Monday, November 12, 2007

Word of the Day on Panwapa? ORIGAMI!

I have been spending more time this week on the Panwapa Island site, which is Sesame Workshop's new broadband site, designed to teach global citizenship. I've written about it previously in this space Check out Panwapa Island

It has been a very gratifying week as I've heard from a number of former Sesame colleagues who want to know what I think, or who are hoping I'm happy with the site. As one person put - "I am eager to know what you think about it because there's so much of you in it."

Raising children as global citizens who are aware of the broader world and who accept their responsibilities as citizens of that world is indeed a passion of mine. I feel so privileged to have been able to work on a project as rich and full of promise as this one. And, our team worked long and hard to create Panwapa across three types of media (video, broadband, and print) It was not easy, but they persisted, and the outcome reflects their effort and dedication.

And on the subject of what I think? I like it very much. My one regret is that we wrote very catchy, compelling songs for this project. They are irresistibly singable, in my view, and the lyrics embody the curriculum that we were trying to teach. Any virtual world is somewhat daunting when you first try to enter - whether you're a kid visiting Panwapa or an adult first encountering Second Life. And, since this is a rich media site and there is often loading time when children need to wait. I wish that the songs were present from the moment you click on the world, and there for you to sing while you are waiting for data to load. It's a missed opportunity, but there is plenty of time to fix it. This is a five-year project, and it will continue to expand, develop and roll out in additional territories. I have no doubt it will get better as it goes.

Teachers and caregivers - there are materials available if you are interested in using this media. Like the website itself, everything has been produced in five languages - Arabic, English, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish. Click on the "For Caregivers" button on the Panwapa site to learn how to use this highly engaging content with your children.

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