On November 17, we held “Math, Science and the Future of Our Nation,” a Global Online Town Hall. This interactive event was powered by Vokle, a new technology that enables panelists and the public alike to participate live in online events via webcam and text comment. The Town Hall was hosted by former VP Al Gore, courtesy of Current TV, and featured special guests Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, inventor Dean Kamen, astronaut Sally Ride, Discovery Channel’s “MythBusters” Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage and Xbox Kinect Creative Director Kudo Tsunoda. For a behind-the-scenes look at the event and the town hall control room, watch Current TV’s recap here.
Why bring all of these folks together? We joined today’s leaders in science and technology with kids from the U.S. and around the world to explore why other countries are outperforming the US in math and science, and how we can shift youth attitudes towards these subjects in order to increase our performance in the global economy.
Sixteen Time Warner Cable locations across the country hosted viewing parties where students, educators and community members watched the webcast and followed up the event with panel discussions featuring local science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experts. To learn more about the Time Warner Cable locations that hosted local viewing parties for the Town Hall, visit our Facebook photo gallery.
Missed the event? Check out our top Town Hall moments, bullet-by-bullet. Then, watch the discussion on demand, on connectamillionminds.com.
Part I: Introduction and America’s Place in the World
- Al Gore asking if kids would rather “grow up to be The Situation from the Jersey Shore, or Steve Jobs in Silicon Valley?”
- Arne Duncan challenging the US to “produce the next generation of scientists and entrepreneurs…to create the new jobs and new technologies of tomorrow”
Part II: Making Dreams Come True
- Student Stephen Koh suggesting to Gore that schools add game design to their curriculum
- Kudo Tsunoda explaining that math principles lie behind every element of game design – from the way characters look, to how the controllers feel
Part III: Are Geeks Cool?
- “MythBusters” co-host Jamie Hyneman telling kids that if he’d realized at a young age how much fun it was to use his brain, he “would have been all over it”
- Ten-year-old Mary Pinnell (of Change the Equation fame) from Lincoln, Nebraska telling Al Gore “I think it’s awesome that we have math”
- Sixteen-year-old student Ren U from Shanghai expressing that while her Chinese peers excel in their studies, they lack the creative streak that American students have: “Chinese people can do very good in calculation, but not in creation.”
Part IV: What Matters to Teens & Wrap Up
- “We choose to go to the moon!” Gore rolling a clip from a famous JFK speech, in which the late president urges Americans to tackle the formidable challenge of space travel.
- Gore quoting NY Times Op-Ed columnist Thomas Friedman, saying “In China, Bill Gates is Britney Spears. In the U.S., Britney Spears is Britney Spears.”
What Next? Follow @ConnectMinds on Twitter to chat about the event using hashtag #FutureOfOurNation. Or, visit “Discuss” on connectamillionminds.com to add your voice to active discussions on STEM-related topics.