Designing for Diverse Audiences: K-12 Research
as a Model
JCDL 2004 Workshop
Paper Submission Contact: Bethany
Please submit papers by May 5, 2004
Participation is open to those who
have experience designing or developing digital
resources. Participants are invited to submit a
position paper describing their experience
developing digital resources and offering topics
to seed discussion. Papers should specify features
of their resources which may appeal to diverse
audiences and their justification. Papers submitted
by May 5, 2004 will be peer reviewed; selected
authors will be asked to present their papers.
Please submit papers and suggested topics as an
attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Electronic submissions in PDF format only. There
will be a limit of 25 participants to ensure that
focused discussion is possible.
Many digital library collections and search mechanisms were not
created for the K-12 audience and present a number of challenges
to educators and students. These challenges include the overwhelming
variety and scope of the collections; the fragmentary nature of
material; search engines not designed for K-12 needs; teachers'
lack of experience in using non-textual resource; and the ongoing
tension between in-depth inquiry and curriculum breadth . In
addition, the voices, perspectives, and interests of women, people
of color, and other under-represented groups are not often reflected
in the design and development of Web-based educational resources.
 Using the results from two NSF-funded digital library projects
as a springboard, this workshop will give developers of digital
libraries and services the opportunity to expand their capacity
to use audience needs to inform their product design and plan for
1. SHORT DESCRIPTION
According to the research findings of two National
Science Digital Library (NSDL) projects, Effective Access and CaREN ,
a rift exists between the technical and informational needs of
diverse audiences and the tools currently available. Effective
Access is a research project examining how high school STEM
teachers find and use digital resources. CaREN ( Career
Resources Education Network) is a digital library of career resources
for middle school students currently being developed; the design
of the CaREN's interface and content is informed by the ongoing
contributions of middle school students. Organizers will present
research findings from these projects and engage participants in
interactive discussions and group design exercises so that participants
are able to leverage the findings to benefit their own work.
2. STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVES
The aim of this workshop is to share our recent digital library
research findings and use the implications of those findings to
inform participants' future designs. Participants will relate these
research findings to their own work through a series of interactive
activities. We will examine how the design of digital resources
can be enhanced through a comprehensive understanding of the needs
and desires of end users. As a result of this workshop, participants
will increase their capacity to develop digital library resources
for diverse audiences.
3. TOPICAL OUTLINE FOR WORKSHOP
3.1 Who Is Your Audience?
First, attendees will develop clear descriptions of typical visitors
to their digital resources and explanations of specific site features
and characteristics created to attract these typical visitors.
Once attendees have explored how their designs serve their audiences,
they will analyze selected Web sites for audience appeal. Then,
organizers will present research findings from user surveys analyzing
the same Web sites, and the group will discuss how the similarities
and differences between the attendee analysis and user feedback
could impact their own designs.
3.2 Collaborative Design
Participants will be presented with selected findings from the Effective
Access and CaREN projects that highlight the
digital library needs and preferences of high school STEM teachers
and middle school students. These findings will be used as a
springboard for a collaborative design activity during which
participants apply the research findings to the design of hypothetical
digital resources for a variety of audiences.
3.3 Assessing Impact and Next Steps
The attendees will have an opportunity to brainstorm together
how this new information could be incorporated into their work
so that their resulting products more effectively serve targeted
audiences. Lastly, attendees will be given resource packets containing Effective
Access and CaREN findings, as well as examples
of how other digital libraries have creatively met the needs of
4. FORMAT AND DURATION
Half-day workshop including facilitated reflection, interactive
discussion, and small group collaborative design in response to
selected provocative research findings.
5. WORKSHOP AUDIENCE
This interactive workshop will allow attendees to examine the
intersection of the diverse K-12 education community with their
own digital library creations, and we anticipate 20-25 people to
attend. We expect that this workshop will be beneficial to teams
developing digital libraries, digital library tools, or e-learning
environments for students and teachers and to people who wish to
attract members of the K-12 community to their existing digital
The workshop announcement will be disseminated
through relevant list servs and professional networks, for example,
the National Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Digital Library (NSDL) program's Whiteboard Report, mailing lists
for ACM, IEEE, ASIS&T, DELOS, and the digital divide network.
The workshop size must be limited to maintain its personalized,
interactive nature. If more than 25 people are interested, participation
would be decided on a first come, first serve basis on the day
of the workshop.
Katherine Hanson is the Director of the Gender, Diversities, and
Technology Institute at EDC. She is Principal Investigator of three
NSDL projects, as well as three other NSF projects focused on diversity
and technology. She has written extensively about diversity and
equity in STEM education.
Sarita Nair is
a Project Director with the Gender, Diversities &Technology
Institute at EDC. Ms. Nair has presented nationally and internationally
on digital library development and the use of technology to leverage
the power of diversity in improving education and work. Prior to
joining EDC held several positions in the software industry
Bethany Carlson is a Research Associate at the Gender, Diversities,
and Technology Institute at EDC. She brings experience in both
engineering and urban middle schools science classrooms to her
research. Her current projects include Effective Access and CaREN.
Sharon Reidy is a Technology Associate at the Gender, Diversities,
and Technology Institute at EDC. Her work currently focuses on
the design and development of digital libraries which encourage
the participation of underrepresented populations in science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics education and careers.
J. Panush, E.M. & Spielvogel, R.
National Study Tour of District Technology Integration (Summary
Report). New York : Center for Children and Technology, Education
Development Center , December 1999.
 ITAA Task Force Reports. Building the 21 st Century Information Technology
Workforce: Underrepresented Groups in the Information Technology Workforce