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

The Whiteboard Report
March 2006, Issue #91



NSDL is Dr. Hotlist's Site of the Week!
District Administration: The Magazine for K12 Education Leaders has selected as Dr. Hotlist's Site of the Week ( as an example of an innovative educational resource in science, technology, mathematics and engineering. Hotlist sites are selected by District Administration editors for 75,000 readers that include every superintendent in the country, along with assistant superintendents, technology directors, school board presidents and federal funds administrators.

The magazine covers current trends and pressing issues in K-12 education along with strong coverage of emerging technologies and leadership issues for district-level administrators.
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Join NSDL in Celebrating Science and Math Teachers!
The National Science Teacher Association (NSTA--April 6-9, 2006, Anaheim, CA), and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM--April 26-29, 2006, St. Louis, MO) Conferences are the largest conferences in science and math at the K-12 level. Help NSDL make a strong presence and support your projects at these events in the following ways:

1. Send promotional materials to us for distribution by March 17th
2. Help run our booth at NSTA or NCTM and we'll cover your registration
3. Conduct mini presentations at NSTA at scheduled times during the conference
4. Participate in our NSDL Showcase Breakfast Reception at NSTA
5. Help us by inviting key contacts to the Breakfast Reception
6. Promote other NSDL activities at these events

Details on how your project can participate:
1. Urgent Request for Project Promotional Materials:
An important part of our strategy for exhibiting at major conferences is to demonstrate the depth, breadth, and high quality of NSDL collections and services. Please send 500-1000 copies of your project's brochures, fliers, give-aways (pens, notepads), etc. to be distributed at the NSTA and NCTM conferences. Materials must be received by March 17. Ship to: Robert Payo, NSDL/UCAR, 3300 Mitchell Lane, Room 3204, Boulder, CO 80301.

2. Be Our Guest at NSTA and NCTM: Registrations Available
We have several registrations available through our booth fees. If someone from your project would be willing to help work the NSDL booth in the exhibit hall in exchange for conference registration, please let Robert Payo know as soon as possible ( / 303-497-2935).

3. Participate in NSDL Project Presentations at NSTA
NSDL's booth at the NSTA national convention this year will again be featuring 10-15 minute "mini-presentations" from NSDL projects and partners. If you will have staff or teachers with whom you work in attendance at NSTA, please consider delivering several short demonstration presentations about your project and the resources you offer to K-12 science teachers and science education faculty. Presentations will be offered starting on the hour during the times that the exhibit hall is open. Contact Robert Payo as soon as possible to schedule times ( 303-497-2935). Please also let Robert know of any relevant booth numbers and/or session titles, dates and times for your project's or organization's presence at the conference.

4. NSDL Showcase Breakfast Reception at NSTA
April 07, 2006 7:00-8:30am. Location: Hilton Anaheim, Pulse Lounge. We will be hosting a breakfast reception by invitation only to showcase the resources and services found in NSDL to potential and existing advocates of NSDL that are attending NSTA. An informal mini-poster session will be set up for you to showcase your project at the reception. Space is limited. Contact Robert Payo as soon as possible if you are interested in participating ( 303-497-2935).

5. Invite your contacts to the NSDL Showcase Breakfast Reception
An invitation to the breakfast reception will be forthcoming. Invite your contacts who will be attending NSTA to help us in leverage support and network with key people and organizations. You will meet new contacts associated with NSTA, NSF and others who support or could potentially support NSDL in the future.

6. Promote these other NSDL conference activities in your communities:
--NSDL at the National Science Teachers Association National Convention April 6-9, 2006, Anaheim, CA

Exhibit Booth # 702
Exhibit Schedule
Thursday, April 6, 2006: 10:00 AM-3:00 PM and 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM (Exhibitor Showcase)
Friday, April 7, 2006: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Saturday, April 8, 2006: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Demonstration Presentations: On the hour during exhibit hall hours above

Short Course #31: Practical Strategies for Using Digital Library Resources to Enhance Inquiry-based Instruction
April 07, 2006: 14:00-18:00,
Fee: $47.00 ($52.00 onsite)
Strand: Using Technology to Enhance Student Learning
Presenters: Susan Van Gundy and Robert Payo

--NSDL at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting
April 26-29, 2006, St. Louis, MO Exhibit Booth #508
Exhibit Schedule
Thursday, April 27, 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Friday, April 28, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 29, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
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FunWorks and NSDL Are Basis of New Career Exploration Curriculum for Youth
The FunWorks project from Education Development Center is currently working with the National Citizen Schools Program to develop a digital library-based career exploration curriculum for middle-school aged youth. Citizen Schools is a leading afterschool education initiative aimed at improving student achievement through skill-building apprenticeships that blend real-world learning projects with academic and leadership development activities. The FunWorks project is developing the 10-week apprenticeship curriculum based on FunWorks web site content at and NSDL. The apprenticeship will have youth ages 11-15 reviewing and analyzing online STEM career resources, job shadowing, interviewing STEM professionals in their fields, and developing multimedia STEM career content based on their research (to include in the FunWorks digital library). The curriculum is being developed as a replicable model for use in any afterschool setting and will also be customizable for use in the classroom. For more information about the FunWorks or how to obtain and use the curriculum, contact Sarita Nair-Pillai at
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An NSDL Evaluation Place
To begin to meet NSDL projects' needs for evaluation documents and instruments the Core Integration evaluation web site currently offers:
- the CI evaluation white paper
- the Annual Meeting meeting/workshop evaluation reports
- an introduction to CI web metrics practices
- a page of links to online evaluation resources
- a link to UCAR IRB protocols and informed consent forms currently does not have detailed descriptions, explanations and expert reviews of tools and resources. However, the Educational Impact and Evaluation Standing Committee (EIESC) is working with NSDL Core Integration towards providing additional evaluation support for the NSDL community.
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Researchers to Develop Technology to Extend Benefits of National Science Digital Library
Virginia Tech and Villanova University researchers have received a $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to extend the benefits of NSDL.

NSDL has a vast collection of resources for education and research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Its Web site notes that in contrast to a single-term Google search that will produce millions of results, most of which may be irrelevant to science and technology education, NSDL looks for only resources drawn from "high-quality providers of scientific and technical materials that are accurate and appropriate for educational settings."

As its collections grow, the NSDL is placing more emphasis on user services and higher-level functionality, project director Manuel Pérez-Quiñones said. But in helping to expand the library's usefulness, he adds, researchers must not assume that a "feature-rich" Web site -- with browsing, searching, recommendations, and discussion forums -- would be enough to draw users. That would be like "building a large library with lots of facilities, but placing it at the outskirts of campus -- few teachers and students will interrupt their daily routine to use the new facilities."

The project focuses on course Web sites, he said, as they are "the most commonly used application in today's educational environment, typically providing access to a course syllabus, schedule, assignments, grades, and discussion forums." The technology that the researchers will develop will allow a course Web site to be the entry point into the NSDL's collections. The product would be "a flexible and personalized information interface that supports both exploratory and focused searches and provides the ability to obtain context-sensitive services at various levels of interaction."

Other team members are: Weiguo Fan, assistant professor of accounting and information systems, and Edward Fox, professor of computer science, both at Virginia Tech, and Lillian Cassel, professor of computing sciences at Villanova University. Read the EurekAlert article at
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NSDL Evaluation Progress Report
Analysis of survey data collected about resource creation and review practices among NSDL projects has begun. A report will be issued by the end of March.

Core Integration staff members Mick Khoo, James Burger and Eileen McIlvain are conducting a comparative analysis and evaluation of NSDL project privacy policies. Their aim is to generate boiler-plate sub-clauses that address and inform the design of NSDL community sign-on accounts, and also that meet the provisions of the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Standard privacy clauses and wording will be made available to projects to select from based on their individual needs.

Usability testing on is scheduled for March and April focusing on ease-of-use and satisfaction with search results. A report on the work will be released by June. Web metrics work with and Pathways projects is ongoing.
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High School Student Event: The Indiana Super Mileage Challenge
The Indiana Super Mileage Challenge (SMC) is an exciting high school student event sponsored by the Office of Career and Technical Education of the Indiana Department of Education. The race event highlights student skills in applying advanced concepts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The goal of the SMC is for students to work in teams to create a vehicle that achieves the greatest fuel efficiency in competition with other schools to obtain the highest miles per gallon rating over a fixed course at Indianapolis Raceway Park. The 2006 Super Mileage Challenge will be held on April 24, 2006.

In preparation for designing a vehicle high school students study related advanced topics such as: vehicle safety, vehicle control systems, friction reduction, vehicle geometry, aerodynamics, composite materials, and prototype fabrication techniques. Schools work closely with local and community sponsors to cover the costs associated with building a car and participating in the event. The SMC event is in it's tenth year and is open to all schools everywhere. Detailed information about how to participate will be sent to schools that submit a letter of intent by Nov 1, 2007. Contact Jim Thompson at 317 846-4318 or send email to All are welcome to attend the event!
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NSF Research and Evaluation on Education in Science and Engineering (REESE)
The Research and Evaluation on Education in Science and Engineering (REESE) Program is part of the Division of Research, Evaluation and Communication (REC) in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) of the National Science Foundation (NSF). REESE supports basic and applied research and evaluation that enhances science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning and teaching. The solicitation calls for two types of proposals-synthesis and empirical. Synthesis Research and Evaluation Project proposals should identify areas where the knowledge base in either evaluation or research is sufficiently robust to support strong scientific claims, identify areas of importance to education research and practice, and propose rigorous methods for synthesizing findings and drawing conclusions. Proposals for workshops and other meetings are permitted.

Empirical Research and Evaluation Project proposals should identify areas that have the potential for advancing discovery and innovation at the frontiers of STEM learning. These proposals are expected to be based deeply in the STEM disciplines and be theoretically and methodologically strong with the potential of contributing to theory, methodology, and practice. For either type of proposal, areas of interest include behavioral, cognitive, social, and technological aspects of learning and education; learning in formal and informal settings; diffusion, implementation, and the role of context in educational and learning innovations; and theoretical, methodological, and statistical issues of importance in advancing research and evaluation. Investigators from across the broad range of disciplines supported by the NSF are invited to submit proposals. Interdisciplinary proposals are particularly welcome.
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Request for Proposals: The 4th International Conference on EISTA
EISTA (Education and Information Systems, Technologies and Applications) '06 will be held in Orlando, FL July 20-23, 2006. The deadline for papers and abstracts submission to March 7, 2006. You may submit your abstract or your paper through the Conference web site, or send it attached to an e-mail to: or

Deadlines are as follows:
1. March 7th for the abstract and paper submissions, and for the invited session proposals.
2. April 3rd for the acceptance notifications.
3. April 25th for the submission of camera-ready papers.
The best 10%-20% of the papers will be published in Volume 4 of JSCI Journal (

Submissions from both academia and industry are encouraged. Research papers, case studies, lessons learned, status reports, and discussions of practical problems faced by industry and user domains are all welcome submissions.
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AAAS Science Magazine on Funding for NSF's Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate
There are incongruities with respect to stated priorities for improving math and science education at all levels of government and which programs are slated for funding in the proposed 2007 federal budget. EHR programs are an example of that disconnect. ". . . a major internal reshuffling (at EHR) that is being seen as accelerating a move away from direct intervention in the classroom. Several researchers worry that the change will reduce the impact of NSF's strong research-based approach to educational reform and substitute lower-quality programs run by ED (Department of Education)."
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Science Explorations from Scholastic
A new interactive web site from Scholastic, the global children's publishing and media company, was recently released. In keeping with the company's mission of creating quality products and services that educate, entertain, and motivate children, and that are designed to help enlarge their understanding of the world around them, Science Explorations interweaves links to the American Museum of Natural History with educational standards, and interactive message boards for idea-sharing.
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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