The answer? No clue. So, if you’re wondering what web site I’m talking about, take a look at www.gmability.com/education. GM-what? GMability. As in, General Motors, ability, is able, can-do. Yeah, it’s a stretch for a name, which could be part of the reason why this site isn’t known by more people.
GMability is a "thing" that’s focused on the environment, advanced technology, community involvement, and (what?) education. The bulk of the site is GM, trying to shout over the din of anti-automotive/anti-manufacturing voices on lots of public policy stuff. Then, nestled right in there is this really cool web site where kids can learn about the science behind greenhouse gases, fuel cell technology, satellites and even how cars are designed in a digital world.
The articles are driven by lesson plans that meet national curriculum standards, but are written for kids, and also feature videos, games and activities that bring the lesson to life. GM pays Weekly Reader to research topics and match up the standards so that this web site can be used by teachers in classrooms. Then, they pay to have it all converted to this web site.
Why does General Motors do this? Heck, I worked on the project, and I can’t even tell you why, clearly. There’s a group of people at GM that believe in giving back to the community, and creating useful materials so that children can enjoy their education. Maybe, they hope, one day, these kids will grow up to buy GM vehicles. A few are even more hopeful, believing that parents will be diligent enough to look over their children’s shoulders and notice that they’re on a GM web site. It’s a stretch, but a worthwhile one. Will this work? Check back in 10 years when today’s fifth-graders are buying their first new car. Will it be a hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle?