WHAT: Coinciding with Computer Science Education Week, which began Dec. 5, the Cartoon Network—one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies 2016—enlisted a new advisory board of industry and academic experts to help shape its STEAM (science, technology engineering, arts and math) efforts, and introduced a coding project based on its Steven Universe series.
WHO: University of California, Irvine cultural anthropologist Mimi Ito, DIY CEO Zach Klein, National Girls Collaborative CEO Karen Peterson , MIT Media Lab professor of learning research Mitchel Resnick, X (formerly Google X) head of business innovation for robotics Diana Skaar, and creator Rebecca Sugar.
WHY WE CARE: This more formalized arrangement extends the network’s $30 million commitment to STEAM learning that has engaged partnerships with MIT Media Lab’s Scratch project, DIY and Google’s Made with Code to encourage kids to learn coding as a way to craft ideas, stories and art. It’s already among the largest kids’ gaming publishers, with 340 online games and apps geared to helping kids unlock their creativity through technology.
To that end, CN is also using Computer Science Education Week to launch its third CN/Scratch coding project this year—this time with its Steven Universe show. The partnership incorporates STEAM activities based on CN TV series into coding platforms and online communities encouraging children to create and share interactive stories, games, and animations. This project enables fans to use assets from Steven Universe to create themselves and a friend as show characters, and imbue their friendship with special qualities. Sugar’s participation marked the first time a series creator helped develop one of CN’s STEAM initiatives.