Monkey Labs, a series of educational video games, was developed in 2009 by game studio Larian Studios and educational book publisher die Keure (Belgium). Monkey Labs I, the first in this series, is a 3D videogame in which students have to solve various mathematics challenges. Following an intriguing narrative, the student/player sees a seemingly abandoned research complex and it is up to the player to unveil the mysteries within, and save the monkeys and scientists that are locked up inside this place of surprises and plot-twists.
Bla Bla Bla e-democracy e minori
MEDEA Finalist 2010
With Bla Bla Bla e-democracy e minori, created in 2009 by the Italian primary school Direzione Didattica di Cassola, students of the 5th year learned how to create a digital cartoon and learned about the cinematographic and audiovisual language by using videos and cartoons in the Apple multimedia laboratory. They acquired multimedia producition skills on their own by working in the multimedia laboratory. This experience involves all subjects and it helps each student to develop his/her own abilities and to express themselves in different ways.
The showcase video of Bla bla bla, including an interview with Adriana Sartore
In the lessons, students also learn how to create a digital cartoon at home, how to use the Internet to study, how to do research, and how to enjoy themselves. The students can then use their media literacy in everyday life, when watching TV or going to the cinema and instead of being passive observers they become an active audience.
This project received an award (in the category “Up to 10 years old”) by the Global Junior Challenge, an international competition organised by the Fondazione Mondo Digitale to promote the innovative use of new technology for training, education, solidarity and international cooperation.
What the judges said about this entry
In their feedback, the judges described Bla Bla Bla e-democracy e minori in very positive terms noting how the creation of the material represented an exciting learning opportunity for the pupils involved. They also found that the material created by this class could be used as educational support material by other teachers and pupils. They described the work that went into the creation of this entry as being multidisciplinary, allowing the children apply different skills and competences in a really fun way.
Online video recording of the lessons
The judging panel stated that this entry clearly demonstrates how abstract concepts can be learnt in a pleasant and effective manner by using media which gets the very best out of children while avoiding overly complicated production practices. It allows them to enhance their media literacy in a very practical way so that they can acquire the skills and methodology of filmmaking in the most effective and analytic manner. It also encourages children to be creative and the end result clearly demonstrates how enjoyable such activities in the classroom can be.
About the creation of Bla Bla Bla e-democracy e minori
Adriana Sartore, teacher in Direzione Didattica di Cassola, says “With this project we want our students to learn more about using and creating multimedia, and we want to make our teaching methods more and more efficient, in every single subject and in general abilities, and to learn how the use of video can help the practical teaching method”. We aim to heighten the qualitative level of TV-productions with special attention for children programmes and to create a link between school and the social, cultural, economic system of the region.
Our school collaborated with a local TV station to create a programme for children about multimedia, the students were recorded during their lessons while they explained how to create a digital cartoon in ten steps. The programme can then also be used to support and change the didactic method used at schools as it points out several interesting questions such as: “what is a digital video and how can it be used in teaching ?”, “how can you create a video with a computer and also add audio?”. Other teachers and schools can then in a practical way find out how they can use videos during a lesson or in other teaching activities and in the end, learn how the use of video presentations can change their way of teaching.
About Adriana Sartore
Adriana Sartore is a teacher in the primary school Direzione Didattica di Cassola in Italy, where she is also responsible for ICT support, applying ICT in the the various didactic processes. She is a member of the international Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) program and is interested in audio-visual production and experimentations in media education. She has been a tutor in numerous trainings for primary school teachers and received many prizes and acknowledgments, like the Junior Global Challenge 2009, an international competition which rewards the best projects concerning the new computer science technologies, communications and data sharing for educational purposes.
Furthermore, Adriana is contact point of the “Cartoons at school” laboratory within the Civil Life program of the regional Council of Veneto – E-Democracy Office. She is studying to achieve the degree of “Didactics with New Technologies (DOL)” at the Polytechnic School of Milan. Her website www.scuoladibase.it lets students and teachers to share each others materials, instruments, instructions and ideas in order to introduce the new technologies of information and communication in the didactic praxis.
Adriana represented Bla Bla Bla e-democracy e minori at the MEDEA Awards Ceremony and talked about it in further detail during a presentation, both taking place at the Media & Learning Conference 2010 Brussels.