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Digital Libraries To Aid Teachers Affected by Hurricane Katrina

November 17, 2005

BOULDER—Two of the nation's leading digital science libraries will offer free online workshops on December 6 and 8 to teachers in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina at a time when textbooks and other traditional materials are in short supply. The libraries are managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) with funding from the National Science Foundation.

The National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and the Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) Program Center will hold the online workshops for science and math teachers of kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. The goal is to familiarize the teachers with online educational materials that are freely available through the libraries and can help compensate for a scarcity of other materials.

"After an event like Hurricane Katrina—with textbooks, lab materials, and even entire schools destroyed—online resources are critical for ensuring that students continue to get a top-quality education," explains Russanne Low, director of strategic partnerships at the DLESE Program Center at UCAR.

The workshops will provide practical ideas for finding and using digital library resources. Instructors will emphasize strategies that can be easily implemented in Louisiana and Mississippi classrooms affected by the storm. They will also address methods for distance learning courses being offered to displaced students. Interactive sessions will include insights from teachers already using NSDL and DLESE resources who will share advice and answer questions.

Despite the storm damage, most of the schools that have been able to open have access to online resources, according to Louisiana educators working with the libraries.

Teachers may register by going to the DLESE home page and clicking on the link to Free professional development for teachers impacted by Katrina.

Katrina Damage

Hurricane Katrina devastated schools along much of the Gulf Coast. This photo shows what remains of the middle school in Pass Christian, Mississippi. (Photo by FEMA/Mark Wolfe.)

Coming in January: Nationwide Workshops

Building on the workshops for teachers in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, NSDL in January will begin launching free monthly workshops for teachers across the nation. Each workshop will focus on a different theme, such as helping primary and secondary school teachers and university professors use digital libraries for information about particular subject areas.

"Our goal is to assist teachers who want to find, as efficiently as possible, exemplary online teaching materials that will engage their students," says Susan Van Gundy, director of education and outreach at NSDL.

NSDL is the nation's free online library for education and research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. DLESE is the geoscience node within NSDL. The libraries provide free online access to educational resources from public and private institutions, including universities, museums, commercial publishers, government agencies, and professional societies. They support teaching and learning for all levels, from preschoolers through adults, with materials ranging from journal articles and lesson plans to interactive animations, real-time data sets, and ask-an-expert services.


Related sites on the World Wide Web 

DLESE Program Center

The National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR Office of Programs are operated by UCAR under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation and other agencies. Opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any of UCAR's sponsors.

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