Why Kids Learn Best Through Doing – Jason Milligan, Sesame Workshop [Video]

The Creative Director introduces new forms of kinetic learning.

After 42 seasons of innovative, award-winning children’s television, Sesame Street is still pushing the limits of technology and its educational capacity. Jason Milligan, creative director and head writer at Sesame Workshop, presented their latest and greatest technological advancements at PSFK CONFERENCE LONDON. Milligan recalled the beginnings of Sesame Street, which was merely a question posed at a dinner party: can television teach? If so, could they use television to teach inner-city, under-privileged kids to better prepare them for school? These challenges turned into a goal: “use [the] educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential.”

Sesame Workshop has furthered their ability to do so through a partnership with Microsoft, creating kinetic television. The company has worked for many years with various media, all mouse/controller-based, to design a program that could help children learn interactively. The new kinetic gaming takes away the in-between step of a controller to allow players to interact with their bodies, as is instinctive.

There are three types of kinetic gaming that the companies have adopted: original interactive video (OIV), layered interactive street story (LISS) and Elmo’s World augmented reality (EWAR). The first allows children to interact with the characters by responding to commands with actions. The layered interactive street story enables graphic designers to add in objects to the existing game, which sparks such games as finding hidden objects. Finally, the augmented reality in Elmo’s World puts the player in the scene, so the child can see themselves on the screen, interacting with Elmo.

Some highlights from the talk:

  • Don’t be afraid to take chances and later make changes
  • Interactive technology is continuing to advance with the beginnings of kinetic gaming
  • Digital media is now a more viable teaching tool than ever

Jason Milligan / Sesame Workshop

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