Recent Endorsements

You've left us really enthused about the whole digital dimension and we're looking forward to developing our plan with your support.
Simon Beardow - Deputy Director, British Council, Vietnam

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Online Campaign That Won't Run Out Of Puff

New online campaign from the EU
At last, a digital campaign that literally does not run out of puff! The EX Smokers Are Unstoppable campaign aims to emphasize the life-changing benefits of giving up smoking.

As tobacco is the single largest cause of avoidable death in the EU the "Ex-smokers are Unstoppable" campaign aims to emphasize the life-changing benefits of giving up smoking.

The campaign wants to encourage and assist people to quit with the help of iCoach, a free online health coach, hoping to ensure that up-and-coming generations live long and healthy lives in a smoke-free Europe.

Apparently this free campaign has worked for people with more than 30% who started the programme quitting smoking.

As an ex-smoker of nearly 30 years and someone who still has to endure the passive smoking of others, I fully endorse this online initiative. You can find out more by clicking here.

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When A Blackberry becomes A Rasbberry?

It might be time to consider selling those Blackberry shares? Apple is clearly king of the fruits.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Toying With An Idea

There used to be a time when serious educationalists and more importantly parents, frowned on the viewing of cartoons. Reading of 'proper books' was vigorously promoted and cartoons or comics were consigned to the frivolous entertainment basket.

Construction play started with painted wooden blocks and migrated to meccano sets and more latterly, plastic blogs such as Lego. Several decade later and the digital revolution has also had (for better or worse) a profound impact on child learning toys and activities.

Realising that a child's Play inspires and promotes the creative process from an early age, US company LaunchPad have designed products that enable mobile devices like the iPad to bridge this gap between informal and formal learning.

Their stated goal is to harness the power of play to help children capture and share their ideas with other kids around the world.

More specifically their educational goals are to:
  1. Empower young children to share their ideas and stories with friends and family by bridging the gap between formal writing and imaginative play.
  2. Introduce and guide key storytelling principles like Character, Setting, Story Arc, and Emotion to help structure kids’ creative writing.
  3. Promote cultural literacy through ToonTube: A Global Storytelling Network for Kids, by Kids.
Recently created cartoons by children on ToonTube
The underlying developmental theory is that "Constructionist software aims to draw out a child’s implicit understanding of curricula and make it explicit through visual and physical representation so that the child may better "debug" and reconstruct his or her mental model"

"Toontastic draws out the emotive structure implicit within storytelling by using an explicit template for visually mapping story events and emotions while constructing one’s cartoon. This helps the child to create a more impactful, coherent, and ultimately educational story"

This then is a serious attempt to mesh sound educational learning principles with digital delivery. A child is encouraged to build their story-line one scene at a time.

The Toontastic app has recently been added to Apple's App Store Hall of Fame.  To date there have been 40,000 paid downloads user imagination has created 170,000 cartoon characters.

It comes as no surprise to learn that Co-founder Andy Russell was with toy maker Hasbro in a former  working life. The company intends to continue building apps that combine play with defined learning goals.

Not to be outdone, Lego has joined the battle for young hearts and minds with Lego Universe although its educational value is more difficult to define.

Lego Universe won best game at E3 in 2010. A  family-oriented game it fosters creativity and imagination are the focus of this game and security measures make it safe for family playing.

A final word about ToonTastic which incidentally was developed in partnership with Stanford’s School of Education and Zeum: San Francisco’s Children’s Museum.  They have posted their advice for user testing with children which should become gospel for other childrens game developers.
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Sunday, 11 September 2011

Social Media In Full Flush

A study of 3,000 people conducted by London's Science Museum  set out to prove how important clean drinking water but came up with results that were even more edifying.

What the survey actually proved was how pervasive social media has become in our everyday life. The British would rather forgo the use of a flushing  toilet than go without Facebook according to the results.

They'd even cast aside their shoes to ensure that they had Facebook access and a decent internet connection.

Not surprisingly for those of us who have lived or visited Britain during one of its wet summers, 'sunshine' ranked at #1.

Google is almost as important as a good diet of fresh fruit although Twitter languishes at the bottom of the list of fifty items.

The list of 'must haves' has a very 'techy' feel to it. Flat screens and mobile phones rank higher than a wedding ring which probably goes some way to explain the country's high divorce rate.

Here is the list in ranked order:

   1. Sunshine
   2. Internet connection
   3. Clean drinking water
   4. Fridge
   5. Facebook
   6. NHS
   7. Cooker
   8. Email
   9. Flushing toilet
  10. Mobile phone / smartphone
  11. Tea and Coffee
  12. Washing machine
  13. Shower
  14. Central heating
  15. Painkillers
  16. Fresh vegetables
  17. Vacuum Cleaner
  18. Kettle
  19. Sofa
  20. Shoes
  21. Fresh fruit
  22. Google
  23. Car
  24. Hair straighteners
  25. Public transport
  26. Laptop
  27. Chocolate
  28. DVD Player
  29. Wristwatch
  30. Make-up
  31. Flat screen TV
  32. Wedding ring
  33. Tumble dryer
  34. Bottled water
  35. Ebay
  36. Bicycle
  37. Ipod
  38. Air conditioning
  39. Disposable nappies
  40. Light bulbs
  41. Spell-check
  42. Sat Nav
  43. Push-up bra
  44. Nintendo Wii
  45. iPad
  46. Gym Membership
  47. Season ticket to your football club
  48. Freezer
  49. Xbox
  50. Twitter

The Museum's Exhibition Manager, Sarah Richardson is reported as saying: 

"Brits are obsessed by the weather, so it’s not surprising sunshine was rated as the top thing we couldn’t live without. But to say you can’t live without material things over drinking water is crazy"

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