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Depicting Science, Engineering, and Technology
Blueprint for Action: Education through Entertainment

"The entertainment industry is the biggest education system this country has.”
-- Alan Leshner,
CEO for the
American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Why should the entertainment industry be involved with promoting science, engineering, and technology to young people?

Recent research shows that on a weekly basis, there is only a 12.5 hour difference in the amount of time American teenagers spend at school and how much time they spend watching television. In 2007, the researchers at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons concluded that 14-year-olds who watched 1 or more hours of television daily were at a greater risk for a loss of interest in homework and school, which could result in lower grades. Luckily, times are
Pauley as Abby
As Abby Sciuto on NCIS, Pauley Perrette reminds young people that science is cool!
changing and new shows are popping up that not only showcase science, engineering, and technology, but also make these fields cool and depict them as exciting career fields that young people should WANT to be a part of.

But there is more that can be done! EIC recently hosted a think tank in Washington D.C. that brought together leaders in science, engineering, and technology policy, research, and education to discuss how to engage the next generation in these fields. The call to action resulting from this forum was clear: we need to utilize the power of the entertainment media and social media in order to get kids’ attention, educate them about these fields, and promote positive and encouraging messages about what it means to be a scientist, engineer, or technologist.
 PT Engineering Pub Cover
Find more depiction suggestions in 
Tips for Depicting Science, Engineering and Technology to promote student interest:
  • Consider ways that you can flip the script on the way students who are skilled in science, engineering, and technology are portrayed. Instead of creating a character who is your typical ‘nerd’, think of them as the problem solvers of the school who discover new ways to make life at high school that much better for the student body.
  • Think about how much science, engineering, and technology is already integrated into your work as an entertainment industry professional and consider possibly showcasing these real-life applications as a behind the scenes look at the way a television show is created.
  • These fields are far from dull. When showcasing professionals in science, engineering and technology consider what the newest or next generation of technology would look like and have your characters use them or design them to further engage students in imagining what they could create if they put their minds to it.
Portions of this newsletter were adapted from
EIC's Think Tank on Engineering: Blueprint for Action.
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