After two years of discussion, consultation, planning, and development - and considerable patience on the part of our members, regions, volunteers, and supporters - we launched the new Youth Science Canada web site on March 1st. In reality, our new web presence is actually six interconnected sites - one for each of our key programs - plus an organizational site that focuses on our overall mission of engaging youth through science in inquiry and critical thinking. If you haven't already discovered it, that white button in the upper right corner is actually a menu - the gateway to all 7 sites and a starting point for exploring what Youth Science Canada is all about.
While the site's launch marks the end of one phase, it marks the beginning of another - one that we think will be more engaging, interactive, and fun. As you explore, you'll see that there are still areas that are waiting for content, so we're asking for your patience just a bit longer. In a few months we expect that our site(s) will be a rich and dynamic hub for youth science in Canada, from the science fairs program and the Canada-Wide Science Fair, to Team Canada representing the nation at international youth science events, and our national awareness programs. Be sure to explore Smarter Science, which offers a leading-edge framework for teaching and learning through inquiry and project-based science. It's taking off across Ontario, with 19 of the 20 largest school boards already engaged and interest growing across Canada and around the world, including a feature spot in the new international program of the National Science Teachers' Association (NSTA) Conference in San Francisco next week.
Sitting quietly (for the moment) at the bottom of the menu is SMARTS - our online community for youth ages 13-18 with an interest in science and technology. It's just moved into beta testing and is awaiting its final graphic design, and we're looking forward to its official launch in May at the 50th annual Canada-Wide Science Fair in Toronto. What began in 2006 as a 16 year-old science fair participant's effort to help other kids get started on projects, SMARTS will be re-born as a platform for youth to connect with science - and each other. We're thrilled that SMARTS founder Joshua Liu, who's now in med school at UofT, is advising the development team, along with a team of youth who are busy putting the site through its paces.
If you've been with us for a while, thanks for your patience as we worked on the new web presence. We hope you like it and that you'll agree it was worth the wait.