Personalized learning site Alleyoop boosts science content with NASA, Nat Geo

Hoping to encourage the next generation of astrophysicists, engineers and biologists, gamified learning platform Alleyoop is bulking up its science content with a handful of top-notch partners.

The education startup backed by publishing giant Pearson(s PLC) on Thursday said it was expanding its STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) options through partnerships with NASA eClips, National Geographic, National Science Foundation, Scientific Minds, Patrick JMT, Virtual Nerd, Adaptive Curriculum and Brightstorm.

Much of the new content includes videos that may supplement students’ in-classroom study or provide breaking science-related news, as well as video lessons, quizzes, flashcards and other assessments.

For Alleyoop, which wants to help students prepare for college with customized and gamified interactive subject-based content, the additional content provides a way to put individual lessons in a real-world context.

“We think science is a really interesting way to start embedding some of the 21st century skills,” said Gerard LaFond, VP of marketing for Pearson Education, adding that it provides students with complex situations, the opportunity to apply the scientific methods, and a chance to deepen critical thinking skills. It could also help parents re-engage students in their academic subjects.

“Parents have given us a lot of feedback that science is something their kids are interested in and it’s an interesting way to get them into school again — because it’s applied,” said LaFond, adding that it puts lessons into a real-world context and  encourages people to build a reliance on startups they might already have.

The increased focus on STEM is particularly important given the amount of STEM jobs reports say are needed by the economy. A report this year from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology said that if the United States is to maintain its historic leadership in the STEM fields — and gain the related social, economic and national security benefits — then the country must produce about 1 million more workers in those fields over the next decade than we are currently on track to generate.

Image by Jose Antonio Perez via Shutterstock