APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey of 2,000 people ages 8 to 18, today's kids spend more than 53 hours a week with digital media. This constant interaction with digital media equates to a full-time job of learning through 'non-traditional' means.
Discovery will leverage its existing reach as a media company with cable networks, including Science Channel - available in 70 million U.S. homes, and an Education division providing multimedia digital services that are used by more than one million U.S. teachers, to raise awareness and interest in STEM using the digital media that today's students are already consuming to deliver STEM content.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
'Head Rush' - Commercial-Free Kids' Science Block:
Science Channel launched Head Rush, a new, commercial-free science education programming block on August 23, 2010, which airs Monday-Saturday on the network. The block targets middle-schoolers and includes content presenting varied STEM topics in an entertaining and interesting manner, vignettes with a female host asking questions of viewers based on information presented during the block, PSA segments with a wide range of notables describing the cool jobs, including video game designer, science magazine editor, President Obama's science advisor that STEM has allowed them to pursue and related online games and content.
Discovery has committed to extend the original six month run of the block to a full year, through August 2011. In addition, Discovery Education will be making the commercial-free kids' block content available directly into the more than half the United States schools that have Discovery Education's online-streaming service. As a result, the content will be available to kids at home in the 70 million homes where Science Channel is available and in school to the 35 million K-12 students whose schools receive Discovery Education's digital services.
The success of the initiative will be measured through monitoring usage and viewership of content by both students and teachers, assessments of student learning and teacher performance, and anecdotal feedback from participating educators.
STEM Connect: A curriculum-based and career development science resource designed to fuel teacher and classroom engagement by helping students link science, technology, engineering and mathematics to the real world through a collection of rich media educational content, career exploration tools, interactives and hands-on activities. STEM Connect is available today.
The Siemens STEM Academy: A national STEM education program for teachers, launched in partnership with the Siemens Foundation, to support educators in their efforts to foster student achievement in STEM, including the first online shared repository of STEM best teaching practices, a National Teacher Academy bringing together science educators from across the country, and an ongoing webinar series featuring leading scientists and experts in their fields. The program launched in 2010.
- Discovery Education Annual Student Science Competitions: Nationwide middle school science competitions. To be held annually.
: In an age when innovation and knowledge are the drivers of economic growth, too few U.S. children are passionate about - or versed in - science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). If this situation is not addressed, the country will not be able to address its most pressing challenges - from energy security to the environment to urban development.
In 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education released the 'A Nation at Risk' report that documented a decline in American educational achievement, warning that, 'Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world.'
Over two decades later, very little has changed. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, almost one-fifth of fourth-graders and almost one-third of eighth-graders scored below the basic level of achievement on national assessments. The United States ranks 21st of 30 OECD countries in scientific literacy, and U.S. students scored below the OECD average in math literacy.
Even as the promise of scientific innovation has exponentially increased, American students have lost interest in science, technology, engineering, and math. According to the National Science Foundation, between 1960 and 2001, the number of U.S. bachelor or graduate degrees awarded in engineering, math, or physical sciences had dropped by 50 percent, from one out of every six to one out of every 10 of all degrees awarded in our country.
This is happening at a time when the country badly needs STEM professionals. Over the next decade, baby boomer retirements will cut the science and engineering workforce in half. Meanwhile, according to the National Science Foundation, jobs in science and engineering will increase three times faster than jobs in every other sector.
SEEKING: Implementing Partners
Discovery is seeking distribution partners to ensure that the commercial-free kids' science programming block component of the 'Be The Future' initiative is available to as many kids as possible. As part of the Discovery's commitment, multichannel distributors have the opportunity to make Science Channel available to all of their customers at no additional cost. Making the block available to more households, beyond affluent homes with digital cable and satellite packages, will enable the initiative to reach a broader base of kids who are most in need. Additionally, Discovery is seeking partners who wish to sponsor or co-develop additional STEM-related competitions and events similar to Discovery's partnerships with 3M and Siemens to hold the annual 'Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge' and 'Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge,' respectively.
OFFERING: Media/Marketing Opportunities
Discovery Communications reaches one million K-12 teachers and 35 million K-12 students through its Discovery Education streaming platform. Additionally, the Discovery Education website is a hub for more than 125,000 teachers who share best practices and access resources as part of the Discovery Educator Network. Discovery is seeking partners who would want to leverage these platforms to deliver content or information to these groups as part of an effort to promote and encourage STEM education.