Gateway to Educational Materials Portal to Expand

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Information Institute of Syracuse forms transition team to manage and develop new web site features and member services

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Syracuse Mar 25, 2005 The Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM), already one of the Internetâ??s most popular destination web sites for teachers, will introduce new options and services in the coming months designed to provide better searching, added flexibility and personal interaction, according to officials from the Information Institute of Syracuse, GEMâ??s home since 1996. 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.

Originally developed with funding by the United States Department of Education, GEM has grown from a collection of 700 lesson plans in 1998 to a digital library featuring over 42,000 resources today from over 700 providers including PBS, NASA, The Smithsonian and many others. The GEM websiteâ??s popularity among teachers is due to the quality of resources it houses, its organization of educational materials, and search technologies that provide much more precise and relevant results for teachers than general Internet search engines.

â??The Gatewayâ??s success and growth over the past three years encouraged us to reconsider how the project should be funded and managed,â?? noted R. David Lankes, director of the Information Institute of Syracuse. â??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 Gatewayâ??s search and retrieval functions,â?? he continued.

The transition to the next version of The Gateway to Education Materials 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 Information Institute of Syracuse, and the Information School at the University of Washington, who 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 continue to be free.

For more information, see http://thegateway.org, or visit JES & Co.â??s website at http://www.jesandco.org

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