New science teaching tools shown at NSTA conference
Nurturing and showcasing STEM talent
A new company called STEMlete discussed its free online community for students who are serious about STEM careers. The website, www.stemlete.org, gives users a way to connect, share, and collaborate with others who have similar interests around the world.
The site also gives companies a way to track the top STEM talent at high schools and universities, said founder Peter Lierni. “When LeBron James was in high school, everyone knew who he was,” Lierni said. He envisions STEMlete as a means of helping the future stars of STEM-related fields get the same kind of recognition afforded to elite athletes.
STEMlete.org has been in alpha testing until now. When it officially launches April 23, it will include profiles of more than 300 students from 30 countries, Lierni said.
Other new science curriculum products
Exo Labs demonstrated a camera that attaches to a microscope and plugs into an iPad or iPhone, and an app that lets you stream images from the microscope, annotate them, take time-lapse photos, measure distances with the touch of your finger, and more.
ExploreLearning showed its iPad app for Gizmos, which are interactive, online simulations for math and science education in grades 3-12. Gizmos help students develop a deep understanding of challenging concepts through inquiry and exploration—and ExploreLearning is working to make these compatible with Chromebooks as well.
It’s About Time, which publishes project-based STEM curricula, has partnered with Kno to put its curriculum resources on Kno’s interactive eBook platform. The Kno platform includes features such as journaling, social sharing, data analytics, and a personal student dashboard.
Late Nite Labs demonstrated its online lab simulation software, which it describes as “like a flight simulator for science.” Labs are available for chemistry, biology, microbiology, and physics—and the software lets you conduct experiments with state-of-the-art virtual equipment, with an unlimited supply of materials. Each lab manual includes background information, procedures, and a note-taking section for students.
Ward’s Science also highlighted a product called Digital Slides, which the company described as “like Google Earth for your microscope slides.” It’s a collection of digitized slides that allows for deeper exploration and analysis; students can zoom in up to 1,000 times, and—as with the Exo Labs camera—they can annotate images, measure structures on the screen, and more. Sets are available for middle and high school life sciences, AP biology, and introductory college biology.
WeatherBug showcased a new solution for tracking lightning strikes, WeatherBug Total Lightning. The product includes a weather station and high-definition roof camera that let schools track their own weather data and broadcast live footage across their network. It also features a unique lightning detection and alerting system, designed to warn school leaders whenever a lightning strike is likely within 10 miles of the building. The product doubles as an advance warning system and a teaching tool, WeatherBug says.
Follow Editorial Director Dennis Pierce on Twitter: @eSN_Dennis.