Changing the Face of Science in the US, NSF comes to the rescue..New Tools, New Technologies

Old tools for science .. still come in handy but we have new ways of learning to share. 

From maps to GPS, GS, Visualization and modeling and 3 D, Virtualization and modeling are a big step away from the textbook and just the resources within the classroom.




This is my antisuperman post. It is the kryptonite that should paralyze the discussion that we in the schools do not really care about science , math, technology and engineering. There was an event on the mall that shared and showcased wonderful science. But I fear that the media may not have dug deep enough to stop the bad press, to give us the good news about changing and transforming education as the groups did  on the mall and in the weeks preceding the expo event. I know that the people at the NSF really care about education.

Teachers  are empowered by projects and funding from the NSF. The press hardly covers the ideas and often pokes fun at the research. People came to our booth time and time again to see the three D movie, to bring friends, to explore the use of the IPads which showed and shared the models that visualized what the various Teragrid research projects do, and to look at the photos of the supercomputers Blue Waters, in particular.

There were a few people who wanted to test our knowledge but , we had a team, and a petting zoo for the Little FE, and lots of information, even beautiful posters on the Oil Spill, posters on what is a tornado, and coloring books and crayons on supercomputing. We shared the ideas of use of the Blue Waters Supercomputer.

I don’t have a movie about myself.I am an empowered teacher, from learning to use the resources of the Teragrid. I do have a group of students, parents and supporters who have believed in science , math, engineering and technology, and project based learning.Mentors of mine are many one being Grace Hopper. Don Mitchell, Vint Cerf,  Scott Lathrop, Shirley Malcom and George Lucas. Chris Dede, and Seymour Papert. Al Gore, Ron Brown. There are more. Frank Withrow was once the leader of the Department. of Education and Larry Cuban let me, as a teacher use new technologies long ago. Once I was on a truck that carried the new ideas around the country. It was called CyberEd. This exhbit on the mall was much more powerful. Our booth was so full we had to stand outside the booth most of the time.

I am a minority and a female I am not 25.  I probably won’t be able to sleep because of the excitement of being able to be a participant on the mall in the Expo. Why is this important?Think DC Schools, think minority students who may think, we cannot do this work.. and think of  the needs of the students and their lack of participation at high levels in ordinary technology use. Think Jesse Bemley and I linking with people from the areas or not, creating networks for collaboration, community and communication in outreach.  Jesse Bemley is a black computer scientist who mentors students . We have a mission to broaden engagement . We are excited about the fact that now we can teach hands on science, explore, examine, evaluate and get immersed in the joy of learning in innovative ways.We were more excited than kids going to Disneyland about our participation.
Think Convocation on the Gathering Storm and their findings.
Here is what Elizabeth Leake wrote about the event on her blog.
“, Robert Ping (TeraGrid EOT Assistant Director/Indiana University), with a team of five from TeraGrid and NCSA, have been planning this for eight months or more. One of our biggest fears—facilitating technology and paper hand-outs in the rain—was put to rest this week with a beautiful forecast. Since this is the first such Expo, we didn’t fully know what to expect.

The Expo was conceived in response to the Obama administration’s desire to stimulate more interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers by “exposing children and families to new technologies that are strengthening communities, building careers, and stimulating economic growth.” The President’s Council of Advisers in Science and Technology, with help from a U.S. Department of Energy grant and funding from dozens of corporate sponsors, engaged more than 1,500 organizations to sponsor tents. They all brought some really cool S.W.A.G. The event is free—making it affordable for families to attend. Since the National Mall shares borders with the National Gallery of Art and many museums of the Smithsonian Institution, there is a lot to do within walking distance, although the Expo alone would take days to cover.

This is the same National Mall where the Reverend Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. In times of unrest, the National Mall has been popular with protesters since it is a large, open public space located in the very heart of Washington. While this isn’t the first time masses of people gathered on the National Mall for the same reason, it was the first time so many came with a passion for science, engineering, and technology!

Imagine researchers involving K-12 and the community. It was awesome.
We as teachers, as parents as researchers need to take back the media talk about schools. We can take forth the message of the Convocation on the Gathering Storm in a positive way.
One of the pleasures of teaching in Arlington, was to meet the parents who worked for the National Science Foundation , as they responsibly helped in the schools. Tonight, I cannot sleep because my heart is full of joy. I have spent two days on the mall, in the  Teragrid Booth It was a great pleaure to meet students, parents, administrators, grandparents, the people who came to the expo to learn about science, math, engineering and technology. We explored 3 D visualizations and used Ipad Technologies, we shared visualizations that showed the work of the institutions involved in the Teragrid.  We talked about cloud computing, parallel computing and little FE. We talked with students and would be students. The group inspired a LOT of people. We could show teachers in K 12 who were working in their classrooms using Teragrid resources. We could  say computational science with joy and bring others to LOVE it.

It is not a secret that students of today live in a multimedia world where they use video as their primary form of engagement and communication. Teachers and administrators are looking for ways to present information to students that will not only spark their interest, but also encourage them to explore a subject more thoroughly. Meaningful exploration usually means deeper understanding, which translates into higher student achievement, whether measured via standardized tests or an increased graduation rate. We did all this in our booth.  We had the new technologies.
The advent of affordable 3D technology promises to bring into reality the dream of fully engaged students. Our booth was full, almost all day long.
Children and parents and their friends came back to look , to share and to use the new technologies. People were fascinated with the IPad and the visualizations.

I will start from Grace Hopper, go to cooking, and simple involvement in technology to the Teragrid and Blue Waters. You will see why I am so excited and feeling empowered.

Grace Hopper? Think gender…
Here is who she is. Note how early she was a star in the history of technology.  

She was a special person in technology before the term digital native was invented.

Grace Hopper




grace hopper

    • Category: American scientists
    • Date of birth: December 9, 1906
    • Date of death: January 1, 1992
    • Profession: Mathematician, Programmer, Scientist, …
    • Served in: United States Navy
    • Nationality: American


I have had some  Grace Hopper  moments, I met her when she  visited schools in Arlington. I remember looking at her thinking. She must be very , very smart, because she is old and she is still in the Navy. At first I missed the point about the Nanosecond.I kept thinking, if she is a programmer than I can do this programming thing too.
So in a high school, a career high school in Arlington County Virginia, Tom Smolenski allowed me to have an activity day that was country wide in which we matched up students with new and unusual ideas which were about teaching and learning. We learned about computers, calligraphy, and many other things. We were doing project based learning over a period of time to cement an interest in mathematics, games, cooking, many things.

You think, cooking, what has that got to do with science?Ok, I am starting with the ordinary. Our booth was not ordinary. But we need to remember that since NCLB lots of people have not even had ordinary science. There were hundreds and hundreds of people just enjoying hands on science, and being involved. We had much more than this.. but let me share an ordinary pleasure first. I have lots of pictures from the mall. But it is late and I am tired. I will post pictures tomorrow.

That may mean that you have never seen the naked egg. or visited the pages of the Exploratorium. This is a web site that rivals the Cooking Channel because you get to learn the science of cooking and you can keep the knowledge as a plus.

Accidental Scientist: Science of Cooking
looks at the science behind food and cooking. Learn about what happens when you eat sugar, bake bread, cook an egg, or pickle foods. Find out how muscle turns to meat, what makes meat tender, and what gives meat its flavor. Take tours of breads and spices of the world. Explore your sense of taste and smell. (Exploratorium, National Science Foundation)

Science of Eggs
Science of Pickles
Science of Candy
Science of Bread
Science of Seasoning
Science of Meat

Discover how a pinch of curiosity can improve your cooking! Explore recipes, activities, and Webcasts that will enhance your understanding of the science behind food and cooking.

Science of Cooking

WE  Were Doing Extraordinary Science, Teragrid and Blue Waters


The special booth that I was a part of was of course leading edge science In our booth we were Blue Waters/ Teragrid.
Here is what you would see.


*Showing a 3D Stereo Video about NSF, LEAD and the TeraGrid

*Promoting Bluewaters – one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world

*Demonstrating LittleFe, a complete 6 node Beowulf style portable computational cluster

*Viewing 2D visualizations and photographs from TG users on IPAD technology

*Giving away coloring books about Supercomputing (and crayons)

*Giving away large posters depicting exciting scientific visualizations

*Stamping student paperwork with NSF stamps

*Handing out TeraGrid Science and EOT Highlight Magazines

Today and yesterday on the mall were special initiatives.

Blue Waters
Taking full advantage of the opportunities that follow from fielding a petascale computing system requires a long-term coordinated effort to educate and train the next generation of scientists and engineers. This effort must excite, recruit, educate, and retain students as well as educational professionals. Partners in the Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation are critical to the Blue Waters education initiatives.
Learn more about undergraduate and graduate education at

Broadband, Super-Computing, and Finding the Superman Within

This is from Frank Odasz.
Growing up, it was fun to imagine being a superman, strong and smart and able to do amazing things and help people in need. Who wouldn’t want to be a superhero, and be admired and respected and able to make a positive difference in a struggling world.  To not be helpless – in the face of all the bad things happening today.

Well, good news.

We are genuinely the first people in history to have super powers at our fingertips.  If we have broadband, we can fly into space, or to the bottom of the oceans, perform calculations and searches at speeds counted in billons per second. With a single click we can instantly self-publish our insights and resources to the nearly 2 billion online.

Without any money at all, we can start a global micromultinational business, we can start a global cause, we can launch a virtual nation, and much more.

Einstein said “We’re limited only by our imaginations.”
Many of us don’t believe we could ever be superpersons. But, there is a super secret here; to unlock your true full potential you must connect with your inner champion; the Superman within. What you won’t do for yourself, you might do for others. Many of us must first give to others in order to discover our true human potential.
Self-actualization for all – is now possible;
The 21st Century imperative is: Everyone both learner and teacher, both consumer and producer, all the time.
You have the choice to step up, even with just baby steps for starters, or to step back from your true full potential. That you actually have this choice alone, is powerful!
The love of learning is the key to learning how to innovate, to create value in a knowledge economy, and as important is knowing how to cultivate one’s curiosity; seeking out new knowledge and having fun making discovery a part of one’s lifestyle.
Was it Spiderman who says ” With Power comes Responsibility?”
If you are unemployed, under educated, depressed, and down and out, there is a lot you can do both for yourself and for those yet worse off than you. Anyone can become a citizen professor, able to teach anything to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Now I can go to sleep. I think. I might giggle about having to enter the marathon to access the mall. I had no other way of getting to my booth.
It was funny , me in a backpack easing sideways.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton
Digital Equity and Social Justice Chair,

Who is Jack Taub?

We will create a public/private partnership and a national movement in collaboration with teachers’ unions to unleash America’s largest, unlimited, and virtually untapped source of renewable energy: the minds of all of our children!!!! Customizing education for every child will ensure that never again will our children’s hopes, futures, and dreams be determined by the color of their skin, their gender, the quality of their healthcare, the poverty in their home and/or community and – last but far from least – the teachers’ and students’ ability to withstand the frustration and boredom inherent in today’s public education systems. The needless NCLB ‘teaching to the test’ which dominates our schools is really the result of public policy made by legislators, business leaders, and policy makers often against the wishes of teachers and others involved in education.

-Jack Taub 2008


Jack is a boy from Brooklyn who dropped out of high school to avoid terminal boredom.  One of his friends from the old neighborhood was Al Shanker who grew up to lead the American Federation of Teachers for many years.  In the late 1970s he was the one who first turned Jack on to the issue that less than 5% of high school graduates had reading proficiency.  This did not include science and math and it was before the Flat World that Thomas Friedman describes allowed China and India to compete for low-skilled jobs.    When Jack dropped out, he began pursuing his passion, stamp collecting.  He did it very well.  So well, in fact, that at one point he owned a significant share of Scotts Publishing (He was Chairman of the Board) and the publisher of the Scott’s Catalog – the “bible” for stamp collectors.  He had a store located across the street from Tiffany’s at 57th street and Fifth Avenue.  Not just the store; with his brother and friend, they owned the whole ten-story building.  He then convinced the US Postal Service that they could make a profit selling stamp collecting materials.  He ended up with an exclusive contract to sell his products in 35,000 post offices, and the USPS has earned over $10B by retailing philatelic paraphernalia and other non-stamp items.

In 1977, he got restless and he took some of the money from that success and invested it in a new concept that allowed people to use computers and modems to exchange ideas using email and bulletin boards.  The business was called ‘The Source’ (See the article below) and it was the first consumer online business.  It became the model for the consumerization of the Internet and all that followed.  In 1980, he sold that business to Readers’ Digest for a significant amount of money.

At that point, he began focusing on the educational needs of his physically challenged child.   He was trying to get his child a good education in public schools.  His experience led him to realize that even with the then existing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), schools were not only not meeting the needs of challenged children; they were not serving any children well, while boring most.  He was reminded of the earlier comments from Al Shanker and decided to dedicate his life and the resources he had to customizing education for every child in the country.  That was in 1980, three years before the seminal report, ‘A Nation At Risk’ that concluded, “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. We have even squandered the gains in student achievement made in the wake of the Sputnik challenge. Moreover, we have dismantled essential support systems which helped make those gains possible. We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament.” Jack has been pursuing his vision for customizing education ever since.  He has built a team of people who share his dream and dedication and together they have designed and implemented the model at three schools that prove it can be done.  Along the way, he passed on many opportunities to make significant profits from some of the elements of the solution because he didn’t want to be distracted from the need to transform the whole system.  He determined that if he was successful in transforming K-12 education it would be America’s greatest social and economic engine as well as an historic legacy and a great business.  Jack never thought that transforming K-12 education would be one of the most complex journeys in history and that it would take 30 years and most of his resources to solve.

Jack believes that every child is precious and at risk, some at greater risk than others.  The great tragedy and human rights issue is that virtually every child first shows up in kindergarten with unlimited curiosity and a genetic need to learn.  Then we start ‘helping’ them learn to pass tests.

America has about 100,000 public schools, nearly 4,000,000 teachers and 55,000,000 students.   All of this is organized into about 15,000 locally autonomous school districts – each making their own decisions.  Neither the president nor the governor has control over the local district decisions.  Consequently, the solution must be from the communities up, not the top down.   The program must benefit all the children and all the teachers.   It is both impractical and unnecessary to replace the existing schools and teachers.  We need to transform them.  To be a scalable solution, it must eliminate student boredom, be supported by the teachers and their unions, and affordable to all schools within existing budgets.  If you do the math, transforming 10,000 classrooms a year (which in itself would be Herculean) would take 400 years to get done once.   His goal, to complete transformation of public education in 15 years will start after the receipt of the funding for the first 1,350 discovery and innovation schools.  That led Jack to realize that we would need a national grass-roots movement consisting of over a million parents, students, teachers, administrators, business leaders, academics, and politicians to support the transformation.  The Power of US Foundation ( has been established to recruit and coordinate members in support of the transformation.  At their website, you can read their “Call to Arms” and “Implementation Plan”.

In the ensuing 30-plus years, more than $100,000,000 dollars (not all of it Jack’s money) have been spent building implementing, testing and improving the model.  The solution he and his team built integrates virtually every known research-based organizational and student-centered-learning best practice into a smoothly operating system.  As a result, all of the elements have already been thoroughly researched and proven in multiple locations.  The integrated system his team developed, that includes a multidisciplinary project-based, small-group learning environment, has been in operation as the Discovery Learning Systems (DLS) model at the three schools (elementary, middle and high school) at the Tracy Learning Center (TLC)  for over eight years, representing over 8,500,000 hours of student and teacher experience, with outstanding results.  In the DLS model, the teachers are able to observe and assess individual student behaviors and learning and customize the learning for all 54,000,000 students.  This ongoing assessment means there is no need to teach to the test.  In addition, the ongoing data-gathering and analysis allows the model to continuously improve programmatically while scaling exponentially.

The DLS model was originally implemented as a charter school in order to allow the designers to start with a clean slate.  However, from the beginning, Jack and his partner, Dr. Keith Larick, were determined to create a model that could be scalable and replicable in any public school in the nation.  The needless NCLB ‘teaching to the test’ which dominates our schools is really the result of public policy made by legislators, business leaders, and policy makers often against the wishes of teachers and others involved in education.  The DLS model totally avoids teaching to the test and the resulting student boredom and teacher burnout.

The DLS model is a comprehensive change from the current teacher-centered learning environment.  So to be scalable, we provide an equally comprehensive program of professional development and change management.  The staff and teachers have 24/7 access to a broad range of support services at no cost to the teachers.

To be successful, children need a quality education and good health.  DLS addresses the health issue in two ways.  The curriculum includes a number of grade-level-appropriate health and wellness projects on topics like obesity and substance abuse.  We also provide free access to primary healthcare services via a telemedicine network.

The DLS solution is not an education management system that takes over and operates the schools.  DLS is a subscription-based education transformation service that includes unlimited usage of all of the best practices listed below. Beyond that, the fixed subscription cost includes all of the upgrades that result from the DLS continuous improvement program.  Budgeting and procurement for many of the services included in the DLS subscription package are frequently problematic for school districts.  Many of the critical services often end up on the chopping block during difficult financial times.  Which should we cut, the volleyball team or the drama program?  Should we replace the computers or retain a teacher?   It is not that the school board feels any of these options are unimportant. It is that they have to make difficult choices and local pressures frequently overwhelm good educational practices in a political climate.  Because all of the elements of the solution are research-based best practices and are an integral part of the comprehensive DLS model, they are bundled into a subscription that cannot be purchased a-la-carte.   This simplifies the budgeting for the school board.  They know what they need and they have a guaranteed fixed cost for the package that they can budget.  It includes providing and refreshing (every three years) all of the district technology.   AT&T is assisting the DLS team in designing, implementing, managing, and refreshing the participating schools’ technology infrastructure.  AT&T is looking forward to rolling out the model as a national program.

“There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come”

– Victor Hugo – 1857

Jack’s present activities include two related programs.  The first is to raise funding to transform 1,350 schools to schools of discovery and innovation in the next five years.  The plan then is to transform the rest of the schools across the country within the following ten years.  His goal is to demonstrate that the transformation can occur and to build the momentum for getting it to happen.  At that point he expects other organizations to join in the effort and help in transforming the remaining 100,000 schools.  The other activity is continuing to build relationships with other organizations that share our vision and explore means for supporting each other’s efforts.  He believes that schools should regain their status as community centers – but not just for education.  The school should also be a center for primary healthcare, innovation, culture, entertainment and community/economic development.  For more information about the DLS program for creating schools of discovery and innovation visit   Jack’s goal is to make schools places where children want to attend, not have to attend.  For anyone who doesn’t believe Jack’s vision is attainable, he challenges them to read the history of the Manhattan Project and see what the nation did in three years.

Jack identifies personally with the Peter Finch character, Howard Beale, in the movie Network (1976), when Beale expresses his despair over the continual political bickering while the citizens are faced with unemployment other societal ills.  Beale says, “We’re as mad as hell, and we’re not going to take this anymore.”

Approximately 10,000 children a day are dropping out of school or graduating but incapable of earning a living.  These 10,000 kids all showed up for kindergarten with unlimited curiosity and a genetic need to learn.  Through the Power of US he hopes to get millions of volunteers (parents, teachers, students, and community members) as mad as hell like he is.   They must all join him and come together to stop destroying the futures of virtually all of our children and our nation.

Jack Taub’s Theory for Educational Transformation 2000

* The CHild equals CUriosity minus  Boring Education = Infinite Intellectual and Creative Energy.

1978 Washington Post article about the Source

The following article from the Washington Post was the first mention anyplace in the world of the concept that came to be known as the ‘consumer online industry’.  Jack Taub pioneered and funded digital broadcasting which gave birth to The Source.  People from the Source led to the creation of America Online.  The Source ultimately became the model for the consumerization of the Internet.  In today’s terminology Jack’s 1977 vision is now known as ‘cloud computing’.

If you look towards the end of the article, you will see Jack quoted as saying that the demonstrated capabilities will become as famous as McDonald’s hamburgers.  At the time this article was being written, there were only three people on his online system.

Jack believes that the greatest days in using these technologies still lie ahead of us through the development of DLS Discovery and Innovation schools and empowering all children – no matter how poor or remote.