Interactive Learning & Design Lab


CoMPASS-DL: Design and Use of a Concept Map Interface for helping Middle School Students Navigate Digital Libraries

Funded by National Science and technology Digital Library (NSDL) $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 it 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. The aim of the proposed project is to use a concept map interface that shows the conceptual links between documents to make the wealth of information in Digital Libraries easily accessible to middle school students and thereby enhance students’ navigation skills and learning. The CoMPASS-DL system, based on the CoMPASS hypertext environment, aims to serve as a portal to access NSDL collections. The maps show students the most related concepts to the one that they have chosen. By providing the learner with a cognitive map of related concepts, the CoMPASS-DL system aims to reduce some of the cognitive load that learners face while accessing digital collections, because they will have easy access to digital collections. The conceptual representation is designed to aid learning and support navigation by graphically showing conceptually related documents.

This project aims to (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.