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Better STEM instruction requires better STEM tools
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Paving the Way for Better STEM Instruction

Since EDC launched the Oceans of Data Institute last summer, Kim and I have been calling for the development of online interfaces and tools that can bring authentic data sets—the kinds used by NASA and NOAA—into classrooms. We even penned a report with guidelines about what a student-friendly interface should look like.

Imagine our excitement when we learned that Congress was interested in this issue, too.

Thanks to efforts by Massachusetts Representative Katherine Clark, an amendment endorsing the development of data-rich tools has been added to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2014. Kim and I were honored to work with Rep. Clark's staff on the wording of the amendment, which calls for "the development of tools and interfaces that make publicly available observational data sets more easy to access, analyze, manipulate, and understand for students, teachers, and the American public at large, with a particular focus on K-12 and undergraduate STEM education settings."

The Act has already passed the House of Representatives. Should it also pass the Senate, it would mark a big step for K-16 STEM education in the United States. We applaud Rep. Clark for raising the issue of STEM education on such a big stage.

Building a more data-literate population begins in the classroom. With more attention being paid to developing tools that can bring real data into real classrooms, we are that much closer to better STEM instruction for all. 

Best,
Ruth Krumhansl, Director
Kim Kastens, Principal Scientist
The EDC Oceans of Data Institute

In August, ODI will be hosting a panel of experts to create a profile of a "big data-enabled professional." Interested? Learn more about the panel, or sign up to review the panel's findings. Finally, follow us on twitter for updates!
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