Hi-CE Software: Digital IdeaKeeper

Inquiry-based learning is an important way of engaging learners in information-rich inquiry-based activities, as called for by various educational groups. Digital libraries can play a significant role in inquiry by helping learners search vast collections of information to find resources they can use for their inquiry. However, digital libraries do not support the full range of online inquiry activities, which also involve planning an investigation, analyzing information they find in a digital library, and synthesizing information to develop a final argument that addresses their question.

The Digital IdeaKeeper project aims to extend the notion of digital libraries by creating other tools to not only help learners find information, but to make sense of that information and put it to an effective use in service of learners' inquiry projects. The IdeaKeeper provides a full online inquiry context by integrating tools and workspaces for the full range of online inquiry activities to support middle-school learners with:

  • Planning a new investigation
  • Searching different digital libraries for information
  • Analyzing the different information resources (e.g., websites) that they find to help them effectively read, annotate, and make sense of the information
  • Synthesizing their different information resources and notes to make a claim addressing their central driving question and develop a full argument supporting that claim

The IdeaKeeper project is part of the National Science Foundation's National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Program. Specifically, the IdeaKeeper connects to the Digital Library for Earth System Education (http://dlese.org) and the Artemis Digital Library. One goal for the project is to integrate the IdeaKeeper with the growing number of NSDL-affiliated library collections.

The IdeaKeeper project is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DUE-0226241. Any opinions and findings expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.