Posts filed under ‘Project Type’

A Retrospective Review on a Decade of Building a National Science Digital Library to Transform STEM Education

In April 2012 a three-day writing workshop was convened to generate a retrospective report on the NSDL library-building process. Workshop participants addressed the following research questions in group meetings and writing sessions of small teams:

  • How has the vision for the NSDL been realized?
  • How has NSDL developed over time?
  • What new knowledge has been generated as a result?
  • Where are / were successes and challenges for NSDL?
  • How could the NSDL inform cyber-learning programs?

The resulting workshop report is structured as a series of essays and highlights a number of the significant lessons learned and contributions made by the hundreds of individuals who worked to advance digital library research and STEM education.

The report can be found at: http://serc.carleton.edu/p2p_redux/index.html

You can also download the report to your iPad via the iBooks app (this works best with the latest iBooks App installed (v 3.0)). Note: Kindle Fire users can also download this file to their desktop computers and then go the extra step to move it to their Fire.

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May 6, 2013 at 3:23 pm Leave a comment

Integrating Research and Education in the NSDL by David Mogk

Download PDF: Integrating Research and Education

Editors Note: Dave Mogk provides and extensive reflection on his experienes with NSDL. We have excerpted his essay to include the major lessons learned. Please read the PDF for the full richness of Dave’s story.

Introduction

The National Science Digital Library (NSDL) has the potential to be the premier agent of dissemination for instructional purposes the exciting research results that are supported by the disciplinary directorates of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Integrating research and education has long been an important priority of NSF’s mission to support “People, Tools, and Ideas”, and translation of scientific results into instructional practice is increasingly used as evidence of NSF’s “Broader Impacts” review criterion. Digital libraries provide an ideal environment to support the processes of discovery and inquiry that can make Science come alive for learners at all levels and in formal (K-16) and informal (for the interested and inquiring public) instructional settings. The NSDL can play an essential role in NSF’s mission by providing collections and services that directly link scientific results, data and data products, background information on scientific principles and methods, pedagogic strategies, instructional materials, teaching tips, assessments, and human resource development opportunities for students and instructors. Through contributing projects to the NSDL, the DLESE Community Services (DCS) and Microbial Life Educational Resources (MLER) projects, we have experimented with numerous formats to demonstrate ways in which integrating research and education can be achieved in a digital library environment.

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November 13, 2009 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Reflections on the NSDL by David Yaron

Download PDF: Reflections on the NSDL

Introduction

This essay is a reflection on my involvement in the NSDL, which I was lucky enough to be involved with from the beginning. My interests are in using online resources to improve chemical education at both the college and high school level, and this work has led to our current NSDL project, the ChemCollective (www.chemcollective.org).

The NSDL has provided an inspiring home for me as a developer. The structure, including especially in-person meetings and workshops, has created a community of like-minded individuals who have educated me and helped guide my work for the past eight years. In this sense, I believe the NSDL project is an unusually successful NSF research program. Working together on a grand challenge, that of creating a national library, provides a structure that encourages engagement among the participants that is far more substantive than the interactions arising in programs built only around a competitive funding model. These interactions have strongly benefited me as a developer. But this is not the only way to perceive the NSDL. At the NSDL kickoff meeting, an attendee who had spent time in the software industry commented “this is an Internet startup company without a CEO or CIO”. This comment highlights the nature of the NSDL as a coalition of projects. The benefits of the NSDL arise primarily from the value added to those projects, and for me, the added benefit has stemmed primarily from interactions with the NSDL community.

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January 12, 2009 at 3:04 pm Leave a comment

An NSDL Retrospective: The Case of the Instructional Architect by Mimi Recker

Download PDF: An NSDL Retrospective: The Case of the Instructional Architect

Introduction

This retrospective essay covers the period from 2001-2008, during which the research group at Utah State University (USU) focused on designing, developing, and evaluating a National Science Digital Library (NSDL.org) web-based service, called the Instructional Architect (IA.usu.edu). Later in this period, the focus was on disseminating the IA service in school contexts by developing and implementing formal and informal teacher professional development opportunities. These efforts have been funded by a series of National Science Foundations grants.

This essay is presented as three sections. In the first section, we describe our efforts to build a simple software system, the Instructional Architect, deploy it with users, and integrate it with the NSDL core technical infrastructure. In the second section, we describe our efforts to better understand the target context of educators, and to develop sustainable and scalable teacher professional development models. The final section reflects on how the IA fit within the NSDL program. Each section also includes a subsection describing evaluation strategies.

This essay also reflects shifts in our thinking over this period. Early efforts reflected a kind of technological determinism (i.e., ‘if we build it, they will come’). This eventually shifted to a more socio-technical approach. An unspoken assumption of early work was that teachers and their students would access and use such technologies in unproblematic and seamless ways. Unfortunately, the history of educational technology suggests that this is seldom the case (Cuban, 2001). Instead, after spending time with ‘real’ people (teachers and their students) in ‘real’ contexts (classrooms), it became clear that we needed to better understand the complex ways in which systems cross institutional boundaries (Agre, 2003).

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December 11, 2008 at 12:28 pm 5 comments

“NSDL-Style” Networks: Connecting Across Audiences & Disciplines by Laura Bartolo

Download PDF: “NSDL-Style” Networks: Connecting Across Audiences & Disciplines

Introduction

I begin my personal reflection about NSDL with an analogy that I don’t mean to strain too much but it seems to me that Chicago-style pizza and “NSDL-style” networks share some key characteristics. Both are faithful to core elements of two staples which play a part of modern life in many areas of the world. However, like Chicago’s adaptation of pizza, NSDL-Style networking gains recognition in its own right because of its new and unique contributions to a standard fare in 21st century society (i.e., bringing together different “ingredients” to assemble a new style of networks). While multi-institutional, multidisciplinary networks are recognized as necessary components as we move into cyber-enabled STEM research and learning, NSDL introduced me to a new “flavor” (ok, I promise — I’ll cease…).

My views about “NSDL-style networks” are based upon my experiences and observations from participation in the Evaluation Committee and as a Pathway. In both arenas I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with people from a very wide range of expertise that I likely wouldn’t have met, had it not been for my involvement in the NSDL.

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December 9, 2008 at 2:19 pm 3 comments

Collaboration, Alignment and Leadership by David Fulker

Download PDF: Collaboration, Alignment and Leadership

Introduction

This essay compares and contrasts—from my personal perspective—four projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that have depended critically upon medium- to large-scale collaboration. This characteristic distinguishes them from most NSF-funded projects, as typified by the Program Officer for one of the four: “The NSDL program is an unusual program for NSF in that its projects are engaged in building an enterprise much larger than the object of any one grant. Indeed, the success of the program rests squarely on the extent to which the many projects can embrace this collective sense of identity and mission.” [Zia 2001] Though similarly reliant on collaboration, the four projects had significantly different outcomes, and the purpose of comparison is to consider why, with particular emphasis on matters of leadership.

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September 25, 2008 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Implementation and Innovation in the NSDL by William Arms

Download PDF: Implementation and Innovation in the NSDL by William Arms

Alternative views of the NSDL

This essay is a personal reflection on how early decisions shaped the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and how the program has evolved over the past decade. It draws heavily on observations from the planning studies in 1997 and 1998, and my experience as principal investigator of the Cornell University’s part of the Core Integration team until 2005. The thoughts expressed here are purely my own.

The underlying theme of this essay is that the NSDL program has two missions: implementation and innovation. Confusion between these two missions goes back to the beginning of the program. The original concept was to implement a digital library for science education. But the NSF’s principal goal is to support research and the NSDL program also gives grants for innovation in digital libraries and science education.

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September 18, 2008 at 2:07 pm 2 comments


Welcome to NSDL Reflections!

We are collecting the "reflections" on the collaborative development of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL). This site is a place for NSDL participants to “tell the story” of how they think NSDL was formed, grew and is continuing to grow. And for the community to discuss and learn from these reflections.

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