CoMPASS-DL: Integrating Digital Text in Design-Based Science Classes

Funded by National Science and technology Digital Library (NSDL) / Interagency Education Research Initiative $435,000.
• Co-Pl : Hübscher, R., Bentley College


The National Science Education Standards recommend that middle and high school students be able to access scientific information from resources and evaluate and interpret the information, as part of scientific inquiry. Digital libraries such as the National Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Digital Library(NSDL) can therefore be an integral part of scientific inquiry in K-12 settings. Digital libraries supported by NSDL and designed for K-12 students provide students with numerous valuable resources with a range of information. However, research shows that students have difficulties searching resources, finding keywords, and making sense of long lists of search results. The search and query options in most digital collections result in lists of documents that students have to go through, and it is not easy for students to impose structure on online resources, which limits their meaningful use in science classes.

This project addresses the need to provide students with better mechanisms within NSDL supported resources to find information related to their goals. The aim of the proposed project is to use conceptual linking in the form of concept maps to enable students to explore questions and follow their own unique paths, based on their goals. To achieve this aim, the CoMPASS-DL system will be developed with a concept map interface to help students navigate and learn using digital resources. Further, the system will be used in middle schools in Wisconsin to understand the impact of digital libraries in service of classroom learning. The goals of this NSDC targeted research projects are (1) provide an interface with navigable concept maps that helps students to select resources based on the relatedness of the documents to each other as well as to students’ goals; and (2) through empirical work in the classrooms, enable the NSDL community designing resources for K-12 students to understand better how digital resources can be integrated in inquiry-based science classes.


Current Projects