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Andreea Iordache

Marketing Communication Savvy&Professional Storyteller,

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What type of programs should contain an online television channel with closed circuit focused on education for kids under 12?

The idea here would be to use this channel exclusively for educational purposes inside kindergartens and have a very powerful coponent focused on personal development of each kid.

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    May 6 2014: Hi Andreea,

    Like, Ben, I remember learning from cartoons when I was a kid. The one that stands out was called schoolhouse rock. It had catchy little songs but always included a lesson. For example, a song called "I am a Bill", which explained in cartoon form how a bill gets voted on in Congress. I also remember at the age of about 7 singing, "we the people, in order to form a more perfect union....." I think that the combination of song along with the fun cartoon characters really was a great way to learn. There are so many subjects that we can sing about, and the children learn a lesson without even realizing that they are learning.

    The only problem that exists with doing this is getting whatever shows that you want to use approved by the Board of Education. At least in my district, they must approve all curriculum before the teacher is allowed to use it. So, a good way to choose would be to get a list of shows, or the preferred channels that have been pre-approved by the Board and then sit down and watch them, maybe even with some children, and get an idea which ones get their attention, and which ones send a message that sticks. Then put them all together and start the show!!!! Good luck.
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      May 7 2014: Thank you Amy for your suggestion. It's a very good one. I was thinking about the same type of approach.

      Do you have, by chance, a link for the current curriculum?
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        May 7 2014: Thanks Andreea, Each school district in my state makes decisions about what curriculum they use. And it is very unfortunate that the lower income communities have a lower level of curriculum challenges for the children, while the very wealthy communities learn things that are never offered to children outside of that income level. I see that you are in Romania. So I would imagine since we have such variation, that you contact your local school's Principal and find out what they use. Also, the private local channels here in the states may not be available to you. Also check for pre-approved learning DVDs.
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        May 7 2014: Andreea, Here are the links for my elementary school district's curriculum. I hope it can help you in some way.

        http://www.njcccs.org/

        The elementary lesson plans include some digi books and other alternative media options. They are somewhat a cartoon form, but have had lots of success with teaching basic math.
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        May 7 2014: Andreea, In reviewing some of the curriculum recently posted, I came across this link, which just so happened to be a TED talk. Here it is.....

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h11u3vtcpaY
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          May 8 2014: Thank you Amy. It's an extremely useful insight :)
  • May 6 2014: Hi Andreea,

    There used to be some nice cartoons that explained things in a playful way. For example there is Donald Duck - Donald in Mathmagic Land. There was a great series called Once Upon a Time...Life explaining biology.
    In the Netherlands when I was groeing up, there was also the "youth news", a specially made news broadcast with most of the regular news, but explained in words and concepts that children can understand. I think it was a weekly program and we watched it in class every week on Friday.
    Besides watching to learn, it's great to do things by hand. We had small wooden cubes (1 centimeter), strips of 10 cubes, squares of 100 cubes and blocks of 1000 cubes. This was great for adding, substracting, multiplying etc. No numbers on paper, just cubes in your hands.
    Other challenges I remember were giving each group of 4-5 kids a bunch of sheets of paper, a stapler, one roll of tape and they had to build the highest tower that could hold a pen on top of it.
    Another one: give each group 100 plastic straws, 100 pins (like a needle with a small plastic ball on the end), one roll of tape and have them build a bridge as long as possible that can hang between 2 tables and hold the weight of a pen in the middle.
    These kinds of assignments test and teach insight, cooperation, leadership, planning, motor skills etc.
    Teaching kids to think is much more important then teaching them facts in my opinion, facts can always be learned or looked up. If the focus of teaching is on memorizing dry facts, students don't learn how to think, solve problems and be creative.

    Ben
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      May 6 2014: Thank you Ben, for sharing.

      I also love Donald Duck, and, generally speaking, oldies but goodies productions from Walt Disney.

      I agree also with all the part related to making kids to be skillful and teach them how to think. It happend also to me while I was at kindergarden, and also at the elementary school. And I can only say here that the kids in our days are completely different than the way I used to know the kids must be and behave.

      And here it comes my dilema: how to do the two way switch? How to make the kids to want to see educational programs, connect them with technology (especially using apps and games) and transpose everything they have learned into real life and make them do the all the stuff we have done as kids. And also, to have the reverse: how to make them so curious about certain things that they first find something outside and want to see the evolution or they want to create something and see a related TV program and afterwards use special apps for this matter to plan what they are going to do and in how many ways. And afterwards they choose a way or more and start building their plan/s.
  • May 3 2014: Reading,Cartoons which focus on friendly positive ,humorous stories.More I don't suggest kids under twelve to watch tv more than playing outside with their peers and nature.
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      May 5 2014: Thank you for your feedback.

      I agree with the part related to watching cartoons. But for the part related to reading, do you speak about books or subtitles for cartoons as a matter concerning the learning a foreign language?
      • May 7 2014: oh,no,children adore reading so much:fable stories,and they like to talk to each other when they read some interesting books.I started a reading group for children in my coummunity.Some of children I talked to them and their parents,this spring we had the first reading meeting,children took their favorite books and read loud to share what books and stories they liked.I will go on if condition is possible.
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          May 8 2014: OK. I see your point and it's a justified one for some of the kids living today. However, I have a question: how do you feel about a program where kids present their stories and another one where kids actually act in a TV show, a TV show written by other kids?
      • May 9 2014: Oh,kids are the easiest and fastest to learn from adults.And for most of parents,for saking of children don't make trouble,they like to let children watching tv or playing mobilephone instead of playing together with them.Of course tv show and games are always the most attracted people's eyes.Espeically those videos with music,animation...I dare not say it isn't good to watch tv or videos...but children keep watching isn't good for growing.

        When we have a program in reading,of course tv should be turned off,and more adults should join on children listening to kids presentation too.
  • May 1 2014: Hi,

    Educational and entertaining at the same time. The younger the age, the more entertaining the program has to be to draw kids' attention. This does not mean it has to be funny, just engaging. The older the kids, the more education can be entered into the programs.
    Think of programs like Sesame Street, Mister Rogers, Postman Pat etc. (Look them up on youtube.) They may seem old or outdated, but most of the concepts still apply and are timeless in my opinion. Along with things like counting, telling time and teaching language, they teach moral standards that many modern programs don't offer.

    Ben
    • May 3 2014: I grew up watching sesame street, mr Rogers, and reading rainbow. Great shows!
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      May 5 2014: Thank you Benjamin for your feedback.

      I have thought also about this kind of content, but the major issue is that it does not engage kids to perform several activities. How could this part be solved?
  • May 6 2014: Hi Andreea,

    I personally don't think I would focus on learning technology (computer/ internet) at too early and age. First learn how to add, substract, mutliply and devide, only after that introduce a calculator that is a helpful tool for doing something you know already.

    Same with the bridge building, first show some simple video's about basic bridge structures, then build some in real life to experience the actual building and hopefully collapse of some bridges to learn building principles, only then move on to computer games building bridges.

    In the same way, there are some demolition games where with some well placed explosives you bring down a structure. Again, you can first show videos of building demolition, then take some of the structures built in class and see how to break the structure with the least possible cuts (with scissors). After that, play some computer games that simulate the same.

    Definitely limit the computer game time, it is very addictive and when you're "too" excited about one game, you won't play others anymore.

    There are also lots of puzzles now that can be great educational tools I think, like Sudoku, Hashi and the card game Set.

    I believe that when a child understands the principle behind something, transferring it to another situation or medium is easy. Like a computer programmer that knows a certain programming language, when he needs to change to another programming language, a lot of the principles are identical, just the formating/ formulation changes. An "if-then" function is always the same principle, no matter which computer language. Don't focus too much on the specifics. Teach principles and kids will transfer them to computers themselves.
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      May 7 2014: I see now your concern. I have this thought to use technology because kids are already familiar with it and use it intensively. However, I agree with the teaching model you have presented. It's natural for them to assimilate information from general to particular not the other way around.
  • May 4 2014: Do people still watch TV? Mine was tossed in the trash shortly after the internet came out.
  • May 2 2014: No TV before age 12. It becomes advertisers paradise in brain washing kids. Let them play with other kids and learn what bonding with other humans is like.
    • May 2 2014: Hi Raj,

      I think that television, like books and computers are tools. They can be used to educate, to entertain but also to brainwash as you say. There is a place for television to assist in teaching/ learning, but the programing should be carefully selected. I agree that advertisers try to brainwash kids, but if you have recorded programs without any advertisements I think some time (maybe an hour per day, possibly 2) in front of the TV can be a healthy thing.

      Ben
      • May 2 2014: Benjamin:

        I thank you. Your point is well taken.

        I have poor opinion of of most of our countries parents in paying enough attention to raising their kids. If it requires too many buttons to press and monitoring it is generally beyond their emotional attention limit.

        I appreciate
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          May 5 2014: Thank you, guys, for your points of view.

          The topic focuses only on TV content created especially for kids having one purpose: to educate using several means: games, technology and interaction with other kids.
  • May 8 2014: Hi Andreea,

    Have you ever heard of Jenaplan?
    http://www.schome.ac.uk/wiki/Jenaplan?
    It's a different kind of school. Very different approach to students, teachers, classrooms and almost everything else. I don't know if you are a teacher or run a school/ are on the board of directors. As a teacher you may not be able to change the school's system. If you think you may be able to make major changes, consider Jenaplan. I had a great time in elementary school thanks to this system. It is very dynamic, every student studies at his own pace. It's very far from conventional school and if you're interested, let me know and I will try to explain more about the system.
    Ben
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    May 8 2014: I don't know, I think I would appreciate the teacher's time lecturing herself or himself more than watching a cartoon? But maybe other children would feel differently. Maybe you have to experiment, try the idea on a small group of kids and see what kind of effect it has?
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    May 8 2014: The questions that children ask come from the perspective of independent observers. While they are still outsiders, newcomers, they have not yet become seriously involved in the pretensions of our society, or in attempting to fit into its limited categories and conventions. As comical as these questions may seem to an adult, the essence of deeply intuitive wonder itself remains the most precious quality of our nature to the last moment of life. This wonder might suddenly lead us to the most mysterious corners of our fantastic existence.

    Often narrowing its range and decreasing its pints with age that natural wonder leaves a conscious mind in quite stiff condition when we get older. Sometimes we call this stiffness a tradition, experience, or even knowledge. As we grow up we hardly distinguish those habits of thinking from our real existence.

    Education as we all experience it to this very day is designed to train and tame young minds to serve the existing social and economic systems. The first few years of our life are crucially important while we are developing our characters. This time is to find the best of the best within our nature, but without getting crashed over and over again against the forceful conventions. No wonder our society is recycling its old stiff mentality for ages.. we go nowhere but play with more and more artificial toys believing that this makes us superior to the whole living world around us.

    To encourage this blessed wonder we all possess in our early childhood is not easy -most of the teachers and educational programs are already stiff-minded and the most important questions in our life remain unanswered - just forgotten or considered "naive and childish" to take them seriously.

    Cartoons can be very lovely fantasies (rarely) but never really educational. A chlid's practical involvement in thinking and realizing him/herself as a unique charachter in this mindless and arrogant human society is a great task
  • May 8 2014: There have been many programs in the US that captured many young students imagination and helped them, Sesame Street, Mr. Rodgers, schoolhouse rock, etc. some were even on the broadcast As children grow, their interests expand and change. Disney and Muppets can be seen at multiple levels
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    May 6 2014: why a TV when you already have live teacher?
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      May 6 2014: Hello Greg,

      Thank you for your question. It's a very good approach.
      The TV has two purposes: on one hand, to supplement the didactic activity because it's easier for kids to learn when they see an animated or interactive video and, on the other hand, to be the necessary quality TV dosage for one day under strict supervision and increase kids curiosity for specific topics.
      • May 6 2014: no offense, Andreea, but your comment slightly seems like North Korean way- altho they have strict restrictions over just watching it - and I don't think it would be realistic.
        I mean, how are you going to set the necessary quality TV dosage in the first hand, and the supervision, how can it be restricted, and by whom?
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          May 6 2014: Hello Lucille,

          Thank you for your feedback and for your questions.

          My idea with this project is to have an educational, engaging, unboring content to be delivered to the children by their teachers. And, in my opinion, because we are speaking about kids under 12, part of the content should be used for tranfering general knowledge to childs, and the second part would focus on some of the skills of a group.

          In regard to the quality and TV dosage under strict supervision I was speaking about the well known fact that there has to be somebody to supervise the kids and to see if they actually have understood correctly what was everything about and go home and share with their parents what they have just learned. Also, this channel aims to focus on certain programs to help kids to be able to identify certain things while going in camping or while they are fishing with their grandparents. Or maybe just when they receive a new game and recognize specific items they have heard/saw while wathcing this online TV station. Or when they hear a new title for a new cartoon series.

          In regard to quality of the content.. I believe that most of us have seen both high quality movies and mediocre productions. The idea here is to deliver high standards and help each kid to become a critical viewer. Experts recommend that kids should watch programs not television. Starting from here, if the kids would have a daily-basis programs lasting about 4 hours, at home they would probably be overwhelmed wish to go out and play with other kids or to spend time with their parents rather than continuing to watch TV.

          Some studies I have read about said that children with moderate access to television who watched with a parent a program become scored significantly higher academically than did the other kids who had unlimited access or than those children with moderate access who watched without a parent. And if a group of kids watch together, their chances to learn right and fast already grows.
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        May 6 2014: well, I suppose you could teach a lot of subjects on TV, Andrea? So what are you asking, which subjects lend themselves to TV? Well, maybe ones where you're giving information as opposed to teaching a skill? For example, here is an interesting video about animals's sense of taste: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqKdNfJzC-g But I don't know if your idea will work because doesn't the teacher need to discuss with the student what they learned on TV? But when is she going to do that?
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          May 7 2014: Thank you for the video. It's a great material.

          In regard to the timeframe for obtaining the right information about what the kids know, I believe that the teacher should ask first if there is somebody who knows something about the topic that is to be presented and afterwards to watch together and discuss after about what they already knew and what they have learned.
  • May 2 2014: ".. an online television channel with closed circuit.. "? A web-cast with web-cam?
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      May 5 2014: No. Definitely not. Closed circuit in the same key as it happens for TV stations in the subway.