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Congressional leaders should increase the development of online STEM learning tools.

Virtual schools, video games, and other software-based learning can play a key role in boosting STEM education. But more and better tools need to be developed. Congress should allocate $20 million to the National Science Foundation for the development of STEM-related learning tools and products that are intended to be disseminated jointly through the nations’ emerging network of virtual schools. Funds would be made available to consortia of virtual schools that apply in partnership with commercial developers of educational products. As an incentive, up to $5M in additional “dissemination” funding for marketing and distribution would be available if the product proves to achieve <g> scores greater than comparable classroom lecture, as measured by NSF’s STEM Test Kitchen.