NSF Awards TERC $2.68M for Online Learning Network, MSPnet

February 5, 2007

Joni Falk, TERC
(617) 873-9632

The National Science Foundation has awarded TERC, a not-for-profit educational research organization in Cambridge, MA, a five year, $2.68 million grant to further develop and facilitate MSPnet, an online learning community for leaders of math and science educational reform.

MSPnet, first launched in 2004, serves an as the electronic infrastructure and communication portal for NSF's Math Science Partnership (MSP) Program. NSF's MSP program unites institutions of higher education with K-12 school districts in order to improve mathematics and science teaching and learning. Projects funded through this NSF program impact more than 141,000 science and mathematics teachers and 4.2 million students in 530 school districts across the country.

"This new round of funding for MSPnet will allow this vibrant online learning community to continue to develop and to evolve as the MSP projects reach maturity," said Principal Investigator Joni Falk. "Projects will be able to share challenges, effective strategies, instruments, and emerging research, and learn from each other's experiences. This funding will also enable MSPnet to provide a comprehensive archive of the MSP effort that will inform future large-scale education reform efforts."

Through this grant, TERC will continue its cutting edge research and development on building and studying complex, nested communities for math and science professional development. MSPnet will serve as a cyber-infrastructure model for future NSF programs seeking to share research within and across programs.

MSPnet has already served over 1.6 million pages to over a half a million visitors to the site. MSPnet provides a central "Hub" which collects and shares research with the entire MSP program and with the public at large. It also provides each of the 79 MSP projects with its own web-based interactive space (project website) to enhance collaboration among partners within each project.

MSPnet's nested architecture provides a close linkage between the Hub and project spaces enabling a two-way flow of resources, between larger and smaller communities. For example, members can copy resources posted in the Hub to their individual project web spaces. Conversely, members of a project can choose to make material generated within their project space accessible on the Hub in order to disseminate their work to a wider audience, whether to their colleagues in other MSP projects, or to the interested public.

Learn more about MSPnet at mspnet.org.

Founded in 1965, TERC's mission is to improve math, science, and technology teaching and learning. TERC works at the edges of current theory and practice to contribute to the understanding of learning and teaching, foster professional development, develop applications of new technologies, create curricula and other products, and support school reform. For more information, please visit www.terc.edu.