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Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Scout Report: Research and Education - August 12, 2016

Check out these highlights from The Internet Scout Project.

The Scout Report -- Volume 22, Number 31 (August 12th, 2016)  

The Open Notebook

The Open Notebook is a resource designed to help science journalists and journalism students hone their reporting and writing skills. Although targeted specifically to science writers, The Open Notebook provides discussion and advice about pitching stories, reporting, and writing that will be of interest to any journalist. Readers will find insightful interviews with science writers about their craft, an advice column, and a Pitch Database that allows visitors to search for successful article pitches by publication. The Interviews section features conversations with writers on various approaches to reporting and writing. For instance, visitors can read a conversation with Jessica Wapner about how she built rapport and trust with individuals in Austin, Indiana for a story about drug addiction in the region. In another interview, Elizabeth Kolbert describes the challenges of writing a book and her use of intellectual history to explore how scientists have understood species extinction. Another highlight of The Open Notebook is the Storygram series, presenting annotations of award-winning science articles that examine successful rhetorical techniques.
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The History Harvest

For the past several years, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Department of History, in partnership with a number of museums and organizations, has hosted a series of history harvests across the state. At each harvest, "community-members are invited to bring and share their letters, photographs, objects and stories, and participate in a conversation about the significance and meaning of their materials." Students and faculty then digitize, curate, and organize these materials into a series of collections and exhibits. The result is a collection of primary documents that reveal the diverse lives and experiences of multiple generations of Nebraska residents and comprise a great resource for any history classroom. Highlights from this digital project include a collection of letters and artifacts from Eugene Sengstake, who served as a pilot during World War II and was tragically killed in action in 1944; a collection about Nebraska's African-American Community; and a moving exhibit about refugee communities in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

NOVA Labs: Evolution
The team behind the popular PBS series NOVA, produced by WGBH in Boston, has created a collection of online Labs that provide interactive learning experiences relating to a number of scientific topics. (The Scout Report featured NOVA Labs in its 07-23-2013 report.) The most recent addition to the series is the Evolution Lab. In this engaging resource, learners can participate in two activities: Build a Tree and Deep Tree. In the Build a Tree activity, students create an evolutionary tree by reading about a variety of species and identifying the traits that connect them to one another. Meanwhile, Deep Tree is an interactive chart that demonstrates the connections between 70,000 species, from algae to bananas to human beings. Visitors can search for any species to learn about their classification and characteristics or to explore how any two species are related to each other. These two interactive activities are accompanied by an educator's guide, which includes lesson plans and worksheets for the classroom. In addition, this page includes Videos, an Evolution Quiz, and a Meet the Experts component.
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Dissertation Reviews
Doctoral dissertations include innovative scholarship, new topics of inquiry, and fresh approaches to longstanding topics in any academic discipline. However, most dissertations do not become available to the general public until the author is able to convert their dissertation into a book manuscript. Dissertation Reviews is designed to "offer readers a glimpse of each discipline's immediate present by focusing on the window of time between dissertation defense and first book publication." On this site, visitors can read reviews of over 1,000 dissertations in the humanities and social science fields from around the globe. In each review, an early career scholar in the field outlines the dissertator's main argument and sources and discusses how the dissertation fits into the field's existing body of scholarship. Visitors to this website can search for dissertation by institution or academic subject. In addition, Dissertation Reviews contains Fresh from the Archives, which reviews the many libraries, archives, and databases used by scholars to complete their dissertations.  


If you are looking for a resource to help mathematics students complete homework assignments and learn outside of the classroom, you may want to check out Math Planet, an easily navigable online resource for mathematics students and instructors. Designed specifically for American high school students, the majority of Math Planet functions like an online textbook. Users can browse through subjects (Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry) and select specific topics (e.g. linear equations, quadrilaterals, complex numbers) within these subjects. Each topic is accompanied by a written explanation of key concepts and a short Video Lesson that models how to do related math problems. In addition, Math Planet includes 60 ACT practice questions and 70 SAT practice questions. After attempting to solve these questions, visitors then learn the answers and may watch a video explanation.
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YouTube: ComputerHistory

The Computer History Museum was founded in 1996 in Mountain View, California with the goal of sharing and preserving the "artifacts and stories of the Information Age." The Museum's YouTube channel is a great resource for anyone looking to learn more about the history of computing or gain insights about the future of the field. Here, visitors can listen to oral histories of numerous key figures in information technology and view videos of lectures and educational programs for K-12 students. There are a number of playlists, including Top Picks, Teacher's Resources, and Exhibition: Revolution, the First 2000 Years of Computing. The latter playlist is a fascinating collection of videos about computer history, highlighting the stories of unsung pioneers and early inventions that were critical to modern day computing. Other highlights of this channel include a 1980 video of Steve Jobs and a fascinating discussion about 19th century mathematician Ada Lovelace, who contributed to Charles Babbage's 1832 computer. 

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The Juilliard Manuscript Collection
Classical music fans will want to check out the Juilliard Manuscripts Collection, a spectacular collection of very rare manuscripts. These documents were donated to the school in 2006 by Bruce Kovner, a business professional and philanthropist who served as chair of the board at Juilliard. This collection includes engraved first editions of manuscripts by Johannes Sebastian Bach; an autographed letter from Ludwig van Beethoven; a copy of Beethoven's 9th Symphony - with his own annotations - that may have been used in the symphony's very first performance; and a signed holograph by Claude Debussy. Visitors to this website can search for manuscripts by composer. In addition to the luminaries mentioned above, this collection contains manuscripts by Johannes Brahms, Aaron Copland, Dmitri Shostakovich, Richard Wagner, and more. Each manuscript is accompanied with complete bibliographic information. 
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Source: Internet Scout Project