Illinois launches STEM website to improve education access

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The Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology on Friday announced a new website for educators, students and families that serves as a central location for STEM news and resources.

The new website provides information on events, news and resources for students of all ages — K-12 through higher education — including career exploration opportunities for students and professional development for educators. Organizers told EdScoop the new portal is an effort to build a statewide community of organizations involved in science and technology education programs.

“It really is a platform and an opportunity for people to learn about the resources available,” Mary Reynolds, DoIT’s group CIO for education, told EdScoop. “And our goal really was to connect multiple areas for the State of Illinois.”

The website serves as a landing page for STEM resources, like career-development events, virtual summer camps and education programs, as well as STEM learning centers at local universities or community colleges.

“It’s a resource-rich environment to develop new pieces that can engage students, whether they’re K-12 or higher ed,” Reynolds said. “And so our interest is to develop this even further and add new resources as the early fall goes on.”

The website also contains resources for educators, like professional development opportunities to help them integrate STEM concepts into their curriculum.

“It really is intended to give educators of all levels those links to organizations that may provide some resources,” Reynolds said.

Students, parents and teachers are also able to provide feedback to the Department of Innovation and Technology on additional resources they would like to see made available.

“It’s an opportunity for people to submit their ideas or questions or suggestions,” she said.

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