Research news and notes from the National Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Education
Digital Library (NSDL) Program [Back Issues]
November 2008 Issue #141
After an enormous amount of sustained work and great collaboration with JES & Co. and the Center for Natural Language Processing (Syracuse University), on October 8, 2008, the TeachEngineering team released a new version of its K-12 engineering collection for which all 700+ curricular items are aligned to the K-12 math and science educational standards of all 50 states. This unprecedented multi-state alignment required more a year of nonstop nightly "mining" of CNLP's CAT (Curriculum Alignment Tool) and SAT (Standard Alignment Tool), and JES & Co.'s ASN (Achievement Standards Network) data--24 million (yes, million) alignments later, the goal was achieved.
This all-state alignment was an overarching TeachEngineering's objective since inception of the collection about five years ago; getting there was a bigger challenge than the five institution partners had ever imagined. The TeachEngineering team is excited about this and sees it as a breakthrough for NSDL as well, as it is an example of successful cross-project collaboration.
Lead systems designer René Reitsma of the College of Business at Oregon State University stated, "TeachEngineering could not have done this without the JES & Co. and CNLP tools and people, both funded through NSDL."
PI Jackie Sullivan of the University of Colorado at Boulder added, "Nor could we have done it without René Reitsma and his fabulous team of IS students at OSU." With this new version,TeachEngineering is able to support new content contributors with curricula meeting the educational standards from any state, which opens the door wide for growth of the collection.
The NSDL Resource Center announces a new service that offers a way to stay attuned to developing trends in K12 and undergraduate STEM education and technology use;explore intersections between research and education in the NSDL community; and learn about emerging best practices across multidisciplinary communities.
Conducted monthly, NSDL Brown Bag sessions enable participants to pre-register for Brown Bag events, view the session via a Web browser, and dial in to the audio portion from their own phone. Sessions are recorded and archived for future viewing in case you can't make it to a scheduled event. NSDL Resource Center Deputy Director Susan Van Gundy kicked off the series on November 25 with a presentation on how to create and contribute multimedia content to NSDL on iTunes U. Coming up on December 11: Mary Henton, Director of Integrated Media Initiatives for the National Middle School Association, and Kim Lightle, Director of Digital Libraries at Ohio State University and NSDL's Middle School Portal Math and Science Pathways (MSP)2 project will speak on the topic: Middle School-What Do We Know?
The American Society for Microbiology's MicrobeLibrary continues to grow. Recent additions include a new issue of Focus on Microbiology Education (FOME) newsmagazine featuring ideas on teaching microbiology with fun; four new articles accepted to volume 10 of the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education; three new curriculum activities; and three new visual resources.
"Youth Voices" is an open call for ideas from 13-18 year olds who would like to produce video segments about climate change. "Youth Voices" will kick off in January, with a series of three informative webinars for student filmmakers. To find out more check out WGBH Lab for details.---
How do you teach a blind child about the wonders of the solar system? Or the anatomy of a frog? Thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation's Research in Disabilities Program and additional funding from The Grousbeck Family Foundation, WGBH's National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) worked with the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts to create science curriculum units that are accessible to blind and low-vision students.
Teachers' Domain asked Veteran Perkins instructor Becky Hoffman who wanted science to come alive for her students: How will Teachers' Domain resources help your students? And how do you plan on using them in your classroom?
Hoffman responded: "One of my most time-consuming jobs is reformatting materials, so being able to turn to the Teachers' Domain website for accessible lesson plans will leave more time for teaching-a definite plus. I am also hopeful that other teachers of the visually impaired will find the modifications and suggestions helpful for their students."
"We feel that science should provide our students with concrete, functional lessons that they can relate to on a personal level, Hoffman adds. "Subjects such as growth and development, the weather, life cycles of plants and animals, nutrition, our bodies, basically things that affects their lives, are good topics to explore with our students. Teachers Domain covers these topics and with modifications and suggestions, we can use the website to enrich our science program."
Teachers' Domain hopes that these developments will enable teachers of the visually impaired across the world to make science come alive for their students.
The rise in traffic from October 07 (52,586 visitors) to October 08 (121,773 visitors) represents a 132% year-on-year increase of visits to NSDL. The increase in traffic was largely due to the addition of the NSDL landing pages. If the landing pages are factored out, the year-on-year increase to visits to NSDL would be 82%.
The NSDL landing pages were released in April 07 to make NSDL data repository resources accessible to search engines. The NSDL landing page is the most popular page on NSDL (607,838 page views) so far in 2008 and represents the top way that users enter NSDL. Traffic to the NSDL landing pages has also gained direct links from websites other than search engines.
Typically traffic to NSDL.org slows during the summer months, however, the traffic to NSDL.org starting from mid-June 08 through mid-August 08 showed an increase. Those months most likely reflected increased activity from previous summers due to the NSF reviewing process of the NSDL proposal. Contact Sharon Clark for more information.
Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm Eastern
Water is an important substance. Life, as we know it, depends on water. This Web Seminar will focus on resources you can use to teach your students about the chemistry of water such as the molecular structure of water and its behavior in chemincal reactions. We will explore a variety of resources including: Molecules 360, a collection of molecular structures; the Periodic Table Live!, an interactive periodic table; Multimedia Problems, questions based on videos that bring together diverse chemical concepts; DigiDemos, chemical demonstrations online; and molecular scale animations. We will also focus on cutting-edge research and learn about some aspects of water that are not yet well understood.
Join presenters Dr. John Moore, W. T. Lippincott Professor and director of the Institute for Chemical Education, and Dr. Lynn Diener, Assistant Professor, Mount Mary College in Milawaukee, Wisconsin and guests Jon Holmes, Editor of Journal of Chemical Education Online and Dr. James Skinner, Chemistry Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for this seminar for educators of grades 9-12.
Repositories are being deployed in a variety of environments (education, research, science, cultural heritage) and contexts (national, regional, institutional, project, lab, personal). Regardless of setting, context or scale, repositories are increasingly expected to operate across administrative and disciplinary boundaries and to interact with distributed computational services and social communities. It is the aim of the Open Repositories Conference to bring together individuals and organizations responsible for the conception, development, implementation and management of digital repositories, as well as stakeholders who interact with them, to address theoretical, practical, and strategic issues.
A program of papers, panel discussions, poster presentations, user groups, and workshops or tutorials will bring together all the key stakeholders in the field. Open source software community meetings for the major platforms (EPrints, DSpace and Fedora) will also provide opportunities to advance and coordinate the development of repository installations across the world.Submission Instructions
Conference papers: We welcome two- to four-page proposals for presentations or panels that discuss theoretical, practical, or administrative issues of digital repositories that focus on areas represented by the conference themes. Abstracts of accepted papers will be made available through the conference's OCS site; all presentations and related materials used in the program sessions will be deposited in the upcoming Open Repositories 2009 community in Georgia Tech's institutional repository, SMARTech (http://SMARTech.gatech.edu).
User Group Presentations: Two- to four-page proposals for presentations or panels that focus on use of one of the major repository platforms (EPrints, DSpace and Fedora) are invited from developers, researchers, repository managers, administrators and practitioners describing novel experiences or developments in the construction and use of repositories.
Posters: We also invite developers, researchers, repository managers, administrators and practitioners to submit one-page proposals for posters.
Workshops: Proposals for workshops for repository managers and developers can be accommodated on day four (May 21, 2009) of the conference. Please contact the local arrangements team for inquiries about workshop facilities at email@example.com.
Please submit your paper through the OCS system administered by Georgia Tech. The OCS system will be linked from the conference web site (http://conferences.library.gatech.edu/or/or09) and will be available for submissions as of December 1, 2008.Important Dates and Contact Info
Results from the most extensive U.S. study on teens and their use of digital media show that America's youth are developing important social and technical skills online - often in ways adults do not understand or value.
"It might surprise parents to learn that it is not a waste of time for their teens to hang out online," said Mizuko Ito, University of California, Irvine researcher and the report's lead author. "There are myths about kids spending time online - that it is dangerous or making them lazy. But we found that spending time online is essential for young people to pick up the social and technical skills they need to be competent citizens in the digital age."
Released here today at the American Anthropological Association's annual meeting, the study was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's $50-million digital media and learning initiative, which is exploring how digital media are changing how young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life.
Together with the late Peter Lyman of the University of California, Berkeley, and Michael Carter of the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education, Ito led a team of 28 researchers and collaborators at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Berkeley. Over three years, they interviewed over 800 young people and their parents, both one-on-one and in focus groups; spent over 5000 hours observing teens on sites such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and other networked communities; and conducted diary studies to document how, and to what end, young people engage with digital media.
The researchers identified two distinctive categories of teen engagement with digital media: friendship-driven and interest-driven. While friendship-driven participation centered on "hanging out" with existing friends, interest-driven participation involved accessing online information and communities that may not be present in the local peer group.
More information about the study and the MacArthur Foundation's digital media and learning initiative can be found online at digitallearning.macfound.org. Ito's research findings, among the first from the initiative, are part of an effort to inject grounded research into the conversation about the future of learning in a digital world.
As Congress debated the details of a financial bailout package, almost 200 National Science Digital Library (NSDL) partners and projects gathered in Washington, D.C., to celebrate a substantial national return on a very good cyberlearning investment and to discuss new directions for the 8-year-old National Science Foundation (NSF) NSDL program. The NSDL Annual Meeting was held September 30-October 2, 2008. Attendees participated in a day and a half packed with opportunities for networking, and sharing research results and accomplishments, project outcomes and good stories. NSDL is designed to leverage online educational Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) technology and resources for students and learners of all ages. Many partners and projects have been part of NSDL since 2000, and as usual, the conversations and collaborations in and around the annual meeting were highly valued by attendees as a way to catch up professionally and personally. Read more...
Ithaca, NY, Cambridge, MA The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a planning grant to the DSpace Foundation and Fedora Commons in support of their work to ensure durability and long-term access of scholarly research output and digital collections. This comes after the two largest providers of open source software for digital repositories announced their intentions to form a working collaboration in July of this year.
Over the next six months funding from the planning grant will allow the organizations to jointly specify and design "DuraSpace," a new web-based service that will allow institutions to easily distribute content to multiple storage providers, both "cloud-based" and institution-based. The idea behind DuraSpace is to provide a trusted, value-added service layer to augment the capabilities of generic storage providers by making stored digital content more durable, manageable, accessible and sharable.
Michele Kimpton, Executive Director of the DSpace Foundation, said, "Together we can leverage our expertise and open source value proposition to continue to provide integrated open solutions that support the scholarly mission of universities."
Sandy Payette, Executive Director of Fedora Commons, observes, "There is an important role for high-tech non-profit organizations in adding value to emerging cloud solutions. DuraSpace is designed with an eye towards enabling universities, libraries, and other types of organizations to take advantage of cloud storage while also addressing special requirements unique to areas such as digital archiving and scholarly communication."
The grant from the Mellon Foundation will support a needs analysis, focus groups, technical design sessions, and meetings with potential commercial partners. A working web-based demonstration will be completed during the six-month grant period to help validate the technical and business assumptions behind DuraSpace.
In terms of how DuraSpace might evolve, Chuck Henry, Executive Director of the Council on Libraries and Information Resources (CLIR), notes that "CLIR believes that DSpace/Fedora may offer some unique structures for knowledge organization and services that can enhance digital humanities scholarship, and those assumptions will be tested [with the grant work]."About the DSpace Foundation
The DSpace Foundation (http://dspace.org/) was formed in 2007 to support to the growing global community of institutions using DSpace open source software to manage research output in a digital repository. DSpace was jointly developed in 2002 by Hewlett Packard and the MIT Libraries. Today, there are over more than 450 organizations worldwide a using the software to capture, preserve and share their artifacts, documents, collections and research data. To learn more about DSpace, please visit this introduction to DSpace.About Fedora Commons
Fedora Commons (http://fedora-commons.org/) was established in 2007 as the permanent home of Fedora open source software-a robust, integrated repository system that enables storage, access and management of virtually any kind of digital content. Fedora has been adopted by hundreds of institutions worldwide as a platform for innovative applications supporting open-access publishing, scholarly communication, e-science, digital libraries, digital archives, education, and more. Fedora Commons helps bridge the worlds of content management, semantic technologies, and the Web. To find out about more about the Fedora community, please visit the Fedora Commons Community Registry.About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (http://www.mellon.org/), a not-for-profit corporation under the laws of the State of New York, was formed on June 30, 1969. At the heart of the Mellon Foundation's grant making philosophy is a commitment to build, strengthen and sustain institutions and their core capacities in six core program areas: Higher Education and Scholarship, Scholarly Communications, Research in Information Technology, Museums and Art Conservation, Performing Arts and Conservation and the Environment.For More Information
One Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science! is a book recommended for grades 4-8 by NSTA and NAPPA, but is also of interest for anyone who is interested in the ways that science affects daily life. The Science Naturally web site features free hands-on learning activities such as "If My Mom Were a Platypus" learning guide.