradeep Krishnan, Ronald Tschalar, Bill Arrow, Jim Paul and many others.
In 2007 Fedora Commons was established as the permanent home of Fedora open source software which is a robust, integrated, repository platform that enables storage, access and management of virtually any kind of digital content. Fedora has been downloaded 25,000 times in the last year, and is used by over 125 national libraries, institutions, and businesses worldwide to do more with their digital collections, enable long-term preservation of digital assets, build on a flexible and extensible, modular architecture, keep control of their data, and participate in Fedora's innovative community. To find out about Fedora organizations, institutions and projects please visit the Fedora Commons Community Registry.
NSDL Web Seminars 2008-2009 Series begins September 25, 2008. NSDL has partnered for it's third year with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) as a part of their online professional development programs. These free, 90-minute seminars allow educators to interact with experts in the NSDL community from a desktop.
Here's the fall schedule
with NSDL experts providing background content and highlighting online resources available to you from the NSDL collection: http://tiny.cc/websems.
Sept 25th: Celebrating Astronomy: A Star's Story
Learn about the life cycle of a star, dark matter and other concepts related to 5th-12th grade astronomy.
Oct 29th: Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears Series: Physical Science from the Poles
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears Magazine
Integrate science and literacy strategies by exploring physical science through studying the poles. This seminar is for elementary level educators.
Nov 13th: Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears Series: Energy and the Polar Environment
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears Magazine
Integrate science and literacy strategies by studying concepts of energy resources and how they relate to the poles. This seminar is for elementary level educators.
Dec 9th: Chemistry Comes Alive: III---Water
Registration opens in September. More information coming soon.
How to register:
1. Read the list of programs available http://tiny.cc/websems
2. Click on the link of the program for which you would like to sign up
3. Click on the registration link: http://learningcenter.nsta.org/products/SeminarRegistration.aspx
You'll receive login info that you will need to log on on the day of the seminar.
Due Dates and To Do's
August 29--all presenters: final changes due for the printed program: session title, abstract and presenters. Make changes at the meeting website in the registration section (more details below).
Sept. 5: Register a poster--It's free, it does takes a few moments, but it's one of the best ways to share your work with the NSDL community. (Read the call for proposals here).
September 4-8: All presenters review a draft of the printed program and submit any corrections for your session by 12pm MT, September 8 to Robert Payo.
September 10-30: Optional, all presenters: make further changes to online session information. These will not be reflected in the printed program.What To Do?
Will your students and educators benefit from this trend or be left out? Join Net Day Project Tomorrow on Wednesday, Sept 17th for a free webinar where we will share the updated online learning trends from Speak Up 2007 and our report "Learning in the 21st Century: A Trends Update." The webinar will include a presentation by Julie Evans, CEO-Project Tomorrow and include a panel discussion featuring: Janet Herdman, Executive Director-IT, North Kansas City School District, and Ann McMullan, Executive Director Educational Technology, Klein Independent School District.
At the San Diego Supercomputer Center visualization techniques are applied to a variety of interesting scientific domains. Remote participants can join and interact by using a web browser for viewing and a telephone for audio for this lecture scheduled for Aug. 27 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (PT) where three case studies of how HPC resources were utilized to create visualizations in Seismic Research, Astrophysics, and Cellular Imaging will be presented.
NSF is sponsoring three workshops for education and outreach professionals and NSF Research Centers Educators' Network (NRCEN) members. The purpose of the workshops is to build the community of participants using and contributing to the NEO-Sphere.org web site by offering an introduction to the resources on the site and guided instruction in adding and accessing these resources. (More information about NEO-Sphere.org is below.)
There is no fee to attend the workshop, and a small stipend will be provided to defray travel costs. Space is offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and preference will be given to NSF Research Center Educators.
These 4-hour workshops will be offered in convenient locations across the country. Two workshops will coincide with the upcoming national ASTC (Association of Science-Technology Centers) and NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) conferences. Bonus presentation: The ASTC and NSTA workshops will also include a presentation about the resources available through the National Science Digital Library (NSDL).
The registration deadline is one month in advance of each workshop. We cannot guarantee availability after that date. Register at: https://www.engin.umich.edu/form/neosphere.
The ideal participant in this workshop would be an education and outreach professional who serves as the link between basic research projects and the public, whether at a research center, a museum, or a university. Please feel free to share this invitation with your colleagues.
To make this short workshop as productive and engaging as possible, we will require attendees to bring copies of at least 2 or 3 electronic documents or web resources. This will help participants gain hands-on experience using the website and allow them to share information with colleagues at the workshop.
The workshop will be conducted by Katherine Lawrence of the University of Michigan. If you have questions about this workshop, please contact Katherine (firstname.lastname@example.org; 734-994-7904).
The NEO-Sphere.org website serves the NSF (National Science Foundation) Research Centers Educators' Network (NRCEN) and a broader, diverse group of education and outreach professionals with similar job responsibilities. This growing, emerging profession provides the necessary assistive link between basic research projects and the public.
NEO-Sphere is an interactive online resource with tools providing communication, collaboration, and access to resources. Funded by NSF, NEO-Sphere is designed to provide both mechanism and means to help education and outreach professionals address common concerns, issues, and goals and more effectively reach larger, broader, and more diverse audiences.
NEO-Sphere encourages member-motivated contributions. Contributions may include excerpts from members' education, outreach, and diversity-related strategic plans; success stories; reports and statistical data; publications; best practices; and shared evaluation tools and instruments. The site also provides member-driven mentoring, news, events, and links to resources.
The second HASTAC/MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Competition is now open! The focus is participatory learning. Awards will be made in two categories:
in Participatory Learning Awards support, large-scale digital learning projects: $30,000-$250,000
-Young Innovator Awards, targeted at 18-25-year-olds: $5,000-$30,000
The report Learning in the 21st Century: A Trends Update highlights the results of the most recent Speak Up online survey (fall 2007), in which Project Tomorrow probed deeper on this important national topic. The report provides new and timely data on the growth of online learning in America's schools for both student learning and teacher professional development, and the challenges faced by school and district leaders in regards to technology and learning.A sampling of key findings in the report:
"Like, you should totally check it out," is a phrase that your teenage daughter might use in getting you to pay attention to a cool web site, or perhaps to an unwanted piece of fashion advice. This phrase was also uttered by that Quasi the Robot at SIGGRAPH 2008 in encouraging conference-goers to be sure to see the Animation Festival. Quasi the Robot (2.0) is a friendly animatronic (a robot that is not artificially intelligent) figure who makes natural conversation, sometimes remembers if she/he has met you before, gets embarrassed, and communicates other subtle characteristics of emotion, speech and human behavior common in face-to-face encounters. Humans may not like it when robots look and act too much like us, but this little hunk of metal and blinking lights who is part of the Interbots series of robots has been engaging audiences at conferences and events all over the country since last year. What do you think? Add your comments to Whiteboard Report Talk Back.