Public-private partnership enhances digital tools for customized science education

BOULDER—The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), University of Colorado, and EdTrex today announced an exclusive option agreement allowing EdTrex to continue developing a software platform enabling on-demand creation of customizable curricula using curated open education resources. The software platform, named E-Hub, is the result of four years of research headed by Tamara Sumner, co-director of Digital Learning Sciences, a joint research and development center of the University of Colorado Boulder and UCAR. The center, incorporating input from Colorado and out-of-state school district teachers and administrators, developed a teacher-centric, cloud-based system allowing educators to create customized curricula using curated resources from open education databases and publisher-provided materials. E-Hub is especially focused on content and curricula for STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math). The research was funded by the National Science Foundation. “We’re especially excited about the transfer of this technology into classroom settings,” said Mary Marlino, director of Digital Learning Services at UCAR. “This is a very satisfying culmination of a dozen years of working very closely with the CU team in developing services to support open education resources in the classroom.” In the six school districts where the E-Hub platform has been deployed so far, involving nearly 100 schools and 400 teachers, 90% of teachers said they would recommend the platform to other educators. In one study, student outcomes improved up to 35% based on standard test scores. “For the first time, teachers can respond immediately and effectively to adaptions of instructional content that best suit the individual needs of each of their students,” said EdTrex CEO John Stearns. “We know all students learn differently. Now teachers can address those differences on the spot and achieve extraordinary learning outcomes.” “Empowering teachers to customize curricula is particularly critical for today’s diverse learners,” added Sumner, an associate professor of cognitive science and computer science. “A study conducted by researchers from Utah State University found that students of teachers who took advantage of the rich features in the E-Hub platform showed significantly higher learning gains. In addition, these teachers’ use of E-Hub tended to benefit student populations that had a larger portion of low socio-economic status students.” Beyond curriculum design, EdTrex plans to develop the software platform to support next-generation classroom and instructional management requirements.

SEA Code Retreat July 26, 2013

The UCAR Software Engineering Assembly is hosting a code retreat at the Mesa Lab on Friday, July 26th from 1pm - 5pm. For more details about the event and to register, please see the event page at http://sea.ucar.edu/event/code-retreat-summer-2013.

Digital Library for Geosciences Moves to NCAR

BOULDER-The nation's most extensive collection of digital learning resources for geoscience education is now based at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The move ensures that the Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE), developed with funding from the Geosciences Directorate of the National Science Foundation (NSF), will continue to serve hundreds of thousands of K-12 educators and learners around the country. Karon Kelly. [ENLARGE] (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin.) News media terms of use* DLESE had previously been funded through a five-year grant from NSF. During that grant period (2002-2007), the DLESE archive and program center were located at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which also operates NCAR, a federally funded research and development center. The move to NCAR will enable DLESE and its users to benefit from NCAR's extensive cyberinfrastructure and expertise in information management. NCAR library staff will maintain the DLESE collection. Digital libraries nationwide are exploring ways to maintain continuity in a time of rapid technological change and uncertainties in funding. "NSF asked that we find some way to preserve open access to the collection," says Karon Kelly, the UCAR director of Digital Learning Sciences, a collaborative program with the University of Colorado at Boulder that supports DLESE and other digital learning resources. In determining where to move its collection, DLESE called on a group of experts in information science, geoscience education, and business as well as members of DLESE's former steering committee and advisory board. They examined potential models of sponsorship and membership and looked carefully at which parts of the DLESE collection should be sustained in the absence of dedicated funding. "Providing a long-term home for this important resource supports NCAR's educational mission and fits with the NCAR library's plans to provide increased digital services to the broader scientific and educational community," says Mary Marlino, director of e- Science and the library at NCAR. "DLESE was an early pioneer in NSF's efforts to establish digital science libraries," says Jill Karsten, program director for diversity and education in the NSF Geosciences Directorate. "Once again, DLESE is helping to lead the way for the science education community by identifying new strategies for sustaining library operations and keeping these important educational resources available for a global community of educators and students."
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