RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Efforts to create an online portal of North Carolina’s education resources have been enhanced by a $25,000 grant from Cisco Systems to the NC STEM Learning Network.

The grant announced last week will help build the online tool for use by parents, teachers and students interested in learning more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The new site also will have interactive features to allow seamless communication between resources and the public and provide background information on STEM-related careers.

The goal will be to catalog hundreds of education resources available to North Carolina students and connect those resources with local needs in an interactive, cost-efficient manner and is among several tools and resources the NC STEM Learning Network is developing to implement the recommendations of the state’s comprehensive strategy to advance STEM education.

“STEM education is more than science, technology, engineering and mathematics – it’s about strategies that engage minds,” said Dr. Sam Houston, president and CEO of the NC Science Mathematics and Technology Education Center (SMT Center), which oversees the NC STEM Learning Network.

“The Web portal will be an innovative, user-friendly technology that will help parents, teachers and others access existing resources and tools that they may otherwise find difficult to obtain,” added Houston. “We’re excited to partner with one of the world’s leading technology companies to create this portal, and we expect it’ll be a national model.”

In addition to designing and building this portal, the NC STEM Learning Network is working with public and private partners to develop a network of schools and districts to adopt cutting-edge STEM education programs and trainings; create quality standards for STEM education and tools to help schools meet those standards, including professional development for teachers; and promote more public awareness of the essential role STEM education plays in the economic vitality of communities.

The NC STEM Learning Network is a project of the SMT Center in cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the North Carolina Community College System, and UNC System.