As part of the Shuttleworth Foundation, Hip2be2 (Hip to be Square) launched in 2002 with an aim of getting South African high school students interested in the subjects of math and science. These subjects, traditionally seen as difficult by most students are made fun and interesting with Hip2be2’s unique take on them.
By approaching these subjects with an “edutainment” approach, they are speaking to kids on their level and making math and science fun again. With South Africa scoring the lowest of the 50 countries that participated in the International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) this is an area where great change is needed. http://www.itec.org.za/ With Hip2be2, the Shuttleworth Foundation is attempting to do their part. AllAfrica.com quotes Mark Shuttleworth as saying “There is a great need in our country [South Africa] to inspire young learners to devote time and energy to Stem [Science, Technology, Entrepreneurship and Maths] subjects. These subjects are challenging and require discipline and concentration. But you don’t have to be a genius at those subjects to see real benefits in your life, in the long term, from effort spent on them at school. All around the world it has been shown that an extra few hours every week at school on maths and science pays off handsomely later in life, whatever your career choice.”
This passion for inspiring young people shows in the unique content and the learner-centric approach of Hip2be2. For example, the most recent November issue has a chocolate scratch & sniff cover while the content is delivered in small chunks that match with today’s Generation Z minds. The topics are also issues that would be of interest to young people, including, this month, the technology behind the touch-screen and weird facts about your senses. In short, rich-content wrapped into bite size chunks that are attractive to that age group.
How do they do it? The marketing strategy includes making use of the areas that kids use most, like social media and television, as well as having kids promote the magazine to other kids. Brand Ambassadors, or young people who have agreed to spread the word, are not only sharing the magazine, but also acting as inspiring role models for their peers. The magazine is distributed free of charge to students in over 1000 high schools throughout South Africa along with being one of the first to offer a Mobizine (a compact newsletter delivered to a readers cellphone via SMS). Our future is in the hands and minds of these young people and Hip2be2 is one of many helping to inspire them to achieve great things.