Snow Woes

It’s the second week of classes, and we’re experiencing yet another snow storm. I can definitely say the novelty has worn off for me after having had to dig out our car last week, only to wake up this morning and see it completely buried in snow again.

As a kid, snow seems really fun and magical. It totally is. Until it gets brown, slushy, and gross. Or when you have to shovel it out of the way. I was originally open to working anywhere after HGSE, but now I’m definitely looking at living somewhere warmer, preferably closer to home.

Most of my classes last week were focused on getting to know each other and forming project teams. I’m really excited to see how our work develops over the semester. Today we had a virtual class meeting for T561 (so thankful I didn’t have to trek in the snow to class) and started diving into some of the course topics. I’m really intrigued by the prospects of virtual and augmented reality in education. We still haven’t found out what our project team assignments are, but I’m really hoping I get my first choice of working with EcoMobile and augmented reality.

In other news, I’ve joined the Team Fitness Challenge with some other HGSE students. It starts next week, and it’s basically a competition to see which team accrues the most workout minutes. I’ve been doing a pretty good job of consistently going to the gym these last couple of weeks. I’m hoping being part of a team will keep me motivated throughout the cold weather and busy grad school projects.

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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.

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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!