Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) drives innovation, promotes economic development, and enhances our understanding of the world, making STEM education a national priority. High-quality STEM education provides students with the knowledge and skills to solve problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information. STEM initiatives at IES advance the study and implementation of effective instructional practices and track improvement in student learning.
Many teachers are turning to technology in the hopes that online programs, apps, and virtual manipulatives can provide differentiated instruction, independent practice, and engaging content for students within their classrooms. In 2011, IES/NCSER supported the development of the KinderTEK program, an iPad application used in Kindergarten classrooms to provide multi-tiered systems of support for students struggling with mathematics. KinderTEK blends focused whole number content and evidence-based instructional design principles with the affordances of iPads to differentiate instruction for each student. Building off of the prior IES/NCSER development grant and an OSEP Stepping Up Technology grant, IES/NCER recently funded the evaluation of KinderTEK in 2017 to examine the efficacy of the intervention in general education Kindergarten classrooms.