News

Getting Kids Psyched for Science

5/18/2010 2:47 PM Eastern

What if kids obsessed about
physics the way they do about Facebook?

What if every computer, iPod and TV
became an exciting place to learn?

Could we unleash the next great generation
of scientific advancement?

At Discovery Communications, we
believe we can — and that our industry
can play a leading role.

Today America faces a serious
challenge. In an age when
innovation and knowledge are
drivers of economic growth,
too few of our kids are passionate
about — or versed in
— science, technology, engineering
and math (STEM).
U.S. students are scoring far
below their global peers in
math and science. Far too few
are choosing STEM careers.

If we don’t find a way
to inspire our students, we
won’t be able to engineer our
way out of our most pressing
challenges, from energy security to preserving
the environment.

As the No. 1 nonfiction media company
in the world, Discovery is excited to be a
part of President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate”
initiative, which has spurred private,
public and non-profi t partnerships
to restore America’s place as a global
leader of scientifi c achievement.

And we’re not alone. Time Warner Cable
has announced a five-year, $100 million
program, “Connect a Million Minds,”
to inspire students to pursue learning opportunities
and careers in STEM.

But we have a lot more to do.

The cable industry is ideally positioned
to make science enticing for today’s generation
of texting, tweeting, digital kids.
We possess the multimedia resources
to craft compelling, relevant content for
young people and we have the ability to
reach them wherever they learn.

That’s the spirit behind Discovery’s new
multiyear initiative “Be the Future.”

As the leading broadband educational
service in classrooms today, Discovery
Education streaming delivers a digital
curriculum solution to over half of all
U.S. schools, bringing learning to life for
millions of students. Discovery Education
serves up an array of dynamic multimedia
content aligned to state standards
— featuring over 150,000 videos, interactives,
articles and more. For a unit
on natural disasters and their impact
on the environment, a science teacher
can download a three-minute
clip that takes students
on a tour of the world’s volcanoes
and interactives that
show students how eruptions
occur.

Outside of the classroom,
Discovery is working to bring
our rich, educational programming
to as many families as
possible. In partnership with
Comcast Indianapolis, families
now have access to compelling
educational VOD content
through Discovery Education
on Demand by Comcast.

This summer, we’ll introduce
a commercial-free kids’ block
on the Science Channel, featuring the
popular MythBusters, testing hypotheses
and the science behind them.

We’re offering this content free to all
cable providers in the hopes that they
open up our programming to more of
their customers and we’re thrilled that
some distributors have already taken
advantage of this opportunity. DirecTV
has made Science Channel more widely
available, and Cablevision Systems —
with their strong interest in education
and science literacy — has made the service
available to a large majority of their
subscribers, giving the “gift of science”
to the customers they serve.

As more of our affiliate partners offer Science
Channel more widely, we’ll present
new content with leading creative minds
and award-winning Hollywood directors.

Together, we can inspire kids with a lifelong
passion for science, technology and
innovation. Let’s rise to our national challenge
and make the “what ifs” a reality.


David Zaslav is president and CEO of
Discovery Communications.
September