It's no secret: there is a growing gap between the number of STEM jobs available and the number of workers qualified to fill them. Of even greater concern is the under-representation of women and minorities in STEM careers compared to the general population. Organizations like Change the Equation and the Department of Education attribute this discrepancy to a lack of STEM opportunities and engagement for women and minorities in the United States. For example, these organizations identify a lack of preparation among elementary school teachers to encourage female participation in STEM. In addition, they note that novice teachers are more likely to teach STEM courses at high-poverty schools, meaning that students in such schools are likely recieving a less-than-equitable education compared to their more affluent counterparts. Lastly, minority students are woefully underrepresented in STEM AP courses.
Technology, known to some as "the great equalizer," has shown promise in reducing America's achievement gap. In fact, The US Office of Educational Technology identifies free STEM software, like Curriculum Pathways, as a potential solution for closing the opportunity gap. However, technological promises are contingent on equitable access to content. Otherwise, edtech solutions run the risk of widening the achievement gap by widening the opportunity gap.
At Curriculum Pathways, we remove the financial barrier to high-quality education software. As part of a STEM-based company, we are particularly interested in fostering the development of tomorrow's STEM leaders. Furthermore, we recognize the breadth of technology being deployed in schools and the need for cross-platform, device-agnostic resources. Our hope is that any student, regardless of geographic location or socio-economic status, in any school, regardless of technology implementation, can take advantage of our resources.
Interested in learning more? Are you attending ISTE this year in Denver? If so, swing by our poster session, Closing the STEM Opportunity Gap with Free Apps for K-5, on Tuesday, June 28 from 10:30 am–12:30 pm MDT. During this poster session, we hope to achieve three overarching goals:
- Introduce participants to free K-5 resources for building a solid STEM-ready foundation, such as the following:
- Work individually with attendees to devise an integration strategy that works for their classroom.
- Gather feedback and recommendations for future product improvements.
Hope to see you there!