Annual Meeting Discussion

What do we need as a community to respond…

How to share what we’ve learned

How to capture implicit knowledge we have within the community and share it explicitly in practical ways

What does the community structure need to look like to support the next iteration of the network?

eileen's picture
Joined: 04/23/2009
More Future Directions discussion....

Laura Lusk at Cornell University forwarded these comments from the Future directions table discussions:

1. Send a 'welcome' email with info on what services & tools partners can expect from TNS re: 15%

2. NSDL should mandate that projects can only submit high quality, searchable and interoperable metadata re: their collections.  This should NOT be optional.

3. Metrics: Some projects use tools (like CAT) but they don't know how much they depend on each other - show traffic/how often used others; tools.

4. Tools:
- How develop user base and decide which tools to develop?
- Projects should disclose which systems they use so tools can be sustainable and deployed on a large scale.
- Workshops/webinars should focus on a particular tool and tell of specs required for that tool, so project knows if they should send their developer and if it will work for their project

5. UI issues:
- Search needs improvement, it should a) be more complex, like an advanced search in a library's catalog and b) be established as a federated search within the libraries of schools and universities.

- and the Community Site (nsdlnetwork) could be more user-friendly

Eileen McIlvain Communications Manager Projects Liaison Site editor:; NSDL Resource Center 303-497-8354
eileen's picture
Joined: 04/23/2009
Future Directions table discussions: tools, services, UI...

Thanks for forwarding these, Laura! This is all very good input. We are in the process of addressing increased user-friendly structure and more service-oriented information provision for both and These comments include very good practical suggestions here for metrics, tools, and services provision and support, and we'll incorporate these into our planning for additional site build out as well. 

Eileen McIlvain Communications Manager Projects Liaison Site editor:; NSDL Resource Center 303-497-8354
dcurtis's picture
Joined: 11/06/2010
NSDL and curriculum development; library media specialists

As the coordinator of the Library Information Services for the 24th largest K-12 school district in the U.S., I applaud the energy and thoughtful thinking expressed to address the challenge of teacher and student use of NSDL, one of the most outstanding and accessible collections of digital content!   As the NSDL community investigates innovative approaches to market NSDL content to the K12 community, I would like to share a few best practices and insights that I have found to work in my K12 community.  I share these insights as ideas as you explore ways to market NSDL and ask that you consider including school library media specialists and curriculum writers as potential target audiences.  

First of all, where the rubber hits the classroom road, is to work with curriculum writers to infuse digital content in the initial curriculum development/design stage.  When resources are integrated in curriculum guides, not as supplementary materials but as essential to the delivery and learning of curricular concepts, teachers and students will use them.   As a requirement for our curriculum writers (teachers and central office content leaders), everyone participates in curriculum writers' professional development where library and technology staff provide explicit instruction in awareness of both licensed and public domain digital content, how to search for the golden nuggets, and integrate these resources into the digital curriculum guides we are developing.  The simple truth is that "if it is not in the curriculum guide, then more than likely these outstanding resources will not be used in the classroom."  Please be assured that NSDL is included in our professional development for all curriculum writers!   I just love it when we share NSDL with curriculum writers who are amazed with the scope of quality content accessible from NSDL.

Secondly, in our K12 community we know that library media specialists are the key persons whose education has prepared them for their critical role in every school as "information specialist."  In this role, library media specialists are prepared with the knowledge and skills of marketing, matching, and targeting resources to teachers and students to support teaching and learning.  As such, we take great strides in all of professional development to ensure that they are informed and prepared to market, match, and target any new digital content accessible in our K12 community.  Library media specialists take great pride in sharing and providing professional development among their colleagues and students in their schools.

Thirdly, our K12 community is working diligently to shift from the "teacher on the stage delivery model" to a student-centered inquiry-based learning model in order to address the demands of a knowledge-based economy.  We want all of our students to be "knowledge workers."  We expect more of our emerging knowledge workers who are challenged to conduct investigations and research essential questions that will give better results than a bird, famous dead person, or country report.  For the past 10 years we have ramped up student inquiry-based learning and student research by developing Online Research Models that require our emerging knowledge workers to solve problems, create new meaning, and communicate this new learning.   These Online Research Models are integrated with the curriculum as they were designed in concert with core content curriculum development.  Here is where we take the opportunity to integrate digital content as key resources for students to use for the task.  These Online Research Models are accessible from at the following URLs:  Elementary school - ; middle school - ; and, high school -   In our quest to meet the challenges of the knowledge-based economy, this summer we designed a course – Independent Research Seminar – for high school juniors and seniors.  Students are challenged to complete original and independent research that is characteristic of college-level courses.  BCPS students generate a research question, conduct a literature review, collaborate with content-area experts, develop an hypotheses, collect and analyze data, and present original research at an annual STEM, Liberal Arts, and Fine Arts Student Symposium.  While we are in the process of Board of Education approval of this course, do take a look at our “draft” at  Students who choose to take this course, as you will see, MUST interface and use digital content, including NSDL!

I hope this perspective is helpful to the NSDL task at hand.  Also, thanks to all of the NSDL community for your expertise and vision to make accessible such an outstanding resource as NSDL!

eileen's picture
Joined: 04/23/2009
NSDL and curriculum development; library media specialists

Della -   

Thanks so much for this wonderfully valuable input! 

Your emphasis on the need for NSDL to be a go-to source within curriculum development processes from the get-go is right on. One tangible example of that is the Curriculum Customization Service project with the Denver Public School System. That is an NSDL-funded project, and is realizing very good outcomes. But we agree whole-heartedly that it behooves us to work toward more systematic ways of accomplishing connection to curriculum writers and developers across districts and states, and early in their processes. We are also very cognizant of the critical role that librarians and media specialists play in K12 education, and are working to capitalize on existing and increasing outreach to this sector as well. The links you've provided to your Research Models are great - thanks for providing those. I'm certain they will spark lots of good thinking among our community. We really appreciate the on-the-ground perspective that you have provided - it is invaluable to us! 

Eileen McIlvain Communications Manager Projects Liaison Site editor:; NSDL Resource Center 303-497-8354
eileen's picture
Joined: 04/23/2009
Comments from John Moore

Some notes on needful priorities, contributed by John Moore of ChemEd DL

  • Provide forums or other means of communication that allow teachers to communicate what works, and how they made it work
  • Provide better tools for teachers to use to find out what works
  • Communicate with ALL teachers
Eileen McIlvain Communications Manager Projects Liaison Site editor:; NSDL Resource Center 303-497-8354
jesuroga's picture
Joined: 09/21/2009
Summary of one table's discussion

As a panel member, I went out to listen in on some conversations. The table I joined talked about several key issues, which follow.

  1. Evaluation is critical, but it's not clear how best to share all that we know. Perhaps its to showcase some work via video or interactive session. However, there is discomfort with sharing "failures" even though we agree they are as important as success. Perhaps that suggests both public and private spaces for the community to work in. Another suggestion was lightning talks of failures at the meeting.
  2. Marketing NSDL's successes. Not always clear inside/outside of community of what is happening.
  3. Facilitating conversations with other groups, to help with cross-pollination (like DLF).
  4. Helping projects figure out how to work with institutions on sustainability, by brokering the meetings and underscoring the importance of data management mandates.
  5. Sometimes it seems we have the same conversations. Suggests we need some group who is responsible to look across projects and maintain a coherent body of what we learned.
  6. Create mentoring relationships between new and old projects.
  7. New projects need more context before coming to meeting.

 Susan Jesuroga, 2010 Annual Meeting Chair

eileen's picture
Joined: 04/23/2009
Comments from Gerry Hanley

Here's some notes on the NSDL Future Directions session forwarded by Gerry Hanley

About sharing:

  1. Need to define your audience for who you need to share with.  All three are important but require different methods
    1. End users – IMO this is a key group for adoption
    2. Marketplace advocates – IMO this is a key group for sustainability
    3. Suppliers of services and content – IMO this is a key group for business efficiencies
    4. What do you mean by sharing?  - We tend to follow option A and we need to follow option B
      1. “I’ve got some great stuff to share”, and I want to share (subtext) – “I’m the expert and you need to use what I’m telling you because you’re not doing it right”
      2. “What are your needs and I’ll work on how the services I support can help you”
Eileen McIlvain Communications Manager Projects Liaison Site editor:; NSDL Resource Center 303-497-8354
eileen's picture
Joined: 04/23/2009
Notes from Kate Wittenberg: table discussion...

Kate Wittenberg reported that the discussion at her table on future challenges for NSDL was interesting, and a diverse group that included both experienced and new project PIs, and a mix of both technical and content-focused individuals. List of issues discussed: 

  • Improve metadata so as to improve discovery
  • Increase usage
  • Find ways to integrate with existing teaching materials from the commercial sector (textbooks, instructional materials, etc.)
  • Improve ability of NSDL tools to be easily deployed by other projects
  • Need to transition from research-oriented project to fully operational resource
  • Improve communication with PIs regarding what they can expect from the Resource Center and Technical Network Services
Eileen McIlvain Communications Manager Projects Liaison Site editor:; NSDL Resource Center 303-497-8354
abyers's picture
Joined: 08/03/2010
Great questions--a few ideas

Not sure. I’m only an n of 1, but if my “situation” is similar to others (and it may not be). I’m already on too many listservs/RSS feeds, and get too many emails a day. I find it challenging to “keep abreast” of all that I’d like to, so finding a mechanism beyond a 140 character tweet and of some sufficient depth is a great question.

Virtual Summit
I think you all have hit upon something though with the virtual summit. I might liken these to a “beefed up” live web seminar. If you look at simple seminars, this too might be worthwhile. They are voluntary, synchronous and archivable, can be scheduled at a fixed time as part of a series, and if part of a competent registration system, auto reminders ping users as the date approaches.

The trick it how to make them engaging, not 1 to many presentations, but collaborative (so question-based/interview driven—perhaps?). We expressed the challenge of providing time for all the sessions at this last annual meeting, so the question doesn't seem to be one of folks not interested in sharing, but how to garner the input from as many as possible in an efficient, collaborative, engaging, and perhaps novel way. The rapid fire sessions might apply online! Maybe an “interview” style where all brief presentations/projects answered the same set of questions on the theme where “common” and “unique” ideas might bubble up. I know this is similar to the “summit” approach, just shorter. I also liked the “unconference” template, and the “worst disasters” is also unconventional and highly worthwhile. Maybe even crowd source and vote on the series themes, and let all (or those that desire) get "the stage" for brief time in this fashion.

Another idea
I read about not sure where it resides now but there was a web tool I think called “cluster” that employed a visual Delphi method of sorts to capture ideas from different audience groups based on a set of factors to synthesize ideas (hip crowd sourcing). I remember reading it helped generate a cool product for the iPhone (or something like that), and wonder if something similar couldn’t be done for the NSDL to try?

Final Idea
Attempt to blend, or better said, couple f2f more tightly to online follow-up, maybe with some type of “speed dating” and anonymous “voting” to drive the f2f conference or direction of sessions live on-site (e.g.,, this then might be combined with the “cluster” idea above with weighted input from different groups (academicians vs teachers vs instructional designers vs IT infrastructure gurus) to see an idea and its value simultaneously from different and weighted perspectives. Advance on the highest rated (crowd sourced) idea or suite of ideas in different categories--these then get the most attention and follow-up online.

Ideas: They are many
I'm reminded of a video where a doctor enters a patient waiting room displaying an X-ray of the patient's skull. The physician says, I know why you are not sleeping. You seem to have an office sticky note lodged in your head (image: yellow sticky note on skull with the words “use me”). The patient responds "What"? Doctor: Have you had any big ideas lately? Patient: I've got a lot of ideas. Doctor: It not how many ideas you have, it’s how many you make happen. Do something with that note and the idea should disappear. Patient: What if I can't? Doctor: Could develop into a notepad, a folder, possibly even a filing cabinet.  

The ideas above are just off the “top of my head” and being new to the group (or having been absent for some time). Please feel free to let them develop as you see fit ;)


Al Byers Assistant Executive Director e-Learning and Government Partnerships National Science Teachers Association 1840 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201-3000 PH: 703-312-9294 Web:
myk.garn's picture
Joined: 07/27/2010
Response to Kaye's Paper "A Community Pauses to Consider..."

In her paper Kaye states very insightfully: "In many ways, because of their constant access to technology, student autonomy for learning increases while teachers live in, at the moment, tighter and tighter confines."  I would like to see that thought of student autonomy represented in the focusing questions Kaye poses at the end of the paper.  Perhaps something like:

  • How will NSDL welcome and support a new generation of increasingly autonomous learners who expect direct access to authentic content with - or without - the mediation of experts.

To me, NSDL has purposely moved from "If we build it, they (teachers) will come..." to "putting content in the path of the user."  I'd propose the next quest is to embrace and enable more active participation and co-creation by students, something like "If learners build it, will they learn?"

Myk Garn, SREB
rt's picture
Joined: 09/22/2009
Future Directions Table Discussion

Our table of seven started out talking about the need to do a better job of sharing best-practices and discoveries within the community beyond the annual meeting.  A question was raised about how to find out what recommender systems have already been tried and the lessons learned within the community.  There wasn't any real answer as to where to start this research --- perhaps as a query into the Community Page?

Because we had a high school teacher who also is a Noyce Scholar in our midst, and because having a real live end user of all of our efforts at these meetings is a rare commodity, the teacher was a little like chum in the water with seagulls overhead.
The discussion at our table quickly turned to focus on how a service was being used successfully by the teacher for sharing both content and information among other teachers within their community group.

sclark's picture
Joined: 04/22/2009
Create a group, similar to

Create a group, similar to the web metrics groups to collect and share ways to do evaluation and marketing on limited budgets, personnel and time.  Web metrics is a part of evaluation but doesn't give a complete picture of usage.  Document this info and make it available via the community site.

A community site can be used as a way to organically collect the implicit knowledge of the community but there still needs to be a gatekeeper to keep the 'official' information organized and up-to-date.

While the community site is a central distribution site for NSDL related communications, not everyone will regularly check it for news and updates.  Include a distributed way of disseminating information to community members so they can keep current with NSDL happenings.  As we think of putting resources in the path of the user, also put NSDL news in the path of the NSDL project members.

There are many NSDL sites.  What is the unified message?

Greater emphasis on NSDL as the broker.  In addition to contributing resources to NSDL, build in ways to automatically collect and feedback usage and impact/eval info to contribute to activities like the STEM exchange.  Each project and pathway has their own audiences but the NSDL can group those resources along with the feedback data and provide a better value to school districts and teacher communities that are interested in resources.

jpdewitt's picture
Joined: 10/14/2009
Recommendations for New Projects

Following the Tuesday morning discussions on the future of NSDL and how to share implicit knowledge, our table had a few suggestions.

  • New Project Welcome Packet: This could include a little background on the current projects, who to contact for different topics or problems, and little details like "Who is UCAR and why should I know it?"
  • Private/Members-Only Failures Catalog:  With ambition occassionally comes failure.  There are a number of these within NSDL that we should treat as learning experiences.  What was the venture?  When?  Why did it fail?  Could it have worked better in a different environment or with a few modifications?  These are all details that could help other projects, even if we don't want the whole world to know our failures.
  • Failures Interviews: Anonymous interviews of project personnel to anonymously identify problems.  This could be in addition to the Failures Catalog.
tedsicker's picture
Joined: 10/06/2009
Future Directions Discussion

Some things I heard sitting in on table discussions:

To measure impact, need to work back to how to measure the needs of student and teachers, then use formative evaluation to monitor how well their needs are being met.

Survey new projects: What do you need to know? How would you like to find out that information? How can the "card catalog" ( better serve their needs?

Language seems to vary from project to project: need common vocabulary for what we do, or at least an easy way to translate.

How can NSDL plug into existing tools teachers use?

Info on tools available needs to be easier to find and more widely available

What are our marketing activities? Can we learn about each other's efforts, and can we coordinate? What do we know about our users? How can we share that knowledge?

Ted Sicker, Teachers'Domain