Digital Math: Developing Standards for ContentA Collaboration among the School District of Gadsden County, Thinkronize, the Florida Center for Instructional Technology, and the Center for Research in Educational Policy
The purpose of this project is to lay the groundwork for a statewide digital K-12 asset warehouse for all subject areas. Such a warehouse will eventually provide digital assets to all of Florida's teachers and students in all subject areas and all grade levels. Given the pressing need in the areas of math and science in Gadsden County, we are focusing on these two subject areas for this demonstration project. This effort is coordinated with existing and planned DOE initiatives to achieve maximum statewide impact. Specifically, the project addresses the four priorities as follows:
- Mathematics taxonomy. Gadsden School District will enter into a sub-agreement with Thinkronize, Inc. to license the use of a metadata tagging tool and a digital warehouse tool. The digital warehouse tool will include both a mathematics and a science taxonomy for digital content. This tool will allow students and teachers to search for science and math content provided by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology (FCIT). As a part of the sub-agreement, Thinkronize will also provide access to their metadata tagging tool (LibraryDE). FCIT will use LibraryDE to add the Thinkronize metadata to no fewer than 40,000 of their existing and new digital assets for inclusion in the digital warehouse tool. Thinkronize will provide access to both the digital warehouse tool and LibraryDE through June 30, 2008, i.e. one year past the end of the grant period for sustainability. Thinkronize, Inc. will retain ownership of both the metadata tagging tool and the digital warehouse tool. The digital warehouse tool will be available without charge to all Florida students and teachers.
- Professional development. A minimum of 50 professional development videos will be produced and distributed as podcasts. At least 35 podcasts will relate to best practices in mathematics instruction and at least 15 will relate to best practices in science instruction. These will feature both STEM and education faculty from the University of South Florida (USF). The videos will be available online for download to any type of computer and on an iTunes server located at the USF for seamless integration with teacher iPod Mp3 players.
- Content area reading. A minimum of 250 reading passages in the content areas of mathematics and science will be added to the existing Lit2Go website. Each passage will include an Mp3 file for download from the website to any computer or Mp3 player. Users of iPods will be able to directly download audio files from an iTunes server located at USF. The passages will also be available as text on a webpage and in Portable Document Format (PDF) for ease of printing and transfer. A reading strategy for each passage will also be included in PDF on the Lit2Go website.
- Research pilot. A scientifically-based research pilot will be conducted in Gadsden County School District on the use of laptop computers and Mp3 audio players in mathematics education. One middle school and one high school will serve as treatment sites; and one middle school and one high school will serve as control sites. Math and Science classrooms in the treatment schools will be outfitted with interactive whiteboards and projectors and each of the treatment schools will receive a cart of student laptop computers and a set of student Mp3 players.
For further information read the RFP and the proposal.
- Equipment purchases—COMPLETED
All equipment has been purchased and installed at both James A. Shanks Middle School and East Gadsden High School. Also, training on the use and integration of the equipment is ongoing. Teachers from both schools participated in a summer technology conference for four days. We had between 90–100% teacher participation on each day of the conference. Additionally, teachers have been scheduled to participate in monthly technology integration trainings, to include the web content being constructed through FCIT as it becomes available.
- 250 new math and science passages posted to the FCIT Lit2Go website—COMPLETED
A total of 295 new math and science passages have been posted to Lit2Go. For the convenience of students and teachers, all Lit2Go passages are available both at the Lit2Go website and on the iTunes server for immediate download into iTunes. Hotlists of the 257 math passages and of the 38 science passages have been posted.
For the month of August, 2007, the Lit2Go website received 523,498 hits for a total of 2,972,482 hits from January 1 to August 31, 2007.
On August 2, 2007, iTunes U began publishing a list of the "top ten downloads" from all of the participating iTunes universities. FCIT-produced content has appeared on the top ten list each day for the the months of August and September. The chart below shows the number of top ten positions occupied by FCIT content for the month of August. The gold color indicates a number one position for the day.
The number of hits to the Lit2Go website increased 65% from 317,547 in January to 523,498 in August of 2007.
- 40,000 digital elements tagged by FCIT using LibraryDE—COMPLETED
Tagging of clipart, Mp3s, maps, photos, vrs, and digital other assets has been completed.
- 1000 new math-related clipart illustrations posted to the Clipart ETC website—COMPLETED
FCIT has added over 6,000 math illustrations to the Clipart ETC website. This is substantially more than proposed because the math teachers we consulted suggested many variations of some of the items we intended to create. For example, rather than making a series of 12 clocks—one for each hour as can be found in other clipart collections, we actually created 720 versions of the clock—one for every minute in the day. Teachers said that having a complete selection would be very valuable in the classroom and is not available anywhere else. New Math clipart is available in the following categories: The number of hits to the Clipart,ETC website increased 21% from about 15 million in January to over 18 million in August of 2007.
To complement the math illustrations, we also added over 1,200 science illustrations, incorporating suggestions from Gadsden faculty. The largest section of new science clipart is in human anatomy.
For the month of August, 2007, the Clipart ETC website received 18,302,280 hits, which is an increase of 21% over the number of hits for January, 2007. During the eight-month period from January 1 to August 31, 2007, Clipart, ETC received a total of 144,074,900 hits.
- Launch of digital warehouse tool by Thinkronize, Inc.—COMPLETED
Thinkronize has completed the Digital Warehouse Tool.
- Transfer of existing Exploring Florida map collection to database with complete metadata and georectification of state and county maps by FCIT. (Tagging and georectification of a minimum of 2,000 Florida maps so that they can be used by students and teachers in GIS activities.)—COMPLETED
The new Florida Maps site has been launched with complete metadata for each map. The site includes just over 2,000 maps. All of the maps have been georectified and output as Google Earth KMZ files. Using the KMZ file created individually for each map, a student can overlay one of our historical maps onto Google Earth. Comparisons can then be made between the historic map and the current Google Earth representation. View screenshots of one of the Exploring Florida maps in Google Earth.
In addition to the Florida maps, we added over 1,500 digital maps to our Maps, ETC collection that were also tagged and included in the Florida Digital Warehouse. These maps support and extend the Exploring Florida map collection. For the month of August, 2007, the Maps, ETC website received 1,423,502 hits for a total of 8,547,236 hits from January 1 to August 31, 2007.
The number of hits to the Maps, ETC website increased 51% from 940,078 in January to 1,423,502 in August of 2007.
- Delivery of research analysis to Gadsden School District and the Florida Department of Education—COMPLETED
The School Observation Measure (SOM) and the Survey of Computer Use (SCU) were administered in the fall and again in late spring in Gadsden School District. The analysis by the Center for Research in Educational Policy/Education Innovations is available as a PDF. It contains a summary, a review of the action research conducted by Gadsden teachers as a part of the "Leveraging Laptops" program, and a 27-page appendix containing the SOM and SCU data from the district.
- One-to-one training of FCIT staff in the use of LibraryDE by Thinkronize staff—COMPLETED
This training was completed February 19, 2007.
- 50 professional development podcasts concerning the use of digital assets in K-12 math and science education—COMPLETED
The recording of the math and science educational podcasts has been completed and is posted in USF iTunes. The 61 podcasts are also available at the Math Portal. Forty of the podcasts are in the series "Making Math Matter." Six podcasts are interviews regarding Florida's new Math Standards. Five podcasts demonstrate the use of InspireData. The ten science podcasts are on using Google Earth and GIS, so that teachers and students can make the most of the georeferenced maps that were added to Exploring Florida.
The public is encouraged to comment upon this project. E-mail comments to the FCIT Director.