Discovery Launches 'Be the Future' Initiative in Response to President's Call to Action
Science education promises to be critical to American competitiveness on the world stage in the 21st century, and President Barack Obama recently delivered a call to action to promote science literacy and to encourage student interest in the sciences and technology. Discovery Communications, in keeping with its commitment as a leader in science-related programming and education, has announced a long-term initiative known as "Be the Future."
The "Be the Future" Initiative will rely on two Discovery properties, Science Channel, a cable television network dedicated entirely to exposing viewers to the wonders of science and nature, and Discovery Education. The company will also partner with satellite TV giant DirecTV and Siemens, a standard bearer in technology research, development, and manufacturing, to bring all planned components of the multimedia initiative to fruition.
"Be the Future" will, over the course of the next five years, come to include all of the following:
- A commercial-free kids' block on Science Channel, aimed at middle-school students, which will air Monday through Saturday on the network beginning in 2010;
- STEM Connect: available now, through a collection of rich media educational content, career exploration tools, interactive materials, and hands-on activities, this new resource is designed to fuel student engagement by helping link science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to the real world;
- Annual student science competitions, with STEM initiatives woven into Discovery's annual nationwide middle school science competitions, the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge and the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge;
- The Siemens STEM Academy: Partnering with the Siemens Foundation, beginning in January Discovery Education will launch a national STEM education program for teachers, including an online, shared repository of STEM best teaching practices, a National Teacher Academy bringing together science educators from across the country, and an ongoing Webinar series featuring leading scientists and experts in their fields;
- A "Be the Future" PSA and campaign, featuring personalities from Discovery's networks discussing the importance of STEM education and research in everyday life and encouraging students to pursue careers in the sciences;
- Yearly "Be the Future" programming events, with major science series and specials developed for the Science Channel, Discovery Channel, and other Discovery networks; and
- A comprehensive science education research study, spearheaded by Discovery, to understand the critical role media can play in the quest to inspire students to pursue STEM opportunities.
In addition, DirecTV will move Science Channel from its Choice Plus package to its far more widely subscribed Total Choice package, ensuring that all students in its subscriber audience can benefit from the new programming and events.
Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.