I was catching up on my Graham Norton recordings on Sunday. If you have never watched this BBC talk show, you are missing one of the most hilarious shows ever. What they can do and say on BBC talk shows is vastly different from U.S. television, that's for sure! Anyway, one episode had will.i.am as a guest, and I will admit it - I wasn't too excited. I mean, me and rap...not simpatico, so my thoughts were he wasn't going to have much to say of interest to me.
I was however completely wrong and pleasantly surprised.
will.i.am is first, an insanely interesting man. A very funny guy. Hilarious in fact. Gracious as well, and a great story teller (watch the show and hear his tale of horse back riding with Michael Jackson....he even tries to curb his use of the word 'like'....really, hilarious). And, while I am sitting there watching and listening, he went and blew my mind even further by talking about STEM. Yes...Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Honestly - last thing I expected!
Turns out, will.i.am is an amazing supporter of education. Obviously, I have been out of the loop, so I have been doing some research on will.i.am's STEM support. It's fascinating. He's fascinating. He's given $7 million to fund a STEM school in his native L.A., $500K to the Princes Trust in the UK to support students technology skills and he's teamed up with Dean Kamen, the founder of FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology to host a "i.am FIRST -- Science is Rock and Roll,” a groundbreaking, one-hour special promoting education, science and technology. He also partnered with Time Warner Cable to support the "Wouldn't It Be Cool If...." contest for students "to dream up the coolest invention idea to make their lives, communities and even the world more AWESOME".
A man who clearly is giving back to his community above and beyond. I feel guilty now about my initial reaction and want to apologize for that, and then I want to sign up to be part of his STEM team! The things he is doing are so exciting.
So, will.i.am (@iamwill), if you need a former math teacher, current edtech enthusiast and believer in helping students expand their minds with technology and inquiry and innovation, and supporting teachers efforts to do the same, I am available!
Rather than me try to explain all the great things will.i.am is doing, I thought it would be easiest to just provide links for you to discover yourself.
1) Graham Norton Episode - seriously funny!
2) will.i.am/Black Eye Pea website
3) i.am.First TV. Special 7 pm, August 14, ABC
4) Wouldn't It Be Cool If.... Contest winner and other entries and information
5) i.am.First/DipDive Science and Rock and Roll website - great videos and information with other musical stars talking about the science of music.
Now...gotta go load some Black Eyed Peas music on my MP3 player!