VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- The nationwide STEM initiative has found a prominent place in headlines and conversations, particularly because President Obama has pushed the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics career paths during the past few years.
That push comes with good reason.
Growth in STEM job opportunities is expected to explode, but without enough qualified candidates to fill positions, the country, as a whole, runs into a problem.
Ed Harvey of Advanced Training & Learning Technology is part of the solution.
Harvey took what he learned working in the defense industry training U.S. Navy sailors and adapted it to teach and to excite young people about STEM opportunities.
The founder of STEMprovement said, “The first step to increase the production pipeline is to increase the input, and the input is the number of students that master algebra. The best thing to do is attack the problem at the middle school level.”
Ed and his team reformatted defense industry software and gave it a new purpose, developing The Lost Function, an in-depth, fully operational video game for children.
The game acts as a virtual tutor, helping diagnose students’ weak areas, advising remediation, and then helping to increase their scores across the board.
While it has a look and storylines similar to other video games, it requires students to master math problems in order to proceed to higher levels within the game.
Harvey told 13News Now that only a quarter of students in the country ultimately get a degree in a STEM discipline.
"What we want to do is increase from one out of 25 to two out of 25 that make it to STEM degree," explained Harvey.
He explained the low ratio largely has to do with the fact that students forget what they learned in middle school.
"It wasn't that they were taught Algebra One poorly. It was just that it had been such a long time since they had been taught Algebra One, by the time they got to college they had forgotten most of what they learned.”
The Lost Function is available for all students, especially those who are in high school looking to take college entrance and placement exams.
More information about the quest to put students on the path to STEM success can be found on Harvey's company's Web site.