Archive for the 'Education' Category

Congratulations to Award-Winning”PAMOJA MTAANI” (“Together in the Hood”), Behavior Change Video Game

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

The “PAMOJA MTAANI” (“Together in the Hood”), Behavior Change Video Game, created by Warner Bros, won the Global Business Coalition’s Business Excellence Award.

As a key component of the Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation, this open world five player LAN-Based PC game educates youth in Kenya.

The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria honored Warner Bros. Entertainment with the Core Competence Business Excellence Award for the video game “Pamoja Mtaani” (“Together in the Hood”) at the GBC Business Excellence Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C on June 24, 2009. “Pamoja Mtaani”, Swahili for “Together in the Hood”, is an open world, five player LAN-based PC video game created by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment in collaboration with technical experts within the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and noted serious games developer, Virtual Heroes, Inc.

Warner Bros. Entertainment, in partnership with PEPFAR, applied its core competence to develop an action-based videogame pilot that is delivering targeted HIV prevention messages to East African youths. The videogame combines traditional gameplay with messages aimed at changing behavior, focusing on key behaviors that can reduce HIV infections among youth. The game development is part of The Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation, a  public-private collaboration among PEPFAR and businesses with critical core competencies such as messaging, new technologies and market research.

The “Pamoja Mtaani” videogame can be played at select youth venues in Nairobi, which are an integral component of this new initiative to revolutionize HIV prevention. The game, intended to engage youth through fun interaction, is designed to help influence HIV risk perceptions, attitudes and behaviors among young people in Nairobi.

Learn to Make Puppets From Award-Winning Professionals for Free

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Through a workshop especially designed for classrooms, Dog & Rooster Productions brings you “Hollywood and the Art of Puppetry.” Renowned puppeteer Greg Aronowitz educates kids on the history of animatronic puppets in filmmaking, and then shows them step-by-step how to make their own puppets with simple art supplies. Ideally suited for children ages 5-12.
The Labou team has completed over 50 of these workshops to much critical success with several non-profit organizations including Easter Seals as well as local schools, museums and libraries across the nation.

The workshop is now downloadable for free from www.LabouStuff.com under “Free Stuff”.  It has a video that teaches kids about the history of puppets in Hollywood, and the accompanying puppet cut-out sheets.  The kids love it!

Bedtime With Elmo – An Interview With Elmo

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Bedtime should be a special time for any child according to our friends at Sesame Street. And no one understands this more than Elmo himself. As I watched “Sesame Street: Bedtime With Elmo,” I recognized many of the issues children around the world face when it’s time to get some rest in the evening. A few days after watching the title, I had a chance to speak with Elmo himself.

According to Elmo, one of his favorite parts of going to sleep is listening to his dad’s lullaby. He finds it’s very important to have a routine. For example, he brushes his fur, then brushes his teeth and reads a book and gets tucked in. When I asked Elmo what his best piece of advice was for children having a hard time going to sleep, he suggested that they sleep a something special. He sleeps with Baby David.

When Elmo’s friend Abby came to visit him, he learned that she was scared to go to sleep because of the dark. Elmo said he thought it was fun helping others, like when he helped Abby play a game with the light so she would get used to shadows and realize that light comes from all around us — from things like street lights and the moon.

Browsing through the Bonus section of “Sesame Street: Bedtime with Elmo,” I  enjoyed looking through picture books and listening to Andrea Bocelli sing with Elmo. This was also a highlight for our little red, furry friend.  He giggles about the experience and exclaims about how wonderful it was, because, “He’s (Bocelli) so nice!”

Elmo asked me to leave children with the message that it’s important to sleep. Or even have some quiet time. It should be a time that you can enjoy.

Enter the KIDS FIRST! Sweepstakes to win your own copy of “Sesame Street: Bedtime With Elmo.” Your entry must be received no later than July 31st, 2009, 12:00am. Odds of winning are based on the number of entries.

qubo Highlights Kid Film Winners

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

In response to the phenomenally successful first round of quboPic premieres that aired this past winter, qubo, the TV and online entertainment service for children and families, will debut a second round of user-generated animated short films on qubo Channel as well as on qubo’s broadcast blocks on ION Television, NBC and Telemundo beginning Thursday, July 16.

Thousands of young animators from across the country logged on to qubo.com to create short animated films using an innovative storytelling web application called “Zimmer Twins”.  qubo selected fourteen films to be to be converted into fully animated mini-movies for national broadcast.  qubo producers will re-master each film, converting it to high-resolution video with broadcast quality color, music and sound effects.  qubo has also enlisted character actors to record the dialogue  and narration written by the animators in their text bubble scripts.

The “Zimmer Twins”, Edgar and Eva, are animated characters featured in interactive cartoons that kids can create from scratch, modify and share with their friends in a rich, safe web environment. The “Zimmer Twins” section on qubo.com includes storytelling tools, pre-made animated clips and simple editing instructions that tap into kids’ inherent love of stories.  The clips and storytelling prompts explore classic kid themes like science, animals, magic and adventure.  The animation interface is designed around the basic elements of sentence structure, and reinforces reading, grammar, and writing techniques. After creating their stories, users can post and share their creations and even vote for their favorite user-created submissions online.  In 2007, the “Zimmer Twins” won the International Interactive Emmy® Award.

“We were thrilled with the response to our first round of quboPic premieres and can’t think of a better way to honor and thank our viewers than by launching a second effort, “said  Rick Rodriguez, president and general manager, qubo.  “We are proud to showcase the creativity of these talented children on our air. The “Zimmer Twins” helps reinforce qubo’s mission of engaging children’s minds while promoting reading and literacy.”

Professor Garfield Foundation Makes Learning Fun for Kids With Learning Disabilities

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Cartoons help make learning fun, even for kids who struggle with reading. Did you know that financier Charles Schwab was dyslexic and passed his literature classes by doing book reports based on comic-book versions of classic stories? Jim Davis, creator of the Garfield comic series, incorporated the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation SparkTop.org content with the Professor Garfield Foundation programming in 2007 to create a fun website where kids go to have fun and learn. The programs are designed specifically for children with learning and attention problems, although all kids benefit from the free edutainment.

“One of the unexpected joys of being in this line of work has been hearing from the parents of children who learned to read thanks to the Garfield comic strip,” said Davis. “After nearly 30 years of doing the strip, we’ve heard this often enough that we’re convinced the strip is a great teaching tool – the simple combination of words and pictures stimulates learning. That’s why we created the Professor Garfield Foundation and the Professor Garfield website. We all learn in different ways, or as SparkTop.org says, ‘No two brains spark alike.’ It’s very gratifying that the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation elected Garfield to carry on their vision. It’s a responsibility we take seriously. It will encourage us to redouble our efforts to help kids grow and learn.”

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