Expansion of services planned for GEM Portal
Expansion of services planned for GEM PortalApril 05, 2005Edward Byrnesedbyrnes@syr.edu
The Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM), already one of the most popular Internet destinations for teachers, will introduce new options and services in the coming months designed to provide improved searches, added flexibility and personal interaction. The new features are part of a reorganization process that will also improve and expand services to groups hosting or contributing to the rapidly growing collection of high-quality lesson plans, reference materials and other exemplary educational resources.
“The Gateway’s success and growth over the past three years encouraged us to reconsider how the project should be funded and managed,” says R. David Lankes, director of Syracuse University’s Information Institute of Syracuse (IIS), GEM’s home since 1996. “We need to transition to a consortium model that embraces a wide range of funding sources, that facilitates rapid development of new technologies and capabilities, and that reflects an increasing emphasis on academic standards as an integral part of the Gateway’s search and retrieval functions.”
Originally developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, GEM has grown from a collection of 700 lesson plans in 1998 to the current digital library of more than 42,000 resources from more than 700 providers, including PBS, NASA, The Smithsonian and many others. The GEM Web site’s popularity among teachers is due to the quality of resources it houses, its organization of educational materials and its search technologies, which provide much more precise and relevant results for teachers than general Internet search engines.
The transition to the next version of GEM Portal will be directed by the GEM Exchange, a partnership of JES & Co., a non-profit organization with extensive experience in academic standards and organizational management; the IIS; and the Information School at the University of Washington, which will continue to oversee the development of new services provided by the Gateway on behalf of the consortium members. The next release will include an individual personalization space for teachers and the ability to create and share information about the available resources, including alignment to state and national standards. Access to the GEM portal by teachers will remain free.For more information, see http://thegateway.org , or call Marilyn Tickner, GEM project representative, at (315) 443-3640.