The Drum Beat 631 - Early Child Development through Media Knowledge

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January 28, 2013

The Drum BeatThe Drum Beat - 631 - Early Child Development through Media Knowledge

This Drum Beat issue is inspired by The CI's partnership with Sesame Workshop, a non-profit organisation that partners with local writers, artists, researchers, and educators in 120 countries around the world to create entertaining yet educational programmes with characters, sets, and content specifically designed for young children. In addition to highlighting Sesame-specific initiatives, evaluations, and resources, the issue points to other organisations using tools such as television, radio, film, video, books, magazines, and community outreach to engage and enrich children around the world.
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1. Big Bird Looks at the World Season I Evaluation Report
by Yeh Hsueh, Zongkui Zhou, Guimin Su, Yuan Tian, Xiaojun Sun, and Cuiying Fan
This report looks at the Chinese co-production of Sesame Street, Big Bird Looks at the World, which aims to use science as a vehicle to promote curiosity, observation, and hands-on investigation among Chinese children ages 3 to 7. "Children's gains in science knowledge and their eagerness to watch more episodes, and parents' and teachers' enthusiasm about the series as a teaching and learning tool, suggest that the series was effectively educational and entertaining for the target audience." The authors recommend that there be persistent effort to understand Chinese children's learning contexts and the needs of Chinese teachers who provide science instruction. [Jun 2012]
2. Baghch-e-Simsim
This locally developed Afghan version of Sesame Street is designed to deliver lessons of literacy, math, and life skills to children ages 3 to 7 years, with a special emphasis on girls' empowerment, cultural diversity, and mutual respect and understanding. Launched in July 2012, Baghch-e-Simsim radio episodes are designed to facilitate engagement not only with children but also with caregivers, encouraging them to play an active role in their child's development. The programme airs on national, regional, and local radio stations and is produced in partnership with Equal Access International.
3. Salud Integral (SI) Colombia
This Sesame initiative aims to encourage healthy living and prevent premature deaths and unnecessary disability due to chronic diseases by promoting a core set of messages, skills, and habits. Reaching out to Colombian children ages 3 to 5, teachers, and parents, the project includes production of animations, documentary-style shorts, and Muppet segments. It also involves research aimed at creating evidence-based models of health promotion during early childhood for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD), as well as: (i) community outreach (e.g., training for teachers and caregivers and the provision of a kit of classroom- and home-based educational materials); and (ii) advocacy and awareness raising on the risks of CVD and strategies for early prevention. [Mount Sinai Heart, Sesame Workshop, Fundación Cardioinfantil]

See also: Targeting Preschool Children to Promote Cardiovascular Health: Cluster Randomized Trial
4. Evaluation of the Galli Galli Sim Sim Mobile Community Viewing on Children's and Parents' Health Outcomes
by Ameena Batada and June Lee
Sesame Workshop in India launched a healthy habits campaign as part of Galli Galli Sim Sim (GGSS), the Indian co-production of Sesame Street. The GGSS mobile community viewing (MCV) programme trains local promoters to provide health information to slum neighbourhoods using a repurposed, GGSS-branded vegetable cart carrying a TV set and a DVD player showing segments on health and nutrition, followed by distribution of educational materials to children and caregivers. In addition, activities such as mask-making and theatre activities were carried out. The presentation notes that exposure/assignment to the GGSS's MCV is associated with increases in children's knowledge of sources of milk (calcium), healthy foods, and steps of handwashing - as well as with caregivers' knowledge of vegetables - after controlling for additional factors. [May 2011]

See also: Galli Galli Sim Sim
5. Report: The Impact of Jalan Sesama on the Educational and Healthy Development of Indonesian Preschool Children: An Experimental Study
by Dina L.G. Borzekowski and Holly K. Henry
Jalan Sesama is a multimedia initiative developed by Sesame Workshop to address the developmental needs of Indonesian children ages 3 to 6 years. Through live action, animation, and puppets, the programme was designed to offer educational and life skills lessons in culturally appropriate and accessible ways. Results offer evidence that early cognitive skills, literacy, mathematics, health and safety knowledge, social development, environmental awareness, and cultural awareness significantly improved from baseline to post-intervention. [Mar 2011]
6. Jalan Sesama's Educational Impact: Evidence from an Experimental Study of a Sesame Street Outreach Project in Indonesia
Jalan Sesama (the Indonesian co-production of Sesame Street) and Ministry of National Education (MONE) developed and distributed a set of early childhood educational materials addressing literacy and math and consisting of: 2 Big Books, 2 posters, a flash card game, a Story Mat, and a children's activity book, as well as a DVD compilation of Jalan Sesama segments. The outreach materials were distributed to 800 early childhood centres, with a 2-day training workshop for educators. Children exposed to the outreach project showed greater gains on a range of literacy and math skills compared to those not exposed. The initiative had particular benefit in literacy and math outcomes for children in West Nusa Tenggara, a province that is typically under-resourced. [Jun 2012]
7. Technology Outlook for Brazilian Primary and Secondary Education 2012-2017
by L. Johnson, S. Adams Becker, M. Cummins, V. Estrada, and A. Meira
"...[O]nline learning and workspaces are entering mainstream use in schools. Collaboration is increasingly perceived as a fundamental skill worldwide, which has sparked a growing demand that students, teachers, and schools find creative ways to develop those skills within learning activities." The 12 "technologies to watch" presented in the report reflect the advisory board's opinions as to which of the nearly 60 technologies considered will be most important to Brazilian primary and secondary education in the next 5 years. [New Media Consortium (NMC) and Sistema FIRJAN, Nov 2012]
8. Technology Outlook for Singaporean K-12 Education 2012-2017
by L. Johnson, S. Adams Becker, H. Ludgate, M. Cummins, and V. Estrada
A group of experts explored emerging technology topics, trends, and challenges for K-12 education in Singapore assert that there is a growing need for the K-12 sector to better understand and be a part of the blending of formal and informal learning. More than ever, students at a younger and younger age are equipped with their own devices, such as mobiles: "there is a need for schools to leverage and promote these informal learning experiences while integrating them with in-school learning." With regard to curricula, the advisory board suggested that, "in order for students to be engaged in the material they are learning, there is a need for it to be tied to their own lives and the community around them." [NMC in partnership with SingTel Education, Nov 2012]
9. Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8
This joint position statement provides research-based guidance to early childhood programmes on the effective use of technology and interactive media in the United States (US). Amongst the key messages: The effectiveness of technology and interactive media depends on their being used in the right ways, under the right circumstances, by those skilled in their use. [National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College, Mar 2012]
10. Can Your Preschooler Learn Anything From an iPad App?
by Lisa Guernsey
This article explores a few of the studies that have been carried out to understand how touchscreen tablets and e-readers affect early childhood development and learning. The Three C's strategy: (i) Content - Be selective about the content of what children see on-screen, and when choosing interactive titles, seek out those that put children in control. (ii) Context - Be aware of what is happening before, during, and after children play their games or watch their shows, taking time to talk about what they have seen, and play some games together. (iii) Your Child - Tune in to which games and shows pique their curiosity and help them relate to people and things around them. [May 2012]
11. Always Connected: The New Digital Media Habits of Young Children
by Aviva Lucas Gutnick, Michael Robb, Lori Takeuchi, and Jennifer Kotler
This report looks at data emerging from studies on the media habits of children aged 0 to 11 in the US. "Media platforms by themselves are neutral; what matters most are the choices made by parents, educators, educational production companies, and other content providers in order to encourage a balanced pattern of consumption. As we see it, the figures in this report provide strong evidence that children's media habits are, in fact, out of balance. In the final analysis, we need higher-quality educational offerings to promote critical thinking for children and adults in their selection and use of media." [Sesame Workshop and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, Mar 2011]
12. Learning, Digital Media and Creative Play in Early Childhood
by Sarah Jackson
As noted here, early childhood experts have long cautioned against passive media consumption by preschool-age children; some studies have linked screen time to childhood obesity, poor school performance, and attention deficit disorder. However, children are gaining access to media that requires some interaction on their part and that can spark creative play. Examples of such tools are: speech-to-text software to help emergent writers put their stories on paper; the National [US] Library of Virtual Manipulatives, a collection of web-based manipulatives and tutorials that teach early mathematics concepts; or collaborative online tools that encourage children to connect with people and places around the globe. [Mar 2011]
13. Half the Sky Movement - Mobile Games
In September 2012, the Half the Sky Movement, a global multi-media, multi-partner initiative addressing gender empowerment, produced 3 hand-held mobile games for India and East Africa on topics such as maternal health, child health, and girls' education and empowerment. For example, "Family Choices" aims to enhance the perception of a girl's place in and value to her family, with an emphasis on keeping her and her peers in school. [United States Agency for International Development (USAID), C-Change, Games for Change, Mudlark, E-Line Media, Deworm the World, Breakthrough, FilmAid, and CEDPA]
14. National Survey and Video Case Studies: Teacher Attitudes about Digital Games in the Classroom
by Jessica Millstone
This report on teachers' attitudes and beliefs about the effect that classroom video game use has on student learning, developmental growth, and social behaviour is accompanied by a series of video case studies, such as one that profiles a school technology integrator who uses MinecraftEDU to lead his 2nd grade class through structured game-based scenarios that emphasise self-directed learning, collaboration, and positive social interactions. [Joan Ganz Cooney Center and BrainPop, May 2012]
15. Techniques for Effective Teaching: A Sesame Workshop-IDP Foundation Partnership in Ghana
This teacher training programme uses education and entertainment to empower educators in low-resource schools in Ghana with practical strategies to help students learn. The resources are organised into theme-based training modules that showcase exemplary teaching practices for the West African classroom. The DVD is the centre of this suite of resources; everything in the freely downloadable teacher's guide is based on the video modules. Also available is a colourful, durable poster that shows a busy market and schoolyard scene with text along the bottom describing various learning activities to do with pupils. [Sesame Workshop, IDP Foundation, Mar 2012]
16. Take a Giant Step: A Blueprint for Teaching Young Children in a Digital Age
by Brigid Barron, Laura Bofferding, Gabrielle Cayton-Hodges, Carol Copple, Linda Darling-Hammond, and Michael H. Levine
This report describes a multi-sector action plan to enhance teacher education and an approach to the learning and healthy development of children in preschool and the primary grades. It outlines 5 goals and actions: (i) modernise programme designs and professional development models; (ii) train early educators to integrate digital and screen media into their teaching practices in developmentally appropriate ways; (iii) expand public media use as a cost-effective asset for teachers; (iv) advance coherent and equitable policies to promote technology integration across standards, curriculum, and teacher professional development in order to promote better teaching and learning for low-income children; and (v) create research and development (R&D) partnerships. [Joan Ganz Cooney Center and the Stanford Educational Leadership Institute, Nov 2011]
17. International Children's Digital Library (ICDL)
ICDL is a research project to create a digital library of children's books from all over the world. ICDL has developed a teacher training manual to explain digital libraries and how the ICDL might be used by teachers in their classroom.
18. The Fred Rogers Center Early Learning Environment™ (Ele)
This website provides digital media resources for early learning teachers, family child care providers, and families of young children birth to age five. It was developed with input from families, early learning teachers, family/home-based care providers, and other early childhood and literacy experts.
19. Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me Resources
These resources emerge from a bilingual (English/Spanish), multimedia outreach initiative designed to motivate children 2 to 5 years of age, their parents, and caregivers to attend to children's dental health. Available are materials for children, parents, and dental professionals seeking a way to reach out to young children and their families who are already familiar with Sesame Street's Muppet characters Elmo and Abby.
20. The Power of Nutrition
This global advocacy toolkit from the Alive & Thrive (A&T) initiative includes an animated video, infographic, and resource guide that are designed to help illustrate the importance of early childhood nutrition in strengthening the future for children, communities, and nations. [Sep 2012]
21. Talk, Listen, Connect (TLC)
Videos, storybooks, and workbooks created for this bilingual (English/Spanish), multimedia outreach initiative provide support and practical strategies in an effort to help support American military families with young children experiencing deployments and homecomings, combat-related injuries, and the death of a parent by showing how real families - as well as furry ones (Muppets) - cope. [Sesame Workshop]
This issue of The Drum Beat was written by Kier Olsen DeVries.
The Drum Beat is the email and web network of The Communication Initiative Partnership - Partners: ANDI, BBC Media Action, Bernard van Leer Foundation, Breakthrough, Calandria, DFID, FAO, Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI), Inter-American Development Bank, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs, MISA, Oxfam Novib, PAHO, The Panos Institute, Puntos de Encuentro, The Rockefeller Foundation, SAfAIDS, Sesame Workshop, Soul City, STEPS International, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNICEF, USAID, The Wellcome Trust, World Health Organization (WHO), W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The Drum Beat seeks to cover the full range of communication for development activities. Inclusion of an item does not imply endorsement or support by The Partners.

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The Editor of The Drum Beat is Kier Olsen DeVries.
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The Drum Beat seeks to cover the full range of communication for development activities. Inclusion of an item does not imply endorsement or support by The Partners.

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