New Digital Tool Helps Teachers Locate STEAM-Related Materials

Common Sense Education has launched a digital search tool designed to help teachers find science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) resources for their science and math classes. Called the NGSS Explorer, the tool is designed to identify materials that are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

NGSS Explorer is a companion tool to Common Sense Education's Graphite digital rating platform designed to help educators locate resources across a wide variety of subjects and areas.

Teachers can use NGSS Explorer to search for materials by grade, topic and a Performance Expectation measure determined by Graphite editors. In addition to the tagged materials, Graphite reviewers — current and former math, science and engineering teachers — provide editorial reviews of each app, game or Web site in the collection, amounting to more than 2,500 reviews. Editors also have curated "top picks" to help teachers find the best of STEAM and NGSS-identified products.

The NGSS standards were developed in 2013 to create benchmarks for the science- and math-based skills students in the United States should acquire before they finish school.

"Digital technology is a great way to introduce the investigative, practice-based learning the NGSS standards inspire," said Danny Wagner, manager of STEM content at Common Sense Education, in a prepared statement. "As educators, we encourage kids to match their technique to the discipline they're learning. Just as scientists use technology to do their jobs, we are helping teachers leverage real-life engineering and scientific best practices with their students."

NGSS Explorer was developed with the help of a grant from the Carnegie Corporation.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.