Cisco Systems has unveiled an online village for students ages 8 to 14, called Packetville, that uses interactive video games and other activities to encourage students’ interest in math, science, and information technology (IT). The site’s interactive games demonstrate some of the many ways that technology serves useful functions worldwide, while preparing students for higher education and careers in IT. Helping to navigate users through Packetville are Peter and Penny Packet, animated characters who take on the role of heroes to help clean the environment, spread education, and promote good health, among other activities. Packetville also includes resources for parents and educators, including teaching aids and lesson plans that are mapped to International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards. “This is a great opportunity for younger students to get involved in technology early,” said Gene Longo, senior manager of the U.S. Cisco Networking Academy Program. “[Through] fun activities, friendly characters, and games, students are given the opportunity to develop a positive perspective toward math, science, and IT. In addition, students gain a broader outlook on technology-related careers, while developing important life skills that will support them regardless of which education or career path they eventually choose to pursue.”