As stated in a recent U.S. News article, “For the United States to remain the global innovation leader, we must make the most of all of the potential STEM talent this country has to offer.” However, according to an ASQ survey, today’s young people seem reluctant to pursue STEM careers and education programs. The ASQ study also notes 51 percent of students say they “spend more time after school on the computer, browsing the Internet or playing games, than on schoolwork, such as studying and reading.”
To help bridge that gap, Cable in the Classroom (CIC) has harnessed broadband’s learning potential to create an online game aimed at middle school and older students called Coaster Crafter: Build. Ride. Scream!
Combining both computer gaming and STEM education concepts, Coaster Crafter embeds the activities of designing, building, testing, and then taking a virtual ride, into a personalized roller coaster. Set in a virtual amusement park, these custom-designed roller coasters help stimulate kids’ interest and engagement in science and math. And really, who doesn’t love a roller coaster?
Coaster Crafter is an excellent example of the catalytic power of cable broadband when it’s combined with great digital content and curious kids. CIC’s emphasis on STEM also is reflective of the cable industry’s overarching commitment to STEM education. Cable industry companies such as Time Warner Cable and Discovery Communications have created national initiatives to increase the number of kids interested in STEM careers. And as an industry serving consumers through innovative technology, cable itself has a vested interested in STEM success in the U.S.
This is CIC’s fourth online learning game for students. Previous games have included: eLECTIONS: Your Adventure in Politics (now updated for 2012), Shakespeare: Subject to Change, and the weather game WindWard.
The author, Carson Ward, is a summer intern at NCTA. She will be a rising junior this fall at the University of Maryland at College Park.