The learning platform Alleyoop is collaborating with NASA and other institutions to get kids to consider STEM careers.
How do you get young people excited about space? How do you get them interested not just in watching movies about space, or in playing video games set in space ... but in space itself? And how, while we're at it, do you inspire them to love math and science? How, in fact, do you get them to consider pursuing careers in engineering and tech?
Today, the gamified learning platform Alleyoop is offering one answer to those questions: It's announcing a collaboration with NASA. And with National Geographic. And with the National Science Foundation. And with Scientific Minds. And with a host of other outlets that produce content focused on science, technology, engineering, and math -- the STEM literacies.
The Pearson-owned Alleyoop, which uses a direct-to-student and direct-to-families education model, will offer videos and other interactive content from its new partners, integrating that content into its student-driven approach to learning.
With its new teaching tools, "I think there's a big opportunity for us to pique interest in younger kids," Gerard LaFond, Alleyoop's VP of marketing, told me. And that's significant, because the point of the new partnerships isn't (just) to extend Alleyoop's educational offerings; it's also, both more specifically and more broadly, to encourage students to consider pursuing careers in the STEM fields. Earlier this year, a report distributed by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology made a dire assessment: If the U.S. wants to keep benefitting from its historical leadership in the STEM fields, it will have to produce one million more workers in those fields than it's currently on track to produce. And it must generate those workers over the next decade alone.