Free search engine connects classrooms with science and technology

Dec 20, 2012

An educational search engine funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) has gone mobile just in time for the holidays with the Dec. 16 release of an iPad app.

Gooru—a free for learning that brings together science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educational materials on the web—developed the Gooru Collections app to bring thousands of assorted to teachers and students on the go.

Launched with initial investment from ONR, Gooru provides a one-stop shop for fifth- to 12th-graders and their teachers to discover and share high-quality videos, games, , quizzes and other interactive products related to STEM and eventually other subjects.

"ONR's STEM efforts are looking for ways to inspire, engage and educate current and future STEM leaders," said Cmdr. Joseph Cohn, ONR's deputy director of research for STEM. "This technology promises to have a broad reach and would facilitate millions of students and teachers in developing a deeper understanding of a range of STEM disciplines."

Last year, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced plans to strengthen the service's future workforce by doubling the investment in STEM education over the next five years. The secretary shared this vision at a conference sponsored by ONR, which coordinates the Navy's STEM efforts and offers a collaborative website at STEM2Stern.org.

ONR's expertise in a variety of STEM initiatives has had a profound influence on Gooru's development, said Dr. Prasad Ram, founder and CEO of Gooru.

"We view our partnership with ONR as going beyond a funding relationship, to leveraging all of ONR's experience in the STEM space to help define, develop and continuously innovate on Gooru," Ram said. "Continued funding from ONR has helped to get us to this point and will allow us to fulfill our mission to bring the highest quality STEM education to every American student."

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.

"The Gooru platform has virtually eliminated many of the obstacles my teachers encounter that prevent significant technological integration to occur [in] today's classroom," said Gregory Green, principal of Clintondale High School in Clinton Township, Mich. "Through Gooru, my can immediately have an extensive online digital resource bank without having to spend countless hours researching and organizing sharable classroom content."

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