The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 21

May 27, 2011

A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sponsored by University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries.

Research and Education

General Interest

Network Tools

In The News

Research and Education

Teaching With Documents: Lesson Plans

How does one get students excited about the Great Depression? It can be done, and the National Archives' "Teaching With Documents" site offers a cornucopia of lesson plans on this and other periods of American history. Each lesson plan contains reproducible copies of primary documents from the National Archives holdings, and the plans are correlated to the National History Standards and National Standards for Civics and Government. The materials are organized chronologically along the left-hand side of the page, and visitors can also look at thematic sections that include "The Emergence of Modern America" and "Contemporary United States." Teachers will want to look at the analysis worksheets on the right-hand side of the page that help students become familiar with understanding different source materials, such as maps, posters, and cartoons. [KMG]

Genes, Health and Society

The BioEd Online initiative at the Baylor College of Medicine has distinguished itself over the past few years by offering up lesson plans, slide sets, presentations, and other classroom materials for biology teachers and the generally curious. One of the recent additions to the site is "Genes, Health and Society," an online course designed for undergraduate students, classroom educators, and other life-long learners. The course is divided into three sections: "Transmission Genetics," "The Nature of Genetic Material," and "Medical Genetics." Each section offers a variety of active learning experiences, including self-assessment questions and problems. Visitors are welcome to take one or two of the sections, and all they need to do is complete a free registration for access to all materials. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Teaching the Ocean System: Resources for Educators

As the introduction to this website notes, the "science of oceanography may be as vast as the oceans themselves." There is no better time to learn about the world's ocean, and this site offered as part of Carleton College's On the Cutting Edge program will be useful for teachers and students. The site brings together data sets, tools, lesson plans, and interactive visualizations to address a number of topics within this broad field of scientific inquiry. On the left-hand side of this page, visitors will find six pertinent sections, including "Teaching Materials" and "Internet Resources." The "Teaching Materials" area includes resources such as a classroom activity designed to help students learn about how climate change impacts tropical cyclone formation and coral bleaching. For those who are perhaps more visually inclined, the "Visualizations" area features helpful animations and illustrations of processes such as coastal wave mechanics and El Nino. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Nanotechnology Center for Teaching and Learning

Based at Northwestern University, the Nanotechnology Center for Learning and Teaching (NCLT) was developed in order to help students, teachers, and researchers who are engaged in the learning and teaching of nanotechnology. On the site's homepage, visitors can learn about "Nano Events" on the right-hand side, sign up to become a site member, and also look through a list of teaching modules. Educators will want to scroll down to the "Featured NanoEd Resources," which include "Introduction the Nanoscale" and "Nano 101." The "Higher Education" section also includes information on college level workshops for educators and materials on graduate level degree programs in nanotechnology. Finally, the site contains information on upcoming nanotechnology internships and an "Ask a Scientist" link that leads to a number of institutions where individuals can proffer a question or two. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at


GirlGeeks is an organization that encourages women to pursue and develop careers in technology. The organization started in 1998 as a documentary film about women's impact on computing throughout history. The GirlGeeks website states that "technology for communication and community-building are more important than ever...[and] we want to ensure that women and other often-overlooked groups have the freedom, motivation and resources to participate in this new world." Visitors will find that the website is divided up into the categories: "Inner Geek," "Education," "Technology," "Career," and "Business." The "Inner Geek" area has a section called "Inspiring Women" that features women in various technology industries. Visitors can also read about very young women, as young as age 12, who have already had success in these fields. The "Technology" category provides articles about updating one's knowledge and increasing one's skill-set in topical areas like shareware and open source materials, to name just a few. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

STEM Education Coalition

The Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition is an educational lobbying group that promotes "policies to improve STEM education at all levels." A coalition consisting of 500 organizations, it aims to educate policymakers about the importance of STEM education in keeping the U.S. competitive in the global marketplace. Visitors can find testimony and letters from the Coalition to various lawmakers in the "Positions and Activities" tab, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and President Obama himself. The "STEM Resources" tab has multiple links to fact sheets, report cards, and various reports that indicate the state of STEM education in the U.S. Visitors will also find an extensive number of panel discussions, commissions, and reports, beginning with a report from September 1996 on teaching and America's future to a more recent report titled "Tapping America's Potential: Gaining Momentum, Losing Ground." [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Farm Radio International

Farm Radio International (FRI) is a Canada-based organization and utilizes radio in its work fighting poverty and food insecurity in thirty-nine African countries. Founded in 1979, FRI disseminates information to millions of farmers about sustainable agriculture, nutrition, health, and community development. Visitors can read about the five programs that FRI runs by clicking on the "Our Work" link near the top of the page. The "Scripts and Voices" program provides broadcasters with scripts for dramas that are translated into hundreds of languages and can be adjusted to fit the local community of the radio station. These scripts are also available to visitors to the site. "Voices" is a newsletter that is read on the air, providing farmers with information that relates to the each theme presented in the Scripts area and broadcaster training articles. The "Multimedia" link provides visitors with several video clips of people associated with FRI and audio clips of actual segments of radio broadcasts from Ghana, Zambia, and Malawi. [KMG]


The TeachEngineering website is a resource for teachers who seek to make engineering concepts come to life for students in grades K-12. It is also worth nothing that some of the resources are appropriate for college-level students. Funded with money from the National Science Foundation, a team of university researchers worked to create a searchable web-based digital library of free and accessible curriculum resources. The rationale behind teaching engineering to K-12 students is helpfully explained to visitors in the "K-12 Engineering" tab near the top of the page. To search or browse the database, visitors can use such criteria as "Lessons," "Subject Areas," or "Educational Standards." Other ways visitors can view the curriculum include the highlighted "Editor's Picks," "Most Popular," and "Recently Added" sections. The student activity "Amusement Park Ride: Ups and Downs of Design" is the May 2011 Editor's Pick. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

General Interest

NewsOnline: Digital Library and Archives, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Back in 1991, the Digital Library and Archives (DLA) at Virginia Tech began to provide online access to local, regional, and international newspapers. It was an early digital library project, and it continues to provide access to a range of periodicals and transcripts of television news reports for local television stations in and around southwestern Virginia. On the site, visitors will find sections titled "Virginia Tech News," "Virginia News," and "International News." Visitors can make their way through publications such as the Virginia Tech Spectrum, the Roanoke Times, and international newspapers like Le Monde. The dates available differ for each publication, and visitors can use these materials for local history projects or studies in the transformation of various print and online media. [KMG]

United Cerebral Palsy

Started in 1949 by parents of children with cerebral palsy, United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) has advocated and provided support services for not only people with cerebral palsy, but also a wide range of disabilities, including Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and traumatic brain injury. The UCP website provides visitors with a range of resources which they have acquired from their 60 years of dealing with disability issues. The "Resources" tab near the top of the page offers visitors a "One-Stop Resource Guide" as well as a dozen topics, such as "Education," "Assistive Technology," "Disability Etiquette," and "State Resource Guides" that are covered in more depth. The "Ask Lara" blog link at the bottom of the Resources page is a great way to keep up with current news, studies, conferences, and resources that affect people with disabilities. One of the blog entries is about Bookshare, which is a free online library of digital books for those with print disabilities and visitors won't want to miss it. [KMG]

Southern Changes Digital Archive

From 1978 to 2003, the Atlanta-based Southern Regional Council published "Southern Changes," a journal featuring social research, cultural analysis, reportage, interviews, and commentary. Recently, the Southern Regional Council teamed up with the Beck Center for Electronic Collections at Emory University to digitize the complete run of the journal. The journal covered topics such as desegregation, racial equality, housing issues, and a myriad of other issues. Visitors can browse the collection by issue date or keyword search the entire archive. First-time visitors may wish to start by looking over the issues from 1999, as there is interesting coverage of the national health care movement, the upcoming Census, and public schools. [KMG]

Francis Alys: A Story of Deception

Born in Belgium, artist and architect Francis Alys is known for works that explore simple, ephemeral actions to rather ambitious projects, like when he invited 500 volunteers to collectively move a mountain in Peru. This online exhibit of his work is designed to complement an in situ exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS 1. Many of the works in the exhibit are drawn from the mid-1990s to the present day, and visitors can view a selection by using the drop-down menus here. The two main areas include still images of some conceptual art pieces, and while they are offered without any specific context, visitors will be able to get a sense of each piece's vision upon close examination of the works. Several of the pieces include video clips, such as "The Modern Procession," which is worth a look. [KMG]

March to the Moon

Working together with NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, the Arizona State University's School of Earth & Space Exploration has created this marvelous digital collection of photographs and information from Project Mercury. This was the first human spaceflight program of the United States, and it ran from 1959 to 1963. The goal of the program was to put a human in orbit around the Earth, which happened first on February 20, 1962 as John Glenn orbited the planet three times. Visitors can click on a photo of astronaut Scott Carpenter to reveal a list of the Mercury missions. Each mission has a selection of photographs that visitors can look over, and they will also want to click on the "Movies" area. These films were taken by portable cameras on the early Mercury test flights, and visitors will be amazed at the views offered by these documents. [KMG]

Teaching Resources: Biotechnology Institute

The Biotechnology Institute has created these teaching resources to help educators with the task of delivering high-quality material about biotechnology. The materials here are divided into nine sections, including "Biotechnology Facts," "Lesson Plans," and "Biotechnology Timeline." The glossary is a good place to start, as it offers a range of short, well-written definitions about key terms in the field. The "Videos" area offers brief explanations of concepts such as mitosis and recombinant DNA, along with profiles of biotechnology scientists and their work. Moving on, the "Books, Magazines, and Other Resources" area includes links to sites with additional lesson plans, curriculum guides, and online periodicals of note. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Illinois State Geological Survey: Teacher Resources for Geology

The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) has worked hard to create this vast array of materials designed for teachers working in geology and the earth sciences. The site is divided into two primary areas: "ISGS Teacher Resources" and "Other Teacher Resources." The "Ask An Expert" section is a good place to start, and it contains an A to Z archive of questions (and answers) that have been posed so far. Visitors are welcome to explore topics here like isotope geochemistry, limestone petrography, and also "Gold in Illinois." Also, this area contains links to teaching geology, which are quite useful. The "Other Teacher Resources" area brings together links to germane sites, such as the Denver Earth Science Project, NASA's meteorology home page, and online guides to landforms from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Network Tools

Express Planner

Those persons with a yen for project management will want to take a look at Planning Force's Express Planner. The program is designed for those doing work in project management and business, and it gives users the ability to apply calendars to projects and tasks, prioritize items, and create reports. The site includes several tutorials, and it is compatible with computers running Linux and Windows 2000 and newer. [KMG]

2Plan Desktop

2Plan Desktop is offered as an alternative to Microsoft Project for those parties who might be interested in finding a free program for desktop scheduling. The program features a fine user interface that allows individuals to manipulate their screen layout, create project scheduling, and monitor a project budget. The website for 2Plan includes a manual and several training videos. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer, along with Linux. [KMG]

In The News

In an announcement this week, the Indian Prime Minister pledges $5 billion in support to Africa

Counter the Dragon: With $5 billion pledge, India takes big step into Africa

India prime minister pledges billions to Africa

Africa CanEnd Poverty

United States African Development Foundation

Africa Region: Working Paper Series

In recent years, China has increased its investment in Africa by billions of dollars as they work with governments there to build new power plants, factories, and other pieces of key infrastructure. This week, another world power announced that they would be entering this competitive market. On Tuesday, Indian Prime Minster Manmohan Singh pledged $5 billion towards new projects in Africa, including tele-medicine for a virtual university and information technology investments. The announcement was made at the Africa-India Forum Summit in Addis Ababa, where Singh remarked, "The India-Africa partnership is unique and owes its origins to history and our common struggle against colonialism, apartheid, poverty, disease, illiteracy and hunger." India is hoping to catch up with China's tremendous economic relationship with Africa, which totaled approximately $126.9 billion in 2010. Along with this announcement, Prime Minister Singh also remarked that India would sponsor five new institutes in Africa and invite all African airlines to fly to several different Indian cities over the next couple of years. [KMG]

The first link leads to helpful article about the specifics of this development, courtesy of the Times of India. The second link whisks users away to a news update from the BBC website about this pledge of $5 billion. The third link leads to a blog from Shanta Devarajan, the World Bank Chief Economist for Africa, about the challenges (and successes) of ending poverty in Africa. The fourth link takes users to the homepage of the US African Development Foundation, which works on a range of important projects on the African continent. Finally, the last link leads to the World Bank's Africa Region Working Paper Series, which covers applied research and policy studies on cotton production, technological innovation, and other important developments. [KMG]

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