SOURCE: Common Sense Media

March 29, 2016 06:00 ET

Common Sense Education Launches NGSS Explorer -- a Teacher's Tool to Bring Next Generation Science Standards to Life

New Common Sense Graphite™ Search and Ratings Tool Enables Educators to Find the Best STEM and STEAM Apps, Websites and Products for the Classroom

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - March 29, 2016) -  Common Sense Education, a nonprofit organization that reviews and rates education apps, games and websites, today introduced the NGSS Explorer, an intuitive and quick search tool for teachers to discover digital STEM and STEAM resources for their science and math classrooms. Guided by the Next Generation Science Standards, the NGSS Explorer identifies education technology that provides students with a cross-disciplinary, inquiry-based approach to science and helps teachers integrate new tools into their lesson plans. The NGSS Explorer and Graphite's library of STEM and STEAM editorial- and peer-based reviews can be found at: https://www.graphite.org/standards/next-generation-science-standards

"Digital technology is a great way to introduce the investigative, practice-based learning the NGSS standards inspire," said Danny Wagner, a former teacher and manager, STEM Content at Common Sense Education. "As educators, we encourage kids to match their technique to the discipline they're learning. Just as scientists use technology to do their jobs, we are helping teachers leverage real-life engineering and scientific best practices with their students."

Support for the development of the NGSS Explorer was provided through a multi-year grant to Common Sense from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Published in April 2013, the NGSS standards are voluntary, rigorous and internationally benchmarked for K-12 education. They were developed with input from 26 states to address a noted deficit in scientific skills among U.S. students relative to the growth of the science and math-based job market. 

To create the NGSS Explorer, Graphite's editorial team reviewed and tagged over 300 edtech products based on a rigorous rubric that indicated conformance to NGSS intent and/or the potential to be used in an inquiry-based science or math environment. With the NGSS Explorer, teachers can search by grade, topic and Performance Expectation (PE) to find relevant, creative tools that pair well with their NGSS-aligned activities, lessons and curriculum. Mapped to each PE, the tool provides three NGSS dimensions -- Science and Engineering Practices (SEP), Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI), and Crosscutting Concepts (CC) -- for quick and easy reference.

In addition to tagging NGSS-relevant teaching tools, Graphite reviewers, many current or former math, science and engineering teachers, provide a practice-oriented editorial review of each app, game or website. There are over 2500 editorial reviews available on Graphite across all K-12 subjects, as well as teacher reviews and lesson plans from a growing community of educators.

Graphite editors also curate "Top Picks" to help teachers further navigate the extensive library of STEM, STEAM and NGSS-identified products.

"Common Sense Education continues to develop resources for educators to match the needs of 21st century students, " said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense. "The NGSS Explorer will help teachers encourage the type of critical thinking and communication skills that students need to be the scientists and engineers of tomorrow."

The NGSS Explorer will be featured during two conference sessions at the ASCD Conference in Atlanta, Ga, April 2-4, 2016. For more on Common Sense at ASCD, check out www.commonsense.org/ascd2016

About Common Sense Education
Common Sense Education provides teachers and schools with free research-based classroom tools to help students harness technology for learning and life. Our K-12 Digital Citizenship curriculum and interactive games teach students how to make safe, smart, and ethical decisions in the digital world. Our educational rating platform, Common Sense Graphite™, helps educators discover, use, and share high-quality digital products that propel student learning. Common Sense Education works with more than 300,000 teacher members in over 100,000 schools to help ensure all children have the opportunity to thrive in the 21st Century. Common Sense is the nation's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families and educators thrive in a world of media and technology. To see all of Common Sense's education resources, visit https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators.

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