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Getting kids fired up about learning has always been an uphill battle – even more so when we’re talking about the ‘nerdier’ subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths. Lucky for us, Black Eyed Peas Will.i.am – known to his mother, presumably, as William – is on a campaign to change that.
He’s a man obsessed not only with creating number one hits, but with technology – the guy was tweeting whilst he carried the Olympic torch, remember.
‘American culture celebrates athletes and pop stars because they are cool, exciting and glamorous,’ he continues. ‘No disrespect to my fellow musicians and pro athlete friends, but the sobering reality is that only one in a million, or smaller odds, may make it as a pro athlete or become a world famous musician.’ Which is a hearteningly realistic statement from a man who dresses like someone from the year 3000.
‘I am trying to encourage kids to do something that isn’t yet on their mind because it is not in popular culture,’ he adds.
To that end, i.am has been both raising awareness and also set up a charitable foundation that benefits students in the deprived LA area he grew up in, along with donating £500,000 to the Prince’s Trust to do similar things in London.
It’s a noble pursuit and, if anyone’s going to make technology seem cool to kids, it’s a pop star – thing is, don’t this generation of iPhone-toting, app-building, social networking youths already have a healthy does of respect for tech? Perhaps.
That said, if there’s a way of parleying that reliance on gadgets into a genuine enthusiasm for how they work, then maybe that guy from The Voice really is the man for the job – but it’s up to the government to make sure the STEM subjects are taught properly.