JES & Co. has occupied a unique niche in the educational landscape since its establishment in the early 1990’s. JES & Co., through its efforts in co-founding The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, brought together a vast array of participants from all facets of the educational enterprise. Companies such as AOL, Microsoft, SAP, Dell, Apple and Cisco put aside their business self interest to work with COSN, NEA, USDOEd, SREB, SETDA, ISTE, AASL and others members of the public sector to develop a dialogue that would become the vision of what a 21st century education and workforce needs to be.
In 2005, JES & Co. took over the administration of the Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM). GEM was formed in the mid-90s and was originally funded solely by the US Department of Education. With JES & Co.’s leadership, GEM was transformed into The Gateway to 21st Century Skills and boasts a consortium member base of over 700 organizations and universities with close to 50,000 21st century teaching and learning resources. Now sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA), the Gateway serves NEA’s 3.2 million teachers nationwide and remains free to all of its users. With the transfer of GEM to JES & Co., a memorandum of understanding between JES & Co., The Information School at the University of Washington and The Information Institute of Syracuse University formed The GEM Exchange.
The goal of The GEM Exchange is to further develop and promote the use of GEM vocabularies and cataloging tools. Through this joint effort, GEM continues to be the internationally accepted standard for describing learning resources in a way that enabled them to be discovered and shared using terms meaningful to educators. The National Science Foundation granted funds for JES & Co. to take the GEM vocabularies one step further with the creation the Achievement Standards Networks (ASN).
The ASN is a digitized, authoritative collection of academic standards for all fifty of the United States in a machine and human readable format. Globally Unique Identifiers (GUId) enable content creators to describe the objective of learning and teaching resources in terms required by each state. Each identifier resolves to the machine or human readable text.