U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced three awards totaling $27 million for projects to improve educational opportunities for young learners through innovative technology. Grants will be used to develop and deliver high-quality, age-appropriate, educational content to increase the early literacy and mathematics skills of young children age two through eight years old. The current cycle of awards will provide early learning content through the well-planned and coordinated use of multiple media platforms, commonly known as transmedia storytelling.
"It is critical that we focus our educational improvement efforts on the earliest learners and those most at risk of educational failure, including our children living in poverty,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We know that children of all ages are engaged when given the opportunity to learn with new technologies. These grants will surround young children with a variety of innovative media to equip them with early literacy and numeracy skills to prepare them for success in school."
The five-year grants were awarded to three public telecommunications entities that will offer services across the nation. In addition to programming content, the grantees will provide outreach materials and resources to families, child care providers, preschool and early elementary teachers and others whose work addresses early learning. Each grant includes a strong research component. According to Jacqueline Jones, senior advisor to the Secretary for Early Learning, “These projects represent a critical investment in moving the Department’s early learning agenda forward and ultimately improving outcomes for young learners. We are particularly excited that through accessible media and technologies, these projects will encourage families, caregivers and teachers to interact with and engage young learners in both formal and informal settings.”
Window to the World Communications (WTTW) will partner with W!ldbrain, an entertainment and animation company, to deliver a multiple-platform, media-based, mathematics curriculum for children that will provide corresponding support materials and digital resources for families, caregivers and teachers. The project will allow children to use multiple entry points to a virtual world of mathematics principles through cell phones, computers, handheld video game systems, television, books and trading cards.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) will deliver transmedia content in literacy and numeracy that is aligned with rigorous academic frameworks and research. Through a multi-level partnership, CPB will develop video, interactive online games (3D-rendered collaborative challenges and immersive games), mobile applications (augmented reality games) and interactive white board applications.
The Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network (HITN) will partner with Callaway Arts and Entertainment to develop and evaluate three transmedia properties that will cross multiple platforms using the inherent benefits of each to engage early learners. One such property, Learning Apps Media Partnership (LAMP), focuses on English Language Learners and immerses them in literacy and mathematics curricula that draw on real-life situations and encourage the expression of diverse perspectives where children freely use their native language or dialect.
The following list of grantees, by state, reflects 2010 funding:
Window to the World Communications; Chicago; Reese Marcusson, (773) 509-5408 or firstname.lastname@example.org; $6,623,475
Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network; New York City; Linda Hernandez, (646) 731- 3601 or email@example.com; $6,000,000
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Corporation for Public Broadcasting; Washington, D.C.; Debra Sanchez, (202) 879-9784 or firstname.lastname@example.org; $14,627,354