Museums and the Web 2005
Demonstrations: Description
Photo Credits

See museum applications demonstrated by the people who created them.

Beyond The Clearinghouse: How Standards Mapping, Evaluation, and Technology Bridged the Curriculum Gap

Sonja Hyde-Moyer, Museum of Science, Boston, USA

Demonstration: Demonstrations - Session 2

As a component of the National Center for Technology Literacy, the Educator Resource Center (ERC) at the Museum of Science in Boston provides educators nationally with a searchable online database of recommended Museum exhibits and activities, programs, print materials, and electronic resources that have been evaluated, rated, and mapped to national and state educational standards, and to grade levels.

In 2001, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to develop statewide curricular frameworks and testing for engineering at all levels K-12. The Museum of Science met the challenge by providing a direct path to relevant, targeted materials, websites, programs and exhibits to help Educators who feel otherwise underserved and ill-equipped to teach to these new standards.

Created to fill the need created by the establishment of the new Technology and Engineering curriculum standards, and with the goal of improving access to our existing science resources, the ERC is a scalable, transferable model that is more versatile and powerful than a conventional clearinghouse. In-depth evaluations of materials give a uniquely relevant view into how a resource might be used in different learning environments. Resource assessments cover usability, standards compliance, whether related teacher support is available, and summary comments from the evaluator.

Differentiating the ERC from existing online databases and clearinghouses is the full text of frameworks and standards documents that is searchable and related to Resource Center materials. Further, rather than simply focusing on books, websites and kits, the database points users to locally relevant assets such as Museum exhibits and programs, as well as Omni Films and planetarium shows. Lastly, the ERC presence is both a physical one on-site at the Museum of Science and online at ( This provides better service to users, whether allowing them to try out science kits at the Museum location, or sifting through a wealth of materials online with the use of a powerful search engine.

The ERC collection is one of the nation's first to focus on engineering and technology education, and includes an extensive knowledge base for curriculum materials and science project resources.

  • It provides localized information, as well as national resources.
  • It maps all resources to state and national standards in Technology and engineering.
  • It provides rigorous and complete ratings/evaluation specifically for and by educators.
  • It searches not only print and multimedia materials, but Museum exhibits and programs, and other resources that are relevant to a particular topic.
  • It is scalable and can extend to any subject area, any geographical area.

The ERC takes advantage of several technological innovations (i.e., full-text depth search) to maximize relevance and breadth in the search results returned to educators. A flexible data storage system allows for a large amount of information to be stored, categorized, and searched. Our system, thereby, provides targeted, comprehensive information to educators of all kinds, whatever their area of interest or grade level.



Features and standards mapping:

Evaluation rubric: