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DryadLab is an educational extension of Dryad. It consists of hands-on data analysis learning activities for advanced placement, undergrad, and graduate-level courses based on data within the repository. The activities were developed as a collaboration between researchers and educators, and tested by educators in the classroom.

Basic Organization

The DryadLab interface is styled after the main repository, and integrates closely with the main repository. It uses a slightly different theme than the main repository content, indicating to users that they aren't looking at normal data.

Items in DryadLab:

  • cleaned and simplified data (which link to the original data in Dryad)
  • learning objects (which link to simplified data and/or original data)
    • teaching guide
    • student material (e.g., worksheets, instructions)
    • documentation on analysis tools and techniques
    • links to online software or other tools

Items in Dryad:

  • originally published dataset
  • link to published article

Not included:

  • blogs, fancy interactive online tools, student projects and portfolios, teacher forums

Target Datasets

  1. Popular Dryad datasets (based on downloads or citations), particularly those arising from NESCent sponsored scientists (e.g. the educator's resource for the Body Size database)
  2. Datasets of high pedagogical value, such as those prioritized by past NESCent education working groups.


See DryadLab Technology.

Relevant Portions of the Grant Proposal

  • "Datasets of special educational value will be targeted and developed for classroom use through a dedicated education section of the repository."
  • "We will also promote the use of Dryad as an educational tool to teach future scientists about the value of digital data archives."
  • "Datasets of special educational value will receive extra curatorial attention and be presented for student use through a dedicated education section of the repository, acclimating future investigators to a scientific culture in which digitally shared data will play an increasingly important role."
  • "The curators will also target a limited number datasets of special data packages (i.e. those that are frequently downloaded by users, or those that are particularly suitable for educational purposes) for a higher-level of curatorial attention"
  • "DryEd will contain specially prepared datasets designed for student investigations into different aspects of evolutionary biology. Data curators will select a limited number of datasets (1-2 per year) to receive extra curatorial attention, based on popularity or thematic area. Preference will be given to datasets likely to have strong resonance with students (on topics such as the evolution of antibiotic resistance or viral pathogenicity, domestication of companion animals, human origins, origin of life, etc). Curators will work with authors, and with the NESCent Education and Outreach Group, to provide detailed metadata, more extensive background and related material, and a set of suggested exercises appropriate for each dataset. Resources will be targeted at the Advanced Placement, college, and graduate levels. Multiple routes of dissemination will be pursued through the resources of NESCent’s EOG group (see [76])."