The US Office of Naval Research has taken a keen interest in STEM education over recent years, though its efforts have been somewhat under the radar as compared to the higher profile DARPA projects commonly cited in the media. Either way, it showcases the importance of 21st century skills as they relate to national security today and for the foreseeable future, and the ONR has now made available a tool to help connect classrooms to Science and Technology information in a different way than the typical Google search. Its an iPad app called Gooru, and it appears to be worthy of adding to a teacher’s arsenal (sorry) of teaching tools. The Gooru app was formed as a result of a collaboration using Navy’s experience in STEM initiatives and the Goorulearning search engine. A large list of corporate support is displayed on the site, and funds are evident by the ease of use and utility of the app.
So what can it do for you and your students? Gooru “curates, auto-tags and contextualizes millions of STEM related web resources to get the most out of searches. It ranks and suggests items for students and teachers based on usage data, user input, search query logs and social signals” according to the ONR website. So while it is billed as a search engine, it is much more. Gooru makes STEM video resources available within easy reach of teachers and students in a logically organized fashion. It eliminates lots of search time for relevant multimedia, and keeps it handy for future reference. Gooru users can upload their own videos to help out the community of teachers or for the use of their own students. And, common core standards are linked to much of the material to make this essential piece of the educational puzzle more palatable to every teacher. Finally, teachers looking to Flip their classrooms have one less excuse not to make this positive step.
As a source of material for students, Gooru excels. Its collections help students keep track of what they have seen, and includes digital texts, games, quizzes and study guides. For students who are used to learning online Gooru is a fun, engaging way to get what they need to be prepared for class on their own time,, with few distractions that might take them off track.
Gooru has combined a many of the best features of several different applications and classroom tools into one service, easily accessible and free. Like all teachers,you are looking for a ways to save time and make your instructional time more efficient, and Gooru is a good star for the new year.