Closing the STEM Opportunity Gap with Free Apps for K-5

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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.

STEM Opportunity Gap

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:

  1. Introduce participants to free K-5 resources for building a solid STEM-ready foundation, such as the following:
    • Reading with Reading Records, a digital solution for running records of reading
    • Math with Math Stretch, a suite of early number sense exercises
    • Coding with our latest app, CodeSnaps, a tool for coding in a no-, low-, or high-tech environment
  2. Work individually with attendees to devise an integration strategy that works for their classroom.
  3. Gather feedback and recommendations for future product improvements.

Hope to see you there!

 

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About Author

Lucy Kosturko

Lucy Kosturko is a curriculum development specialist and research scientist with Curriculum Pathways. She primarily develops and evaluates content for the team's suite of mobile applications. She joined the team in 2013 after earning a PhD in educational psychology from North Carolina State University. During her graduate work, she specialized in self-regulated learning, reading comprehension, and educational technology. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their dogs, Pig and Job.

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