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Dragonfly Web site nears one millionth hit

Miami's Dragonfly Web site, part of a nine-year-old program making science inquiry and discovery accessible to students, parents and teachers, is expected to register its one millionth visitor this week.

Project Dragonfly began as a magazine with parent and teacher guides using children's research and professional researchers to promote children's investigation. The magazine is no longer published; however, Dragonfly's Web site is still used heavily by teachers for professional development workshops and communication links. “I am pleased to know that we are still making a difference in the lives of children,” says Christopher Wolfe, editor of the Dragonfly Web pages.

Dragonfly TV, http://pbskids.org/dragonflytv/, is in its fourth year on PBS, produced by Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minn. Chris Myers (interdisciplinary studies), a founding director of Project Dragonfly, is co-principal investigator and an adviser to the show, which is watched by more than 25 million children and parents a year. Dragonfly has developed other collaborations. Evolutions of Dragonfly:

Earth Expeditions, www.earthexpeditions.org. This collaborative program with the Cincinnati Zoo gave 60 K-12 teachers the opportunity to participate in the zoo's conservation efforts in Namibia, Costa Rica and Trinidad last summer. This fall, 60 other teachers are participating in three workshops at the zoo, earning graduate credit for their coursework.

• Dragonfly Web, www.muohio.edu/dragonfly/, winner of 10 awards for excellence. Articles from Dragonfly Magazine, extra interactive lessons and information for teachers and parents are posted here.

• DragonflyQuest, a badge program for children in Girls Clubs and Boys Clubs. The program received a $300,000 grant from United Airlines.

• iDiscovery workshops (graduate credit) for teachers. This partnership with Miami's Discovery Center creates advanced Web-based learning communities for Discovery's statewide, face-to-face summer institutes, funded by the state and others, www.iDiscovery.org.

• Dragonfly Workshops (graduate credit) for teachers. With a mix of in-person training and friendly online discussions, a “lesson incubator” and shared data, these workshops connect teachers to ideas and to each other. Grants from the state and others have helped them reach hundreds of teachers each year. Find them at www.dragonflyworkshops.org.

• Dragonfly Magazine, winner of a 1997 Parents' Choice Gold Award. The first national magazine to feature children's science investigations, Dragonfly also published articles from adult scientists. First published by Miami and the National Science Teachers Association, then as an insert in Scientific American's Explorations magazine.

A deep desire to encourage children's discovery is what drives all aspects of Dragonfly. “You have to allow kids to see themselves and their peers as investigators,” says Myers. Other faculty and staff who helped create and support Dragonfly include Carolyn Haynes (now director of the honors and scholars program), Hays Cummins, Christopher Wolfe, Lynne Myers and Jamie Bercaw, all of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies.

The Web site is maintained by Wolfe and an undergraduate student through Miami's Center for Human Development, Learning, and Teaching. Support for Dragonfly TV has come from the National Science Foundation and Best Buy.

Dragonfly Web is at www.muohio.edu/dragonfly/.

Date Published: 11/18/2004
Volume: 24   Number: 16

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