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February 2005 - Vol. 2, Issue 2          Previous Issues          Submit newsletter content          Back to DLESE


Resource of Interest: Winter weather

All About Snow graphic & link

Local record snowfalls, ice storms, and their travel-related impacts are creating a memorable winter for much of the U.S, while southwestern states have been experiencing excessive rainfall and flash flooding. All About Snow offers general information about snow, as well as information on blizzards, ice storms, and avalanches. Several DLESE resources offer students the opportunity to investigate previous blizzards, including Snowstorm Hits Seattle and Second Guessing Mother Nature: Forecasting the Surprise Snow of January 2000. A module on winter weather forecasting for advanced students uses a January 1999 snowstorm as a case study. See also Winter's Wallop: New Approaches to Cold-Season Impacts, on research supporting severe winter weather prediction and mitigation. See the drop-down menu More resources about these topics, available on the DLESE home page, under Resource of Interest

Professional development opportunity: NOAA K-12 Ocean Explorer program

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ocean Explorer program offers several K-12 professional development workshops. These online virtual workshops focus on how educators can use mathematics, science, and technology disciplines for exploring the oceans in their classrooms and help increase awareness and understanding of the ocean world. Workshops are designed to provide educators with access to recent research and explorations, and provide tools and resources to engage students in ocean exploration, with emphasis on the use of technology. Workshops 2 and 3 for 2005 take place April 4 - April 17 (Mysteries and Sirens of the Deep - Shipwrecks and Underwater Sound, What Can They Teach Us?) and October 10 - October 23 (Extreme Environments, Underwater Observatories and Technology - An Avalanche of New Resources for the Classroom). More information and free registration are available at http://www.coexploration.org/ceo/

Who is using DLESE and why?

DLESE Evaluation Services conducted a survey last fall on DLESE usage, from mid-October 2004 to January 20, 2005. Links to a simple three-question user survey appeared on the results page of the DLESE discovery system, and on the DLESE home page, asking What are you searching for now? What is your role or perspective in searching (teacher, student, etc.)? and Do you have any comments?

Results of the survey show the breadth of the DLESE user community: K-12 science teachers (31%); college/university faculty (13%); college students (13%); K-12 students (11%); educational materials developers (8%); parents (4%); librarians (2%); and curriculum developers (2%). Others included non-geoscience teachers, outreach coordinators, and professional development experts.

Reasons for searching included: materials for students (30%); materials for an assignment (18%); information about the library (13%); information for curriculum development (7%); information for their own learning (6%); collaborators for a project (5%). Most gratifying were some of the comments received from the variety of users who appreciate DLESE:

  • Awesome site, makes adding to my lesson easy.
  • I teach at-risk high school kids. We have no Earth Science curriculum or textbook. I try to find hands-on activities that they can use for assignments.
  • DLESE resources have been great in helping me assist earth science teachers at my high school in recommending resources for students to use in their projects. THANKS!!
  • I'm a developer of content for earth science educational materials and find DLESE to be a useful site for general info about this field.
  • I love what you have done here! Thanks for doing so much of the hard work for me...

Community Review System offers individualized reports for educators

The DLESE Community Review System (CRS) is currently offering individualized reports for educators based on reviews of DLESE resources by students in that educator’s own class. Students complete CRS reviews of DLESE resources and indicate their class affiliation by a group identifier. The CRS collects the reviews from that group, and prepares an individualized report for the instructor at the end of the unit or semester. Two formats of report are available.

For teachers of Earth & environmental science, the report is designed to reveal how well each DLESE resource is working for the students in that class. The instructor selects DLESE resources for use in lab, class, or homework, and requires or encourages students to review the resource as part of the assignment. The report comments about a given aspect of the resource, such as generation of curiosity or evidence of student learning, and presents a bar graph of student rankings of the resource, followed by student comments. Reports in this format quickly reveal which resources students find interesting, confusing, easy to learn from, or boring. Educators can use these reports to refine how (and whether) to use this resource in the future, and as a possible indicator of the effectiveness of digital learning resources.

For teachers of science education, the report is designed to reveal how insightfully students can reflect on their thought processes as learners, and how well they can articulate the strengths and weaknesses of a digital learning resource. In this case, students make their own selection of resources to review, focusing on topics they personally wish to learn more about. In these reports, each student’s name is followed by a compilation of their scores and comments on each aspect of the learning process, for each of the resources they reviewed. Reports in this format quickly distinguish between students who have thought deeply about what makes an effective learning resource and those who have reflected only superficially. Educators can use these reports to assess their students’ progress as users and choosers of digital learning resources.

If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact Neil Holzman at nholzman@ldeo.columbia.edu.

DLESE Program Center releases new services for News & Opportunities

The DLESE Program Center is pleased to announce the release of new services in support of DLESE News & Opportunities—one of the most-visited parts of the DLESE website. These services permit the creation of News & Opportunities collections, enable searches, and display results in both brief and full descriptions (similar to results pages for searches over educational resources in the library). Select News & Opportunities from the menu at the top of any DLESE web page to explore these new features.

One of the most exciting elements of DLESE News & Opportunities is the availability of RSS news feeds. RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication—a service that delivers short summaries of online information immediately, and allows users to subscribe to receive regular news and events of interest to them. For example, a DLESE user could subscribe to an RSS feed that provides notifications of new job opportunities, or grants, or workshops. Users can utilize an RSS reader or "aggregator" to quickly scan summaries of the latest content on any website, including DLESE. RSS is another step on the way to enabling DLESE users to customize and personalize the library.

Posting your announcements of interest to DLESE News & Opportunities can help eliminate the necessity of sending such information via multiple community email lists, and together with DLESE RSS feeds, is an effective way to both disseminate and receive information (and help eliminate the amount of email in your inbox!). Posting an announcement to DLESE News & Opportunities automatically places that information on the Calendar, which provides an alternate view of all announcements by start date of an event. Enjoy!

The new services include: a metadata framework enabling the creation of News & Opportunities collections; the DLESE Collection System (DCS) tool that manages metadata records; the posting tool that enables community contribution of announcements, and RSS feeds availability. The metadata framework and DCS (handling multiple metadata frameworks and multiple collections) are the behind-the-scenes foundation of these new services. Together, these features automate and improve the provision of and quality assurance processes for News & Opportunities, reducing staff time required to support this service.

Submitting newsletter content to DLESE

Community members may submit content for inclusion in DLESE Matters or photos of interesting Earth science phenomena (for use in the DLESE Matters banner) by going to the guidelines page and following the instructions found there. The newsletter is published mid-monthly except for July/August, and November/December, when combined bi-monthly issues are available.

Your feedback is appreciated. To send comments, articles, requests for a text-only version of the newsletter, or to unsubscribe, send email to: support@dlese.org. To contribute photos of interesting Earth science phenomena for use in the DLESE Matters banner, email support@dlese.org. Photo credit acknowledged. Guidelines for submitting newsletter content.

Banner photo: Earth as Art: Landsat 7 satellite image of the Terkezi Oasis, Chad. Image courtesy of NASA Landsat Project Science Office and USGS EROS Data Center.                         

Editor: Eileen McIlvain

Combined DLESE, NSF, and NSDL logos graphic DLESE logo and link NSF logo and link NSDL logo and link