With educators and legislators in New Hampshire hoping to give toddlers and elementary school students early encouragement in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines, a private company, Learniverse LLC, has teamed with New Hampshire Public Television to offer a free online video learning program aimed at Pre-K to second graders.
NHPTV debuted its free, STEM-focused online video series in February.
Learniverse funded the series, titled STEM from the START, and provided the concept -- based around a group of animated characters called "the Quinks." Rather than parking kids in front of the computer to watch the videos, the series is intended for parents, educators and after-school care providers to work with the kids on the basic concepts and problems presented in the videos.
NHPTV streams the videos on its website at no cost.
New Hampshire, like several other states in the wake of an initiative by the federal government, is putting more emphasis on teaching STEM topics to school-age children in the hopes of getting more of them to pursue careers in these fields once they're grown. The state has a STEM task force dedicated to this goal. "All children, regardless of life circumstances, deserve every opportunity to go after the best and most rewarding careers. I feel responsible for supporting all statewide efforts that support children's success in STEM," said Lauren Provost, director of science and technology outreach at Dartmouth College and a member of the task force, in an interview with the New Hampshire Union-Leader.
While the online video initiative could provide a real boost to STEM education in the state, New Hampshire's residents may still encounter roadblocks when it comes to accessing that video. The FCC's latest Measuring Broadband America report was unable to determine an average downstream broadband speed for the state in 2014 due to a low sample size. While broadband providers like FairPoint do operate in the state, low-income residents may not be able to afford high-speed Internet services -- potentially putting a roadblock in the way as the state tries to reach all its early elementary aged kids.
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