DLESE Matters newsletter banner June 2006

Vol. 3, Issue 5, June 2006         All issues index         Submit newsletter content          DLESE home

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Resource of Interest:

Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology is a peer reviewed, web-based collection of ecological educational materials by the Ecological Society of America (ESA). TIEE is a resource for busy ecology faculty who are looking for new ways to reach their undergraduate students, or who perhaps want to learn more about teaching and learning. There are three sections - Experiments, Issues, and Teaching. Experiments are for lab sections of courses, and Issues can be used in lecture, lab, and for homework, while the Teaching section focuses on student-active teaching and learning strategies. All of the TIEE materials include background information on the topic addressed, instructions for students, and notes to faculty. There are many links from both Experiments and Issues to the Teaching section which includes web-based resources, essays, and tutorials.

Professional development opportunities:

Technology in Education (TIE) will be celebrating 20 years of presenting high quality educational technology conferences for the educators of Colorado and surrounding states. The 20th Technology in Education conference will be held at Copper Mountain, Colorado from Tuesday, June 20th through Friday, June 23rd, 2006. If you are registered to attend, look for Lynne Davis and Shelley Olds, DLESE Program Center staff, who will be presenting two workshops at this year's conference: "DLESE and Teaching Boxes: Free resources for science teachers" will be held on Thursday at 8:30AM, and "Powered by DLESE: Focus online science research for your school curriculum and classrooms" will be held on Thursday at 1:00PM.

The Seventh International Conference on School and Popular Meteorological and Oceanographic Education (EWOC 2006) will be hosted by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado from July 3-7, 2006. The meeting is co-sponsored by the American Meteorological Society, the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, the European Meteorological Society, the Royal Meteorological Society, the World Meteorological Organization as well as other meteorological and oceanographic societies from around the globe. Holly Devaul, Russanne Low, Shelley Olds, and John Weatherley from the DLESE Program Center will present three workshops at this year's conference:

There will be three additional presentations, for teachers interested in learning more about DLESE, during poster session 1.

EWOC 2006 online registration is open until June 26.

DLESE Matters to you:

When Randy Sachter's relationship with DLESE started, she was an elementary school teacher in Nederland, Colorado and it was still the 20th century. Now, she's a library media specialist and still forging beneficial relationships to enhance the teaching and learning experiences of her "customers", Nederland Middle/High School (NMHS) teachers and students.

Randy's first exposure to DLESE came as a participant in the "Portal to the Future" workshop in 1999 and as a K-5 team lead on the DWEL (Digital Water Ed Library) project. She has since participated in every DLESE annual meeting and become the head librarian at NMHS. Last summer, Randy approached DLESE and the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) with a challenge: to create visual user interfaces to help her customers, NMHS teachers and students, find great resources to support their teaching and learning needs. She also wanted an interface that would search across and integrate multiple online and traditional sources, i.e., DLESE, NSDL, and the physical holdings of the school's on site library. What followed was a collaborative design and research process to deploy concept-browsing on the NMHS library portal.

What is a concept-browsing interface? Instead of typing in a search term, a teacher can examine and interact with a visual map depicting linked scientific topics that require progressively more complex scientific understanding. The map makes explicit what prior knowledge is required before a student can understand a specific topic. Then the teacher can identify what students need to know to master a topic, and then use the map to find the appropriate resources.

The Strand Map Service (SMS), funded by NSDL, supports the construction of concept-browsing interfaces based on the learning goals in Benchmarks for Science Literacy, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the National Science Education Standards, developed by the National Research Council. These learning goals, or standards, describe what learners should know, or be able to do, at key stages in their K-12 education across the natural sciences, mathematics, technology, and social sciences. Rigorous evaluations show that users were more likely to engage with science content during a search when using a Strand Map Service interface compared to those using a traditional textual searching interface.

The close cooperation established between researchers at CU/DLESE and the practitioners at NMHS has resulted in many benefits to both parties. By deploying concept-browsing on the NMHS library portal, currently only accessible while on school premises, library staff and teachers get access to the latest tools to enhance teaching and learning, and help researchers define the technology integration process for their own working environment. The NMHS staff also gains access to some of the latest trends in teaching and learning using digital resources. Similarly, CU/DLESE researchers get access to first hand data from NMHS users. Evaluation of the tools, with real users of the system, is extremely beneficial to the development and deployment processes. The close partnership with the school offers researchers an opportunity to identify problems and issues, which can be difficult to do as an outsider.

Until now, researchers have only used the SMS to develop digital library interfaces. Working with the NMHS library staff and teachers, observing their practices, school work flow, and interactions with SMS provides researchers with an opportunity to develop SMS interfaces that are more in line with supporting school based learning scenarios. Researchers will learn what aspects of SMS are useful in the school environment and how they might define the process for integrating SMS into schools for daily practice. Experience gained with NMHS may also help researchers determine how to scale up and customize SMS deployments.

It may be the end of another school year, but it's just the beginning for broader deployment of the Strand Map Service. Symbiotic relationships like the one between NMHS and CU/DLESE provide enhanced learning opportunities for all DLESE users. Look for future updates about SMS on dlese.org. For more information about concept-browsing and the Strand Map Service, contact support@dlese.org.

Good read: Using Annotations to Add Value article in DLib Magazine

An article, titled Using Annotations to Add Value to a Digital Library for Education, has recently been published on-line by DLib Magazine. Annotations provide additional information about library resources beyond that which is included in the master resource metadata record. The Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) Community Review System (CRS) captures feedback from teachers and learners who have used a DLESE resource, aggregates this information into formats of interest to other users and potential users of the resource, and disseminates the results as annotations. This article, authored by Robert Arko, Kathryn Ginger, Kim Kastens, and John Weatherley, describes the collaborative design and implementation of the annotation system, and lessons learned. In the collaboration reported here, Arko and Kastens at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) were the annotation providers, while Ginger and Weatherley at the DLESE Program Center, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), maintained the library collections and primary search portal.

Two new collections accessioned in DLESE:

The My NASA Data collection showcases NASA Earth science data through lesson plans, data microsets, computer tools, data information pages and a science glossary. Resources are geared toward K-16 educators, students and citizen scientists. Resources generally cover clouds, aerosols, the radiation budget and tropospheric chemistry. The collection emphasizes data and analysis tools. When developing these materials, educational standards (National Science Education Standards and the Virginia State Standards) were taken into consideration.

The Realtime Atmospheric Data collection provides access to various atmospheric model data (NAM, GFS, RUC) for North America at several different spatial resolutions. The collection is geared to the needs of users who understand atmospheric model data, primarily students at the undergraduate and graduate levels or atmospheric science professionals. These needs may be atmospheric research, environmental studies, enhancing educational resources, or developing new resources, that is, any projects that would benefit from realtime data use.

Free teacher resources from IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology)

On April 18, 1906, a powerful earthquake shook San Francisco leading to fires that devastated the city. That earthquake brought seismology into the forefront as a science in the U.S. The new IRIS "Century of Earthquakes" poster looks at the lessons learned from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and discusses 100 years of large earthquakes, including why earthquakes occur, how tsunamis form and how "great" earthquakes happen. To request a free copy of the poster (or any IRIS poster), please go to: http://www.iris.edu/about/publications.htm#p.

Data services workshop:

The 2006 DLESE Data Services Workshop was held May 15-17, 2006 in Tucson, Arizona (http://swiki.dlese.org/2006-dataservicesworkshop/1). Organized by the DLESE Data Services Team (http://www.dlese.org/cms/dataservices/), this workshop brought together a wide range of professionals, including Earth science data providers, data access and analysis tool specialists, scientists, curriculum developers, and educators, who worked together to explore and address issues regarding data use in the classroom.

Plenary sessions informed attendees about a wide range of issues and proposed solutions regarding data access and analysis. Hands-on sessions gave participants a chance to try out new strategies or technologies. Small team work was the main feature of the meeting. Teams composed of participants representing the full range of roles at the workshop collaborated throughout the meeting to outline data-rich educational modules.

Earth and space science data that were featured in this year's workshop teams were from the Alaska Satellite Facility at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, NASA (Clementine, Messenger, NASA Earth Observations), the Global Land Cover Facility at the University of Maryland, the Marine Geoscience Data Management System at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the National Park Service, the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Data Portal, the National Climatic Data Center, the Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, MarineMap - Marine Science Institute at the University of California-Santa Barbara, and NEXRAD Radar and GIS data.

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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.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0215640 ( DLESE Program Center ). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Photograph in banner: Courtesy of Jack Coming
Editor: Mary Beth Reece
Banner design: Marianne Weingroff
Published June 14, 2006

Combined DLESE, NSF, and NSDL logos graphic

DLESE logo and link - blue sky, green globe horizon line background, white lettering NSF logo and link - dark blue circle within gold sunburst wheel, NSF lettering in white NSDL logo and link - NSDL letters on green/gold/blue/red backgrounds, black outline