Site offers point-and-click help for teachers

The Education Department on Thursday unveiled an online tool designed to help teachers quickly sift through the thousands of education resources available on the World Wide Web and select the best one for their students.

Education's Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) includes instructional materials from more than 140 federal, state, university, nonprofit and commercial organizations. The site, at www.thegateway.org, is designed for teachers to enter a topic, grade level and other information into a search screen that retrieves lessons, instruction units and other free educational materials that fit the search criteria.

"It's no surprise that one of the most popular uses of [the Web], among teachers, is searching for resources that can help students learn," Education Secretary Richard Riley said in a statement announcing the initiative. "But finding the right resource on a particular topic for your students can take time. And time is in short supply for our teachers. That's one reason GEM is so important."

GEM includes more than 7,000 items, and hundreds of new resources and new consortium members will be added each month. The new site differs from the Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (www.ed.gov/free) because FREE focuses only on teaching and learning resources that were created with federal support.

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