DLESE Matters - August/September 2003

August/September       Issue 6 Previous Issues

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Contents

DLESE 2003 Annual Meeting
DLESE Version 2.0 and Core services and activities
Outreach plan and proposal
Advocates for DLESE in K-12 education: Susan Eriksson and Russanne Low
Resources for review
Resource of interest

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DLESE 2003 Annual Meeting

DLESE 2003 was held at the University of Colorado in Boulder from Saturday, August 2, to Tuesday, August 5, 2003. Hosted by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), this year's meeting had record attendance (215), and at least half of the participants were new to DLESE, or new to the Annual Meeting. The meeting's theme of Broadening DLESE generated thirteen strands, or working groups, distributed among four main topic areas for increasing participation: user base, Earth science data and tools for education, collections, and strengthening ties between research and educational practice/evaluation and assessment. There were great opportunities to meet new people and make contact with old friends—throughout the meeting, at the closing dinner at Boulder's historic Chautauqua Dining Hall on Monday evening, and during a concluding optional field trip to Rocky Mountain National Park on Tuesday. Meeting summary and photos. DLESE community members will also find USGS participant Joseph Kerski's report to the USGS community of great interest.

DLESE Version 2.0 and DLESE Core services and activities

Version 2.0 of the library was officially introduced at the DLESE 2003 Annual Meeting. Featuring an entirely new user interface and enhanced discovery services, DLESE 2.0 responds to many expressed user needs and requests for growth in the library's resources—there are 14 new collections, four of them reviewed; resources are searchable by standards and indicate collection-level information, where applicable; and areas for educators and for developers have been highlighted. The integration of the DLESE Community Review System (CRS) is an important source of feedback to creators, as well as providing users with vital information about resource quality. Version 2.0 eliminates the previously "framed" website, so now individual pages may be bookmarked, and enables an integrated look and feel for all distributed DLESE services. The anticipated new core service areas for Community services, Data services, and Evaluation services, along with specific collection-related activities, join the DLESE Program Center core service in continuing to develop and provide a library designed to meet the needs of educators and students at all levels. You are invited to explore the site and discovery services—your feedback is encouraged!

Outreach Plan and Proposal

On April 28-29, 2003, a DLESE All PI meeting took place, bringing together the PIs of the DLESE Program Center with the primary investigators of proposals that were submitted to the National Science Foundation in 2002 for DLESE core services. One result of that meeting was the formation of a small working group to convene a DLESE Outreach Strategy meeting in May, 2003, which examined the issues and needs surrounding the development of a proactive, cohesive outreach strategy for a distributed DLESE. Critical activities over the next few years include increasing awareness and use of library services by educators and students, and growing DLESE collections and services. This meeting resulted in the formation of an integrated Outreach Plan, and subsequently, submission of a proposal to implement baseline outreach activities and a pilot program for collections development, working with Grade 6-12 teachers of the California State Teachers Association, the US Geological Survey, and the University of California Museum of Paleontology. That proposal has been very recently funded, and will foster increased outreach to teachers and serve as a model for future outreach pilot programs for DLESE in other states and regions across the country.

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Advocates for DLESE in K-12 education: Susan Eriksson and Russanne Low

A key focus for DLESE, and for outreach activities in the next few years, is increasing use of DLESE by K-12 educators. Two community members who are advancing this effort are newly-elected Steering Committee member, Susan Eriksson, and Director of the Science Center at the University of Minnesota, Rusanne (Rusty) Low.

Susan Eriksson is the Associate Dean in K-12 Science and Math Education, Curriculum and Outreach, for the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). Virginia Tech educates nearly 80% of the math and science teachers in Virginia, and her position was designed to specifically address the shortage of teachers in Virginia and the nation. She has extensive experience in working with K-12 teachers and students, as well as in informal educational efforts as Director of the Virginia Tech Museum of Natural History. She is also the project director for a gateway website supporting Virginia Earth Science Standards of Learning sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education. Profile.

Russanne Low is Director of the Science Center, Consortium of Science and Education Colleges, at the University of Minnesota, and is a Research Associate at the Limnological Research Center of UM. She is also active with the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) and with SciMathMN, a public/private partnership supporting improved student learning in K-12 science and mathematics through standards-based, systemic reforms. Rusty writes:

"Over the course of a year, I teach an introductory course in Earth science for preservice teachers as well as a graduate-level course in Earth system science for in-service teachers. DLESE is a remarkably useful resource for activities that take place in both classes. Prior to integration of DLESE into my course plan, the preservice teachers often complained that they did not know how they would ever use the technical and highly specialized knowledge of a 100-level geology course in their classroom. For the past year I have required students to conduct DLESE searches in connection with central topics we cover in the course. They select a gradeband, and find a lesson, image, or animation that they could use with their students in meeting Minnesota science standards. The great benefit of this exercise has been that the students now see that topics that they previously believed were "esoteric" actually fit into grade-level science standards. More importantly, the students are highly motivated to learn the college-level curriculum, now that the connection with their upcoming teaching has been made clear. In the graduate-level course, I have been able to rely on DLESE as the primary source of literature and no longer require any texts. Similarly, the teachers are encouraged to look at material geared to graduate level studies as well as their grade level, once again creating the bridge between pure knowledge and applied knowledge."

Resources for review

The DLESE Community Review System (CRS) invites your reviews of new DLESE educational resources in the topic areas of agricultural science, atmosphere and climate, biology, ecology, environmental science, forestry, geology, structural geology, geological time, geophysics, human geography, physical geography, hydrology, cryology, mineralogy, petrology, natural hazards, physical, chemical, and biological oceanography, paleontoly, and soil sciences.

The Community Review System gathers web-based feedback on resources from educators who have used a resource to teach with, and from learners who have used a resource to learn with. The CRS provides feedback to resource creators to help them improve their resources, and posts aggregated, anonymous information from the reviews to help users decide whether, and how, to use the resource. Your input will help to build the DLESE Reviewed Collection and strengthen individual DLESE resources. To review one or more of these resources, go to Review a Resource

Resource of interest

DLESE highlights educational resources that are new to the library or relate to recent Earth events. The September Resource of Interest is:

Visionlearning logo

Visionlearning is a new educational resource designed for teaching and learning science. Written by educators specifically for educators, students, and parents, Visionlearning offers concise, focused learning modules that integrate interactive exercises, news stories, biographies and other key resources to excite students about learning. This learning module design provides concise, text-based lessons within an environment of categorized hyperlinks to additional readings. Teachers can customize modules for their specific goals. Modules in the library can be viewed by subject or by their National Science Education Standard equivalent. Spanish translations are also available.

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Photo credit: © Pat Steinkamp, DLESE Program Center

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