Combining Social Tools With User-Generated Links To Create a Storehouse of
Reliable Resources That Are “Reviewed, Rated, and Ready-to-Use”10/07/13
(San Diego, CA) – Today Sally Ride Science announced the launch of STEM Central™, a free web resource for educators and students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) topics and careers. STEM Central offers thousands of links to articles, videos, maps, animations, and other media specifically focused on the needs of educators and students. Users searching STEM Central may apply a wide variety of filters to search by topic, grade level, and media type, ensuring highly targeted results.
“STEM Central is more than a portal to thousands of STEM resources,” says Sheryle Bolton, CEO of Sally Ride Science. “The added value here is that the links are submitted by educators and professionals in the field, and they will be continually reviewed and rated by their peers, delivering a hybrid of curated content and commentary, as well as search and social media. We think teachers will value what other educators have to say about the authenticity and usability of the resources that they find there.”
While attending the NBC Education Nation Summit (http://www.educationnation.com/) in New York, Bolton noted that the current version of STEM Central is only Phase 1. “While we’re delighted to make this content available to schools, this is only the beginning. In Phase 2, teachers at large will be able to contribute their own favorite web resources, add ratings and reviews to content submitted by others, and—perhaps most importantly—share tips on classroom usage for each resource. We want STEM Central to combine the search functionality of Google with the social aspects of Yelp! and Amazon. Users themselves will add resources that they find on the web and contribute insights based on their own experience as educators.”
All content in STEM Central Phase 1 was discovered and submitted by a team of educators, researchers, and STEM professionals engaged by Sally Ride Science to “seed” the site. In Phase 2, coming November 1, STEM Central will open up to submissions, ratings, and reviews from educators worldwide, with Sally Ride Science moderators overseeing submissions for accuracy, clarity and relevance to STEM topics and careers.
The launch of STEM Central is part of the Company’s larger strategy for reaching more teachers and students with usable information on STEM topics and careers, according to Bolton. “We have had tremendous success with our face-to-face professional development programs for educators and our classroom materials for students. But now we are moving all of this online to reach more users and provide a more engaging learning experience for teachers and students. STEM Central will provide one of the key focal points for all of the new business lines that we are developing.”
The need for new STEM resources is clear. Economists predict that over 80% of all jobs in the coming decades will require some kind of STEM background. The Common Core State Standards adopted by 45 states and the Next Generation Science Standards being considered by many of those states both stress college and career readiness. “It is essential,” says Bolton, “for our national well-being, and particularly for individual economic opportunity, that we help prepare students for that reality. We believe that educators will welcome STEM Central as an easy and fun tool to keep kids engaged with STEM subjects, projects, and eventually, STEM careers.”
About Sally Ride Science
Sally Ride Science provides college and career readiness training and tools to build students’ passion for STEM fields and careers. Founded by Dr. Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space, the company brings science to life for upper-elementary and middle school students, and offers professional development via the Sally Ride Science Academy, showing educators how how to incorporate engaging career-focused approaches into their existing instruction. Additionally, Sally Ride Science administers the Sally Ride EarthKAM, a unique NASA-backed educational outreach program enabling students, teachers, and the public to learn about Earth from the unique perspective of space.