To develop the Search It! Science site, Dr. Wendy Saul and her team from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, watched and interviewed kids, teachers and librarians as they searched for science-related books in libraries. Their idea was to create a computer program that would mimic ordinary behavior, rather than a program with functions that only sophisticated users could manipulate. Keeping up with quality science trade books -- attending to accuracy and illustration and writing style -- are important to the team that keeps the database current. This work is spearheaded by Donna Dieckman, a former classroom teacher, member of the NSTA/CBC review committee and Program Director of the Elementary Science Integration Projects (umbc.edu/esip) and Donna Neutze, Project Coordinator, PhD student and researcher extraordinaire, and supported by a National Science Foundation grant.
Too often we see people at the card catalog, either the paper or electronic kind, jotting down numbers that lead them to a single area of the library. Then they begin pulling books off the shelf, never realizing what wonderful and pertinent stuff there is available in other sections. To learn more about space, for instance, one might want to check out the section on planets, technology, biography, experiments and perhaps even science fiction. As one student describes the Search It! program, "It's like flying around the world's best media center."
First published by The Learning Team as a CD-ROM, this online version is published by Heinemann, with technical development by Wunderkind Studios.