No one’s even surprised anymore when you mention that US students are behind other countries in math and science. Is this the new normal? Sure, there are promising signs: President Obama’s 2014 budget does increase STEM education funding by 6.4% to $3.1 billion. And last month, the National Research Council and the National Science Teachers Association teamed up to draft a new set of science standardsin hopes of bringing American students back to the top. But is more money and more standards really the answer, when three decades of standardized tests and billions of dollars have yielded such lackluster results?
That’s why companies like Minneapolis’ Adventium Labs, a consulting and research firm, are looking to fill in the gaps. Although the prototype for their educational iOS game iNeuron was developed with a grant from the National Institute of Health, the company is now using Kickstarter to raise funds to commercialize the product for teachers across the country. It’s looking to raise $25,000 to revamp a rough but endearing prototype it started building before the iPad even existed. Developed in partnership with neuroscience researchers from the University of Minnesota, iNeuron teaches the basics of neuroscience by having students connect different kinds of synapses to complete various brain functions. It looks like one part educational portal, one part puzzle game; Encarta meets Candy Crush.
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