HT-123: Informal Learning for Children

I apologize for taking forever to update this blog.

I’ve definitely kept busy these past few weeks. I took Joe Blatt’s Informal Learning for Children course during the winter session.

It was an incredibly fun and intense two weeks. We were all put into 4 or 5 person teams and over the course of the class, each team worked on creating an informal learning venture product or program related to children’s health/fitness, civic engagement, literacy, or consumerism. Each team would research their topic and come up with a project proposal. At the end of the two weeks, you pitch in front of a panel of industry experts who give you feedback on your idea.

Overall, the class was an amazing experience. I learned practical skills – like how to write a proposal – but also gained a better understanding on the children’s media industry. It was so incredible to hear from guest speakers who had first-hand experience working at places like Sesame Street and WGBH.

The topic my group was given was children’s health and fitness. We decided to focus on childhood obesity by increasing nutritional awareness for preschoolers in low-SES communities. Our project was Nutrition on the Move: Nurturing Knowledge for Healthy Habits. We came up with the Nom-Nom Box, an immersive play experience utilizing tablet apps and smart objects to teach nutritional concepts. Each box would come with a tablet and plastic fruits/vegetables (aka Nomables) encoded with an NFC (near field communication) tag. Then a child could take these Nomables and interact with the various apps on the tablet. For example, in one app you could feed Nom-Nom and he would undergo a series of transformations while dancing and singing about the various benefits of the particular fruit or vegetable he was fed.

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 1.15.18 PM

It was really fun taking our prototype and testing it with actual preschoolers. We learned so much about our project just by observing how children interacted with it.

This course has made me consider pursuing a career in children’s media, particularly digital or web-based projects. I’m going to have to do some research on it!

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