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Switch-Backed Startup Brings Multimedia Science Education to Nevada

Courtesy Planet3

A new education company with some big-name tech and science backers aims to bring immersive, multi-media science learning into schools, starting with Nevada public schools. 

Led by former National Geographic Society president Tim Kelly. Staffed by nationally known game designers and education experts. $10 million in launch funding from Switch CEO Rob Roy, who will also serve as chairman. Science education company Planet 3 is generating some serious buzz, but even still, achieving its goals will be a challenge. The company plans to combine multi-media storytelling and game design to

“tell real stories that we think make learning science, technology, engineering, science, arts and math more interesting. A lot of kids think they’re not really interested in science or technology – by 5th grade they think it’s not for them. But I think that’s mostly because of how they’re taught.”

Planet 3’s K-12 instructional modules will run on any digital platform. Kelly says the plan is to take advantage of the current shift toward digital tools in schools to create digital-first instruction that ties science learning to the world around us. He says the idea is to provide context and immediacy that takes science learning far beyond the traditional textbook.

“It’s hard to hand a digital native a textbook and hope that’s gonna be effective. Even if you put it in digital form on a laptop, it’s still kind of limited as far as how excited kids are gonna get about what it is you’re trying to teach them.”

The company’s first product focuses on middle school earth, life and physical sciences. And its first beta testers will be Nevada’s public schools, which will begin testing the curricula in Spring 2016. 

Amy Westervelt is a former contributor at KUNR Public Radio.
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