As you should know by now, the US has fallen behind in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education efficacy compared to other super powers. A symptom of this problem hits especially close to home, where Minnesota was recently graded 9% on K-12 computer science standards.
And you should also understand how important these disciplines are going to be for us to have a shot at regaining our competitiveness — as a country and a state.
To address this issue head on, a new startup called Logix Learning has introduced a 12-week STEM course for high school level educators and learners. The curriculum has an emphasis on IT/programming — beginning with the basics of computer applications, followed by designing and developing a game, finished with creating a marketing plan for said game. Logix Learningoffers the curriculum, called GAME:IT, built on the open-source Game Maker platform.
The Sartell-based startup was born just over a year ago and is ready to scale up after running extensive tests with high schools around the area; the technology will be demonstrated at next months Minnedemo, held in neighboring St.Cloud.
Prior to co founding the company, President Carter Tatge was a recruiter for higher education and realized the lack of well-prepared IT students. “I kept hearing stories that tech ed isn’t popular in high school anymore–students were moving away from tech,” he says. “I felt like there was an opportunity to reverse this trend using the right approach and technology.”
So for $499/year, he created the GAME:IT curriculum for schools to engage an unlimited number of students. It’s priced significantly less than other options, such as Project Lead The Way, he notes “which can cost thousands to tens of thousands for a license.”
Students going through the GAME:IT curriculum will be assessed on interests in both technology and higher education, which will enable Logix Learning to create a database of a given students relationship to technology — likes and dislikes, for example. This information can be used by high schools, colleges and even future employers. Down the road, Logix Learning plans to roll out a follow up course, and eventually provide the same service for middle and elementary schools.
Other homegrown classroom innovations include: Kidblog.org, Sophia, Naiku and iQpakk. Local technology firms seeking help solve Minnesota’s STEM problem should also familiarize themselves with MHTA’s getSTEM initiative.