LIA Project Illuminates Science and Technology
At first sight, Lia looks like an ordinary teenager with her dyed hair and eccentric wardrobe. But while her modern appearance was designed by the folks at FableVision to represent what students are into nowadays, her interests could hardly be more different. Lia, whose name stands for “light in action,” is interested in science. This technology-savvy 14-year-old is the center of the LIA Project (www.liaonline.com), a comprehensive cross-media initiative to attract young people, especially girls and minorities, to science and technology studies.
“Our goal is to be instantly accessible to girls and minorities,” says Paul Reynolds, president of FableVision. Fueled by statistics which show that girls’ and minorities’ interests in science and technology are low, FableVision partnered with Boston University’s Photonics Center and College of Communication to create the LIA Project. More than 52 Boston University faculty members from the areas of physics, engineering, chemistry, nanotechnology and astronomy lent their expertise to the project’s curriculum.
The focus of the LIA Project is photonics (i.e., the science of light). Since photonics interacts with today’s tech-savvy students when they use the Internet, CDs or DVDs, handheld gaming devices, PDAs, and movie special effects, the study of technology and science is ever pertinent to students’ daily interactions. Accordingly, the LIA Project curriculum incorporates a blended learning approach that utilizes the Web, CD-ROMs, handhelds and cell phones.
Ultimately, the LIA Project will extend beyond the classroom to include mall and museum road shows, books, and broadcast displays. Tangible products are expected by fall 2005. Besides technology and science, Reynolds reiterates that the goal of the LIA Project is synchronous with FableVision’s overarching vision: “To help all learners navigate their true potential.”
- Annamaria DiGiorgio
This article originally appeared in the 09/01/2004 issue of THE Journal.