Oct 27, 2010

Transmedia Storytelling, Interactive Multimedia, & Video Content Funded by 27 Million in Grants

Press  Release:  Education Secretary Arne Duncan Announces $27 Million for Three Ready-to-Learn Television Program Grants

Here is information from the release:

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced three awards totaling $27 million for projects to improve educational opportunities for young learners through innovative technology. Grants will be used to develop and deliver high-quality, age-appropriate, educational content to increase the early literacy and mathematics skills of young children age two through eight years old. The current cycle of awards will provide early learning content through the well-planned and coordinated use of multiple media platforms, commonly known as transmedia storytelling.

"It is critical that we focus our educational improvement efforts on the earliest learners and those most at risk of educational failure, including our children living in poverty,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We know that children of all ages are engaged when given the opportunity to learn with new technologies. These grants will surround young children with a variety of innovative media to equip them with early literacy and numeracy skills to prepare them for success in school."

The five-year grants were awarded to three public telecommunications entities that will offer services across the nation. In addition to programming content, the grantees will provide outreach materials and resources to families, child care providers, preschool and early elementary teachers and others whose work addresses early learning. Each grant includes a strong research component. According to Jacqueline Jones, senior advisor to the Secretary for Early Learning, “These projects represent a critical investment in moving the Department’s early learning agenda forward and ultimately improving outcomes for young learners. We are particularly excited that through accessible media and technologies, these projects will encourage families, caregivers and teachers to interact with and engage young learners in both formal and informal settings.”

"Window to the World Communications (WTTW) will partner with W!ldbrain, an entertainment and animation company, to deliver a multiple-platform, media-based, mathematics curriculum for children that will provide corresponding support materials and digital resources for families, caregivers and teachers. The project will allow children to use multiple entry points to a virtual world of mathematics principles through cell phones, computers, handheld video game systems, television, books and trading cards."

"The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) will deliver transmedia content in literacy and numeracy that is aligned with rigorous academic frameworks and research. Through a multi-level partnership, CPB will develop video, interactive online games (3D-rendered collaborative challenges and immersive games), mobile applications (augmented reality games) and interactive white board applications."

"The Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network (HITN) will partner with Callaway Arts and Entertainment to develop and evaluate three transmedia properties that will cross multiple platforms using the inherent benefits of each to engage early learners. One such property, Learning Apps Media Partnership (LAMP), focuses on English Language Learners and immerses them in literacy and mathematics curricula that draw on real-life situations and encourage the expression of diverse perspectives where children freely use their native language or dialect."

The following list of grantees, by state, reflects 2010 funding:
 ILLINOIS Window to the World Communications; Chicago; Reese Marcusson, (773) 509-5408 or rmarcusson@wttw.com; $6,623,475

NEW YORK Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network; New York City; Linda Hernandez, (646) 731- 3601 or lhernandez@hitn.org; $6,000,000

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Corporation for Public Broadcasting; Washington, D.C.; Debra Sanchez, (202) 879-9784 or dsanchez@cpg.or; $14,627,354
Partnership with Calloway Digital Arts and Michael Cohen Group LLC Will Create Educational Media for Reading and Math Targeted at Closing Achievement Gap    PR Newswire 10/18/10 -Excerpt Below:

"Project LAMP targets next-generation learners including children from low-income groups. The content will be largely available as an open educational resource and use a transmedia storytelling approach through books, iPAD/Touch Screen applications, mobile device and phone applications, console and hand held gaming applications, sing along DVDs and CDs, an interactive Website, and television. The USDE, in 2010, expanded the Ready to Learn grant program to include transmedia storytelling."

Project LAMP will leverage the existing characters of Callaway's Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends (ages 2-5) and Nova the Robot (ages 5-8).It will also create a third new ELL property produced by HITN. Content in all three properties will align to the 2010 Common Core State Standards in Math and Reading and promote the essential skills defined by the National Early Literacy Panel and the National Mathematics Advisory Panel.  

An essential component of Project LAMP will be the ongoing use of research and evaluation. Dr. Michael Cohen, President of the Michael Cohen Group and one of the co-Principal Investigators of the project said, "As the project activities move forward, we foresee new forms of educational media being developed. As a result, new assessments will be required to provide the producers with useful information on children's learning and comprehension. This is an exciting process for evaluators because research findings will aid in product development, determine if goals are met, and contribute to our general understanding of the role and impact of media in young children's lives." Cohen added, "Our plan is to evaluate the applications at different stages of development by testing with children, teachers, and parents. Research will help ensure that the curricula, design, and narrative are age-appropriate, appealing, and result in student learning." 

The 2010 Ready to Learn grants include outreach monies in addition to program funding. Project LAMP outreach activities will leverage wireless network technology, social media, and community-based organizations to engage children, parents, caregivers, and teachers in New York, Connecticut, and Texas the first year alone. Over the life of the grant, Project LAMP will partner for exchange of ideas, opinions, and results with: 1) persistently low achieving schools, 2) a media production program at an accredited postsecondary institution, and 3) a teacher preparation program at an accredited postsecondary institution focused on early childhood education.
Callaway Digital Arts (CDA)

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