News at Concord Consortium

Design, Build, and Test a Model House

Students can design and build their own houses and learn about energy efficiency with our new Energy3D software, developed by Drs. Saeid Nourian and Charles Xie. This WYSIWYG (What-You-SeeIs-What-You-Get) computational building science laboratory allows users to design a house in three dimensions and then evaluate its environmental friendliness.

An alpha version is available at:

The software’s Blueprint Wizard automatically deconstructs a 3D structure into 2D pieces, determines which pieces are on the same plane, generates a layout of all planes, calculates the necessary lengths and angles, and prints them on a sequence of pages. Each piece is numbered and annotated with enough calculated geometric information to guide students to create their structure from paper or foam board. The deconstruction process
is animated, so students can see the relationship between a house and the blueprint.

Chad Dorsey to Speak at NSTA Conference

Chad Dorsey, President of the Concord Consortium, will be a featured speaker at the National Science Teachers Association National Conference in San Francisco. Meet Chad and get free science activities on March 10 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. in Room 135 of the Moscone Center. Also, mark your schedule now to attend the Concord Consortium’s other staff presentations throughout the conference. Coming out to California early for the Cyberlearning Tools for STEM Education (CyTSE) Conference? We’ll see you there, too.

SproutCore Enables New Web Innovations

The Concord Consortium has started using the SproutCore JavaScript framework, an open source Web-based application framework backed by a growing community of developers and companies. Originally started by Apple, SproutCore is behind Apple’s online Mobile Me and services. Modern Web-based technologies have the ability to make it easy for teachers and students to use our interactive models and activities. With a growing collection of JavaScript methods and new HTML “tags” that are increasingly supported by modern browsers, Web-based technologies offer a wealth of promising new possibilities.

In order to build an integrated collection of models and content that make use of these possibilities and save learner data, we at the Concord Consortium need a higher-level framework upon which to build. SproutCore contains many of the parts needed for this integrated collection, handling many differences between Web browsers and providing a “data persistence API” that lets us make complex applications run easily in a browser. Most notable is how we can program reusable views of a page that are backed by a shared data model — this enables us to create a wide variety of Web-based resources all using a common set of simulations or pedagogical tools.

SproutCore is relatively new and constantly improving. We look forward to many of the planned features and tools, and are also active participants in the open source SproutCore community ourselves.

Concord Consortium Resources Featured in Mashable has featured Concord Consortium resources in two recent articles: 8 Ways Technology Is Improving Education and 10 Free Online Resources for Science Teachers. Check out scores of activities in our STEM Resource Finder at

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant DRL-0918449. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.