The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, & Technology -- Volume 3, Number 6

March 12, 2004

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison




Topic In Depth


Technopolis: Evaluation of Swedish Energy Programme [pdf]

This report from Technopolis takes an interesting approach, combining research on science and technology with policy evaluation. The study investigates and evaluates the Swedish long range energy research, which was initiated in 1997 and focused on hydropower, nuclear power and oil. Through interviews and case studies, the researchers highlight the social and economic complexities of the Swedish energy program. Technopolis is a group of European organisations based in Amsterdam, Brighton, Paris, Stockholm, and Vienna that provide "high quality, practical, knowledge-based research, advice and management support services to policy makers and those responsible for putting policy into practice." [VF]

Georgia Institute of Technology: Technology Policy and Assessment Center [pdf]

Technology Policy and Assessment Center (TPAC) at Georgia Institute of Technology performs "interdisciplinary research and analysis on technology-intensive issues." Sample projects include the High Tech Indicators Survey, which is used to generate indicators of national technological competitiveness, and a study that identified eight factors affecting managerial use of technology. The findings of this latter study were used to develop an interactive evaluative instrument, available on this website, which analysts and managers can use to assess the utilization prospects of their product. The TPAC website also profiles Hot Technologies, including overviews of who is doing the research, how much research is taking place and the prospects for technologies within the topic area. [VF]

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) [pdf]

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funds research and training in the UK in engineering and the physical sciences. Viewing public engagement as important for stimulating interest in research, inspiring future generations of researchers and, "helping the research base evolve in tune with the changing needs of a more informed society," the EPSRC also promotes public awareness of science and engineering, providing a good deal of resources and links online. Research reports and briefs from some of the collaborating institutions' work on a wide range of research projects in engineering, the physical sciences and mathematics are all available in the Publications section. Other sections describe activities for young people and teachers, and research opportunities for graduate students. [VF]

The Digital Human [MS Word]

The Digital Human is an Open Source Software Consortium that uses information technology tools to simulate and represent the body's processes, such as the functions of DNA molecules and proteins to cells, tissues, organs, and gross anatomy. In an effort to develop a community where researchers can share their work, the website provides links to various research centers and their work on simulations, visualizations and engineering models. Another aspect of the consortium is "to allow biomedical researchers and computer scientists to work effectively together to develop a language that will allow this to happen." Proceedings from conferences addressing these issues are available from this website. [VF]

Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Housing Technology: Afghan Housing

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) hosts this website providing information on housing technology both locally and internationally. They highlight new materials and design methods that may "result in attractive, safe and highly efficient homes that can be built affordably in Afghanistan and around the world, including the U.S." The website highlights housing technologies in Afghanistan and nearby regions, and provides information on the designs developed by members of the Federation of American Scientist's Housing Technology group. [VF]

RAND: The Science and Technology Policy Institute Historical Overview [pdf, MS Word]

On this website, the Science and Technology Policy Institute at the RAND Corporation provides an historical overview of their work from 1992 to 2003. Included here are overviews of projects, events and links to publications in research areas including Science and Technology, Health and the Environment, Space and Transportation, Public Safety, Security, as well as Critical Infrastructure Protection, Education, and Training. Short biographies of past directors and associates are also available in this archive. A search function allows visitors to search for particular RAND studies or topics of interest. [VF]

Foresight [pdf]

Foresight is a UK government supported program aimed "to increase UK exploitation of science." The Foresight program highlights either a key issue where science holds promise, or an area "where the potential applications and technologies have yet to be considered and/or articulated more broadly." The current projects are: Brain Science, Addiction and Drugs, Cyber Trust and Crime Prevention, Exploiting the Electromagnetic Spectrum, and Flood and Coastal Defence. Each project website includes sections offering a project description, reports and publications, news and events, and links to related websites. [VF]

Journal of Environmental Monitoring [pdf]

The Journal of Environmental Monitoring offers several articles free online in HTML and pdf formats. The articles include "primary research papers on all aspects of contaminant measurement relating to the ambient, indoor and workplace environments with a view to assessing exposure, environmental impact and health risks" and theoretical, fundamental and applied papers on a variety of topics in environmental monitoring. Visitors can sign up for email alerts on particular topics and search for articles of interest.


Excellence in Science, Technology, and Mathematics Education Week 2004
National Science Digital Library: AskNSDL

March 15 - 20 is Excellence in Science, Technology, and Mathematics Education (ESTME) Week --promoted by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education. This website includes links to websites, activities and webcasts being produced by agencies, schools, and nonprofits across the U.S. for this week. Some highlights include a Science Project Exhibition in Washington, D.C. and a Middle School Excellence in Mathematics Contest in St. Louis, MO. A webform allows others to submit information about their upcoming events. The Web Gallery highlights award-winning science websites that serve as useful resources on a variety of topics, including Numbers, Living Things, Earth and Environment, and Machines and Inventions. The Ask a Scientist section links to the National Science Digital Library and AskNSDL. At AskNSDL, scientists and engineers answer your questions on a variety of topics (free registration required) via email. Visitors can also browse previously answered questions or search the digital library database. Topics include Education (General), Health, Mathematics, Science, Social Sciences, and Technology. [VF]

Digital Promise Project: Proposal for the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust (DO IT) [pdf]

The Digital Promise Project, led by leaders in fields of communications and humanities (whose extensive backgrounds are described in the Principals section), has spearheaded a proposal to the U.S. Congress to create the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust (DO IT). Addressing the technology needs of learning in the 21st century, the charge of this nonprofit, nongovernmental agency would be "to unlock the potential of the Internet and other new information technologies for education in the broadest sense; to stimulate public and private sector research into the development and use of new learning techniques, and to encourage public and private sector partnerships and alliances in education, science, the humanities, the arts, civic affairs and government." An executive summary and full report of their testimony to Congress is available online. Visitors will also find quotes from other powerful leaders responding to the proposal and background information on the Project. The News section provides updates on the Project and a few essays on technology and K-12 education. [VF]

The Christian Science Monitor: Kidspace [pdf]

Kidspace is a feature in The Christian Science Monitor that is for children aged 6 to 12 wanting to do research for a school report or just explore a topic. The online collection of 50 or so articles from 2002 and 2003 are organized by subject. The section on Technology, Industry, and Invention includes articles on wireless technology, energy use, and hybrid cars, among other topics. More articles from previous issues will be added in the future. [VF]

Peabody College of Education: Department of Teaching & Learning

This website for the Peabody College of Education: Department of Teaching and Learning
at Vanderbilt University describes current projects in mathematics education research. Findings and innovations developed from several projects are available from this website. Current and completed projects include: Investigating Multimedia Case Studies as a Tool for Pre-service Teacher Development, Multiplicative Reasoning as a Foundation for Stochastic Reasoning, The National Research and Development Center for Improving Student Learning and Achievement in Mathematics and Science, Uses of Technology in Standards-based Teacher Education, Developing and Sustaining Technology-Intensive Classrooms Where Mathematics is Learned with Understanding, Computer Mini-Tools for Exploratory Data Analysis, Issues in Diversity and Equity: A Synthesis of Literature Relevant to Mathematics Classrooms which Emphasize Understanding, Mathematizing, Symbolizing, and Communicating, Hypermedia Materials for Elementary Mathematics Teacher Education, and Using Technology to Enhance Middle School Mathematics Teachers' Learning and Instruction. [VF]

The STEM Project: Students' and Teachers' Educational Materials

From 1997 to 2003, the British Science Museum held an Internet competition sponsored by TOSHIBA. Known as The STEM Project (Students' and Teachers' Educational Materials), the contest encouraged museum visitors to create websites based on a particular gallery, exhibit or online exhibition at either the Science Museum (London), the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television (Bradford) or the National Railway Museum (York). The result is this "database of web resources created by students and teachers for students and teachers, offering them activity sheets, gallery guides, visit descriptions, online tutorials and more to complement their museum experience." Visitors to the website can now search by age range or topic and download resources at not cost. Among the topics covered in this database of over 1000 entries are: physics, flight, digital imaging, and energy. Current exhibits at participating museums are also highlighted. [VF]

ABC Learn Online: Count Us In [Flash 5]

ABC Learn Online hosts this website with many interactive games designed to help children learn basic number concepts. Basic concepts addressed include: counting, sorting, addition, subtraction, and identifying patterns. PC and Mac versions of games are also available for free to download. A section on Other Activities describes some activities that teachers can try in their classrooms. [VF]

The Learning Federation [pdf]

By "pooling the talent, expertise, and enthusiasm" of stakeholders in various companies, universities, government agencies and private foundations, the Learning Federation aims to identify "pre-competitive research and development for next-generation technologies" that will improve teaching and learning enabled by information technology. Primary support currently comes from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). The website provides background on the Need, the R&D Roadmap, and the Visions, as well as links to What You Can Do, and Discussion Boards. The collection of reports, essays, and innovations provide visitors with a good idea of the current status and future possibilities for education and technology. [VF]

University of Massachusetts Amherst: STEMTEC

STEMTEC, the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Teacher Education Collaborative includes colleges, universities, school districts, PALMS, and Media One and is funded by the National Science Foundation/Division of Undergraduate Education CETP Program. The major effort is a program that brings together discipline-based curriculum teams to develop new and revised college science and math courses for new and continuing teachers. The teams include college faculty, K12 teachers, and education professors. This website provides information on upcoming conferences, certification programs, and courses offered at participating instutions. Teacher resources include materials gathered from previous seminars, information on research opportunities for teachers, and a bulletin board with postings on teaching opportunities. [VF]


University of Wisconsin-Madison Oral History Project: Women in Science [RealOne Player]

The University of Wisconsin - Madison Oral History Project began as an effort to interview prominent emeritus faculty members about their research and careers at the University. The Project's scope has expanded now to include interviews with campus administrators, staff, and students as well as faculty. Several themes have been taken up over the years, such as the Teaching Assistants Strike of 1970 or the protests against the Vietnam War. The new series is on Women in Science and Engineering and includes both interviews conducted prior to 2003, as well as new interviews currently being conducted as part of the series. Although transcripts must be ordered and tapes available for listening by appointment, the website provides tape indexes, which are essentially interview summaries, and a few sample sound clips and transcripts. [VF]

Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences

The National Academy of Sciences now has it's own museum! The grand opening of Washington, D.C.'s new Marian Koshland Science Museum is scheduled for April 2004. At this museum, "visitors will discover the links between scientific research and everyday life through interactive exhibits, public events, and educational programs." Geared toward ages 13 and older, the museum exhibits will explore current scientific and (sometimes controversial) policy issues, as presented in reports by the National Academies. The museums inaugural exhibits include: Wonders of Science, Global Warming Facts & Our Future, and Putting DNA to Work. Exhibit summaries are available online. [VF]

Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101

Jan Smith developed this website (available in both English and Spanish) to provide lessons in computer basics for use at home or in the classroom. The Computer Basics section explains "a lot of the techno-babble that you hear about computers" so that you can "follow along as computer technology becomes more and more important in our world." Other lessons move on to Computer Types, Applications, Input, Processing, Output, Storage, Computer to Computer, System Software, and Programming. The lessons are short and easy to read online, providing some helpful graphic images and tips on purchasing a new computer, hardware or software. A glossary of key terms is also available. [VF]

National Academies Press Online Journal: Issues in Science and Technology

The National Academies Press publishes this journal on Issues in Science and Technology. Current issues are only on the newsstands, but past issues are available online. Aside from the typical articles and book reviews, the journal also offers a Forum section, which includes letters submitted from policymakers and researchers, From the Hill, which provides updates on Congressional hearings and other news, Perspectives, which highlights a current issue or trend, and Real Numbers, which provides statistics and information on a science and technology topic area, such as university-related research parks. [VF]

Lugnet: Global community of LEGO enthusiasts

"LUGNET unites LEGO fans worldwide through discussion groups, web pages, and services." It is "an independent site by fans, for fans" and not operated by the LEGO Company. Some highlights include an online crossword puzzle and a discussion forum that has apparently been called "the friendliest place on the Internet." Also available from this website are links to hundreds of other websites by LEGO fans, a gallery of LEGO creations, information on using LDraw to build your creations using the computer, a Minifig Generator to assist in designing characters, a LEGO survey, an opportunity to build your own web pages on LUGNET, reference materials, an events calendar, and information on LEGO products. [VF]

UN Commission on S&T for Development (UNCSTD): Gender, Science and Technology Gateway

The Gender, Science and Technology Gateway serves as a resource for researchers, policy makers, and NGOs to inform sustainable development which focuses on gender equality. The site is organized according to the "Seven Transformative Action Areas" identified by the Gender Working Group of the UN Commission on S&T for Development. These areas are: "Gender equity in science and technology education, removing obstacles to women in scientific and technological careers, making science responsive to the needs of society: the gender dimension, making the science and technology decision-making process more 'gender aware,' relating better with local knowledge systems, addressing ethical issues in science and technology: the gender dimension, and improving the collection of gender disaggregated data for policy makers." Links to organizations and online resources addressing these different action areas are sorted by region (Africa, Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean -- with North America and most of Europe not yet posted) or by action area. [VF]

National Academies of Sciences: Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) [pdf]

The Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) is charged with integrating "understanding of scientific, technological, and economic elements in the formulation of national policies." The website highlights recent projects, including Intellectual Property Rights in the Knowledge-Based Economy, Government-Industry Partnerships for the Development of New Technologies, Tracking Commercial Applications of Nanotechnology, Intellectual Property in Genomic and Protein Research and Innovation, and Measuring and Sustaining the New Economy. Monthly newsletters provide updates on projects and events, primarily in the form of a short description and link to project websites. [VF]

Technocapitalism [java]

Professor Luis Suarez-Villa of the Social Ecology and of Planning, Policy and Design at the University of California, Irvine has devoted this website to "the rise of technocapitalism." Technocapitalism is an "emerging era" defined as "an evolution of market capitalism that is rooted in technological invention and innovation." Issues regarding phenomena operating at the societal level as well as phenomena that operate largely at the level of organizations and individuals are discussed. He provides five reasons why this website is different from typical discussions of technology and capitalism, including the use of a format through which "discussions can be added, debated and documented with evidence," the use of empirical evidence, an openness to diverse ideological viewpoints, the attempt to provide a big picture on technocapitalism and the absence of any attempt to predict or forecast the future under technocapitalism. [VF]

Topic In Depth

Technology and a Global Economy

1. Issues in Science and Technology: Globalization Causes and Effects
2. Your Jobs Going to India
3. Cato Institute: Center for Trade Policy Studies
4. The World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization
5. Fairness in International Trade
6. Harvard University's Center for International Development: Global Trade Negotiations
7. Global Issues website
8. The Globalisation Guide

From U.S. Democratic Presidential candidates to America's unemployed, people are talking about the global economy and job loss for U.S. workers. Catch phrases like outsourcing, protectionism, free trade and fair trade circulate in conversations and media programs, but what does it all mean? This Topic in Depth reviews some websites that address these issues from different perspectives.

This article from Issues in Science and Technology provides an overview of some of the issues and impacts on technology research and scientific training. (1). A good deal of the websites on globalization follow a format similar to this website (2), providing articles, statistics on outsourcing, discussion groups, and generally opposing globalization. This website from the Cato Institute provides another perspective on outsourcing (3), noting that it's "not just a one way street." The World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization (4) takes the perspective that globalization is irreversible and seeks "innovative ways of combining economic, social and environmental objectives, based on worldwide expertise." In some circles, the debate is between "fair trade" and "free trade." This organization (5) provides a definition of fairness, asks others for their views on fairness, and offers some standards for fairness in terms of business practices. The Center for International Development at Harvard University offers this website as "an objective entry point to the many trade-related resources on the internet" (6). Another extensive overview of some of the issues is offered by this Global Issues website (7), which "attempts to highlight some of the misconceptions and unfairness in the current model for global trading, economics and the current form of overly corporate-led globalization." The Globalisation Guide (8) is designed as a resource for students, highlighting some of the key questions to ask as the debate continues. [VF]

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