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

The National Science Digital Library Whiteboard Report

January 2009 Issue #143






"We Will Restore Science to its Rightful Place -- Transform Schools, Colleges and Universities"

On January 11, 2009 the National Science Board (NSB) issued "National Science Board STEM Education Recommendations for the President-Elect Obama Administration," and sent them to Obama's Transition Team. Stating that, "Our national economic prosperity and security require that we remain a world leader in science and technology," the NSB went on to highlight six essential components of an effective STEM education system: a motivated public, students, and their parents; clear educational goals and assessments; high quality teachers; world-class resources and assistance for teachers; an early start in science, and; communication, coordination, and collaboration. Download the full report here:

President Obama's Jan. 20, 2009 inaugural address reflected the concerns of the National Science Board and the entire nation: "For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do."

WGBH Teachers' Domain On iTunes

Teachers' Domain has added new science tracks as free downloads. Topics available include:

Life Science
Earth and Space Science
Physical Science

Download these tracks to watch on your iPod for an interactive class assignment or to learn on the go! Resources available for download include videos and educator guides with discussion questions, background essays, and additional material to complement your learning.

To start downloading now, use iTunes on your computer to access the iTunes Store. Once there, go to iTunes U, and under Featured Providers, click on "WGBH." You can also click directly on this link: and follow the prompts. (Please note that certain mail programs may recognize this URL as a "fraudulent" site due to the lack of a "www" address. Please disregard that notice.)

While you're downloading, don't forget to check out other WGBH produced material available on iTunes U:

Basic Black - a series about contemporary issues facing African Americans
Maria Hinojosa: One On One - a series of open dialogues with Latinos in Hollywood

For more information about iTunes U, please visit

Foreign Language Versions of Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears Now Available

A visit to the January 2009 issue of Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears features a new "Change Language" option on the top menu bar. Users may chose to read the magazine in any on of several languages including French, Spanish, German and others with the Yahoo Babel Fish translation utility (

NSF Science Computational Science Education Reference Desk (CSERD) Workshop

While students were busy during exam week in December, many faculty took advantage of that time to further their professional development through workshops offered by Shodor highlighting the resources of the Computational Science Education Reference Desk (CSERD), and other Pathways of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL). At Washington & Lee University, a three-day workshop (December 8-10, 2008) on computational science education and interactive computing resources from NSDL enabled about a dozen undergraduate math and science faculty to explore new modes of teaching and learning.

"The Biosciences at W&L recently began a University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)-funded initiative to promote increased quantitative skills and inter-disciplinarity in our students," Dr. Helen I'Anson, Professor of Biology and Neuroscience and director of the project wrote. "One of our first faculty-oriented ventures toward these aims was the Shodor Foundation computational workshop held on campus in December for faculty in the sciences. It was attended by faculty from most science disciplines, and was very well received. We left the workshop knowing more about what is available in terms of computational resources and with enough knowledge to get us started in producing useable modules for class and lab work with students." Helen added, "Some faculty also have been able to use the information to assist them in their research with students."

During this same period, halfway across the country, CSERD and NSDL were featured resources along with the new High Performance Computing University HPCU) portal, a partnership of Teragrid and Shodor, at the e-Science Conference in Indianapolis. Faculty from all over the world converged on IUPUI for several days of meetings, with an all day workshop on December 9, "Introduction to Computational Science Education Resources," was one of the featured offerings. Faculty and students had a chance to explore CSERD and NSDL interactively, while exploring the computational resources of TeraGrid under the direction of Bob Panoff, Shodor's executive Director, and Scott Lathrop, CSERD co-PI and Blue Waters Technical Program Manager for Education at NCSA.

One-stop Engineering Education News Service

The Engineering Pathway (EP) has launched an Engineering and Computing Education news service--a continuous feed of user-submitted items, featured on the EP homepage, parsed by discipline and displayed on EP disciplinary community pages. The entire feed is available on the News in Engineering Education page. All registered users of Engineering Pathway are invited to submit current news related to Engineering, Computing and Technology Education. The EP news feed can be included on your site, too! Learn more about personalized news and other services offered by the Engineering Pathway.


Media Literacy in the 21st Century

On Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 from 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm ET NSDL/NSTA Web Seminars will present Daniella QuiƱones, Marketing Coordinator for WGBH Teachers Domain, and Russanne Low, a specialist in web development of online materials in earth system education, who will show participants how to access classroom-ready resources from public television. Participants will explore standards-based video segments, interactive classroom activities, lesson plans and more. Resources are drawn from popular PBS shows including NOVA, A Science Odyssey, NOVA ScienceNow, and ZOOM.

What is media literacy in a 21st century classroom? The Internet provides a plethora of resources for students, but are they all credible? This interactive presentation from WGBH's Teachers' Domain will show you how to integrate media literacy into your earth and space science curriculum while introducing you to the free media resources of Teachers' Domain. This seminar is for educators of grades 5-12.

NSDL at AAAS, Feb 13-15, Chicago

Representatives from NSDL Pathways and Projects will feature resources and address current trends and best practices related to teacher professional development and undergraduate student preparation during workshop sessions at the AAAS Annual Meeting: Our Planet and Its Life: Origins and Futures. Both sessions will be at the Hyatt Regency, Suite 5. Times: Saturday, 2/14 from 12:30pm-1:30pm (K12 session) and Sunday, 2/15 from 3:00-4:00pm (Higher Education session).

Show your stuff! Call for outreach materials to display and distribute at NSDL booths during the AAAS (Feb 13-15, Chicago) and NSTA (Mar 18-22, New Orleans) national conferences. Please send materials to Robert Payo by February 5th: NSDL/UCAR, 1850 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder, CO 80305.

USA TODAY Education and NASA Host STEM Career Exploration Webinars

Demonstrations of USA Today's career exploration web site developed in collaboration with NASA will be held online on the following dates:

Thursday, February 5, 1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Monday, February 9, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon Eastern Time
Friday, February 13, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time

If you are interested in one of these free webinars please contact Top | Back IssuesRelated Link:

DSpace Foundation, Fedora Commons, Sun Microsystems and SPARC Present All About Repositories Webinar Series

Got a repository? Would you like to understand more about what repositories are and how they operate? This spring DSpace Foundation, Fedora Commons, Sun Microsystems and SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition) will offer a free About Repositories Webinar Series to provide professional learning opportunities for repository managers, developers, curators and decision makers. The seminar series will kick off on Feb. 18 at 9:00 a.m. PT with DSpace and Fedora: A Collaboration Update presented by Michele Kimpton, Executive Director, DSpace Foundation, and Sandy Payette, Executive Director Fedora Commons.

Each month a new topic or issue of interest to repository communities will be presented in a one-hour online format. All About Repositories Webinar Series will be web cast for synchronous event access, and will also be made available through DSpace, Fedora, Sun and SPARC web sites as an open educational reference for repository users and developers.

Future web seminars will focus on topics such as web services, and will take an in-depth look at some of the top implementations from the Innovation Fair held at the November 2008 SPARC repositories meeting.

Save the dates for the All About Repositories Webinar Series. Pre-registration is required for all seminars at Please contact Corrine Cho-Beaulieu with questions.


NSF NSDL (National STEM Education Distributed Learning) Solicitation

The NSDL program aims to establish a national network of learning environments and resources for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels. The program has four tracks: Pathways projects are expected to provide stewardship for the content and services needed by major communities of learners. Targeted research will focus primarily on educational impact. Services projects are expected to develop services that support users and resource collection providers that enhance the impact, efficiency, and value of the NSDL network. Projects that explore specific topics that have immediate applicability to collections, services, and other aspects of the development of the NSDL network, which were submitted as Targeted Research under previous solicitations, should now be submitted as small grants to the Services section of the program. The proposal deadline date is April 15, 2009.

2009 NSF/AAAS Visualization Challenge. You See it All

The 2009 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the journal Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Awards categories include: Photographs/Pictures, Illustrations/Drawings, Informational/Explanatory Graphics, Interactive Media, and Non-Interactive Media.

Winning entries will be published in a special section of the February 19, 2010 issue of the journal Science and Science Online and on NSF's website. One winning entry will appear on the front cover of Science.

For more information, see:

"Classroom Information Needs," D-Lib Magazine

Author Marcia Mardis, Assistant Professor, College of Information, Florida State University, reports on a search analysis from a digital library for educators on search string logs from 2004-2006 from Michigan Teacher Network in the January/February issue of Dlib Magazine. The continuing nationwide focus on student achievement and teacher accountability has increased, suggesting that the classroom needs of educators remain important primary design and collection concerns.

"Documenting the Value of Education"

In this blog post Chemistry Professor John W. Moore, University of Wisconsin, and Editor of the Journal of Chemical Education examines the strong arguments Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz offer in their book The Race between Education and Technology,and agrees "that changes in policies are needed if the American educational system is to catch up with technological change and again make major contributions to our economic future."

NEW: Shodor InterACTIONS Newsletter

Shodor ( has launched a quarterly newsletter aimed at keeping a growing audience of students and teachers informed about the latest improvements and additions to Shodor's computational science programs and activities. The newsletter is available as a downloadable PDF file and via email. Subscribe to Shodor InterACTIONS here: Please contact Mary Paisley, Shodor Communications/Media Information with questions.

MATHwire: Information for Mathematics Users

MATHwire, is a monthly newsletter published by Wolfram Research ( featuring information about Mathematica and other Wolfram Research products as well as related events from the Mathematica Learning Center.


Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears is This Month's Featured Collection in Dlib Magazine

Jessica Fries-Gather, Editor of Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears and Elementary Resource Specialist, College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University provided readers of the January/February issue of D-Lib Magazine with an in-depth look at Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears (, an online professional development magazine for elementary teachers focused on preparing teachers to teach polar science concepts in an already congested curriculum.

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