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Boosting K-12 in STEM

Kevin Roebuck
Director, Digital Experience
In a boost for the Immersive Education Initiative of which Project Wonderland and Project Darkstar are accepted development platforms, the Grid Institute has entered into a
Memorandum of Understanding and Commitment with The John C. Ford Program's
Global Education Initiative to formalize a
joint collaboration to further shared objectives, including accelerating
and strengthening the acquisition of Science, Technology, Engineering and
Mathematics (STEM) skills, problem-solving and creative thinking skills in
underserved K-12 and college students, worldwide; achieving and sustaining
the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and UNESCO Education For
All goals; and using innovative technology and Internet solutions for
building healthy, sustainable communities and increased access to critical
knowledge and information, worldwide

Under the terms of the agreement, The Ford Program-GEI
Project will donate 67 STEM programs and associated learning materials and
technologies to the Immersive Education Initiative under an Open
Educational Resources (OER) Creative Commons license. The donation, valued
at $1.2 Million USD, was developed with funding by the United States
Department of Commerce, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Dallas Foundation, COMP
USA, EDS Foundation, Bank of America Foundation, Microsoft Corporation,
Chase Bank and private investors.

The donation provides the Immersive Education Initiative
with a solid base of STEM programs from which a range of next-generation
applied engineering immersive learning experiences will be developed.

The Ford Program-GEI Project is a 501(c)(3) international
NGO donor whose mission is to help build global capacity and healthy,
sustainable communities by strengthening the educational, economic, and
environmental infrastructures of underserved communities, worldwide. The
Ford Program-GEI Project has developed and is a partner in the Global
Science-Engineering TeleCenters Programme, an alliance of private-public
partnerships representing 40 developing countries and over $1.2 Billion
USD leveraged assets to deliver quality STEM programs, and teacher/student
training to all government and municipal-operated public schools in
participating developing countries. To this end, The Ford Program-GEI
Project will grant to the Grid Institute the following donations for use
by the Immersive Education Initiative:

  1. GEI STEM Programs, which includes 67
    interdisciplinary K12-College STEM
    problem-solving programs
    developed by leading educators and engineers with The Ford Program-GEI
    Project, including electronic audio-data [voice and visual] curricula,
    lesson plans, training materials and templates, focused on 12 areas of
    science vital to building healthy, sustainable communities: water
    purification; environmental preservation; alternative energy; prevention
    of communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS, waterborne, childhood and
    other communicable diseases; energy flow through ecosystems;
    eco-design-eco-engineering; wastewater sanitation and treatment;
    agricultural science; irrigation; global warming and climatology;
    aerospace science and technology; and nanotechnology.

  2. New Interactions Applied-Learning
    , which connects, empowers, motivates and accelerates
    the learning of integrated STEM and problem-solving skills by
    underserved youth, K-12-College.

  3. Unlimited Training On The Interactions
    Applied-Learning Pedagogy.

  4. Global eConsultant-Mentors Program,
    with templates for connecting leading engineers, educators and
    executives to mentor disadvantaged, under-served and vulnerable youth
    worldwide, and usage of the Global Science-Engineering

  5. Four Micro-Entrepreneurship
    , including Business Plan Development, Marketing Plan
    Development, Customer-Relations Development, and Business-to-Business
    Sales Development Programs.

Online access to the donated STEM programs and materials
will be staged out over the year 2008. Through the ImmersiveEducation.org
web site, Immersive Education Initiative members will have online access
to approximately 25 of the STEM programs on May 30, 2008, with additional
STEM programs to be available online on December 30, 2008.

Visit ImmersiveEducation.org

About Immersive
Immersive Education (ImmersiveEducation.org) combines
interactive 3D graphics, commercial game and simulation technology,
virtual reality, voice chat (Voice over IP/VoIP), Web cameras (webcams)
and rich digital media with collaborative online course environments and
classrooms. Immersive Education gives participants a sense of "being
there" even when attending a class or training session in person isn't
possible, practical, or desirable, which in turn provides educators and
students with the ability to connect and communicate in a way that greatly
enhances the learning experience. Unlike traditional computer-based
learning systems, Immersive Education is designed to immerse and engage
students in the same way that today's best video games grab and keep the
attention of players. Immersive Education supports self-directed learning
as well as collaborative group-based learning environments that can be
deliv ered over the Internet or using fixed-media such as CD-ROM and DVD.
Shorter mini-games and interactive lessons can be injected into larger
bodies of course material to further heighten and enrich the Immersive
Education experience.

About the Media

The Media Grid is a public utility for digital
media. Based on new and emerging distributed computational grid
technologies, the Media Grid builds upon existing Internet and Web
standards to create a unique network optimized for digital media delivery,
storage, and processing. As an on-demand public computing utility, a range
of software programs and Web sites can use the Media Grid for delivery and
storage of rich media content, media processing, and computing power. The
Media Grid is an open and extensible platform that enables a wide range of
applications not possible with the traditional Internet alone, including:
Massive Media on Demand (MMoD); Interactive digital cinema on demand; Immersive
and distance learning; Truly immersive multiplayer games and
Virtual Reality (VR); Hollywood movie and film rendering, special effects,
and composition; Real-time rendering of high resolution graphics;
Real-time visualization of complex weather patterns; Real-time protein
modeling and drug design; Telepresence, telemedicine, and telesurgery;
Vehicle and aircraft design and simulation; Visualization of scientific
and medical data.

The Grid Institute leads the design and development of the
global Media Grid through the MediaGrid.org open standards organization in
collaboration with industry, academia, and governments from around the
world. To learn more about the Media Grid and Immersive Education
visit MediaGrid.org and ImmersiveEducation.org

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