Action Centered Learning Media Project: moveTV
The Action Centered Learning Media Project (ACLMP) addresses the Moving On Center (MOC) mission to provide community outreach using somatic movement principles to engage learners in healthy movement. ACLMP is designing and implementing "movement learning" programs for educational settings and home use that may employ video and other participatory media, along with the production of curricular materials that enhance these products' effectiveness. For example, ACLMP designed a "movement learning" program that was administered to Head Start participants in New York City, resulting in a pilot prototype for a participatory television design. ACLMP is directed towards meeting MOC's vision of improved well-being through an active and participatory lifestyle by addressing:
* Antidotes to sedentary TV viewing and its relationship to obesity
* Enhanced social and emotional development through cooperative and participatory learning
The success of this project constitutes a significant step in fulfilling MOC's vision to shift adult and children's habits from sedentary and isolated to physically active and participatory. Television, as a potential source of education and information that has the power to shape the physical and social culture we live in, has often been recognized as adding to our sedentary and isolated patterns of behavior from an early age. Through this major initiative, the ACLMP, we aim to change this use of television by merging this already popular medium with the practices of MOC along with the work of internationally known developmental therapists and experts on creative dance. Our goal is to create tools that combat passive TV viewing and the concomitant lack of physical activity, and initiate developmentally appropriate movement that fully engages each child socially, emotionally, physically and cognitively
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The Action Centered Learning Media Project Vision Statement
The increasingly sedentary and isolated lifestyle of today's children, filled with hours in front of the TV and snacking on junk food, places them at risk of obesity, nutrition-related diabetes, attention deficits, hyperactivity and a host of other physical and psychological maladies. Action Centered Learning Media Project aims to shift children's current propensity for a sedentary and isolated lifestyle to one that is more physically active and participatory. We will fulfill this vision through the medium of television and the emerging Interactive Television (ITV) technology.
Television, of all the media, has the most pervasive influence on children. Unfortunately, the current understanding of TV viewing as an overwhelmingly sedentary and passive activity supports the view that television contributes to the epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes, with significant costs to our society. Obesity alone in the U.S. weighs in at an estimated annual cost of $100 billion, and as childhood obesity approaches worldwide epidemic levels, this cost will only increase. Research studies have found that children in the U.S. watch three to four hours of television each day, and point to serious consequences for prolonged TV viewing:
* Increased risk of obesity and diabetes
* Increased risks of social problems, delinquent and aggressive behavior
* Increased risks of attention and hyperactivity disorders
Research further suggests a vicious cyclical relationship between excessive TV viewing, obesity and impaired psychosocial development. Children who watch lots of television are more likely to snack on unhealthy food while viewing and also have less time for physical activity. Overweight and obese children and adolescents are more likely to be stigmatized and isolated, which leads them to more TV watching, and thus the cycle is reinforced and starts all over again. Add to that the findings that children in lower-income households and ethnic minority groups watch more television and are more likely to be obese, and it becomes clear that a lifestyle of excessive TV viewing poses the greatest danger to the most vulnerable sectors of our society. While we are not advocating that children continue watching television at their current levels, we do recognize that television is an extremely entrenched reality of modern life, and therefore we intend to change how children engage this already popular medium. We intend to achieve this by using some of their TV viewing time to get them up and moving and participating interactively.
The potential for increasing children's participation in their TV viewing is immense. As one parent of an eight year-old recently wrote in an Esquire magazine article, "...whereas the present generation of parents was raised to relate to the screen as spectators, some eight-year-olds now can already see a chance at control. They feel like directors or editors, like decision-makers. There's the real light. It is possible to arm children, to make them critical watchers. And in a world filled with the dangers we have made, nothing else will do." The goal of ACLMP is to create participatory media products that maximize the willingness of today's young viewers to more fully participate in their TV viewing experience.
As the work of the ACLMP moves forward, we are researching several possible scenarios for the introduction of participatory media into the marketplace. These include:
* Research and development of a participatory television design that will serve as a template for a participatory educational TV series
* Creation of an educational participatory video for use in school and afterschool programs
* Implementing and designing curricula that support an educational participatory video
* Development of TV programming that is participatory and developmentally based
* Research and review of other existing participatory media, all from a movement perspective
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Movement Learning Programs
The research and development of a participatory television design will occur as part of a "movement learning" program taught in the Oakland/NYC public school system. The research of this program will be integrated with past pilot research and direct programming with children to create a series of short video segments that fosters movement in six to eight year-olds. These segments will serve as a template for an eventual participatory children's TV series. The output of the "movement learning" program will also enable us to create curricular materials that are supported by the segments. These materials and accompanying video segments, distributed nationally through a network of Moving On Center graduates and other developmentally trained movement educators, will be used to:
* Encourage children, parents and teachers to associate television viewing with active physical, cognitive and emotional engagement and discernment of the information on their television screens
* Set the stage for their awareness and interest in a participatory television series
* Expose teachers and students to developmentally appropriate movement
Specifically, the "movement learning" program exposes participants to various movement concepts related to literacy, and challenges them to use their bodies in creative ways that explore these concepts. For example, participants begin by exploring moving at different levels ranging from high to low. Next, they are presented with the problem of recognizing vowel sounds; participants are then challenged to make a "high level shape" when they hear a short vowel sound and a "low level shape" when they hear a long vowel sound. Problems with more possible solutions are presented in combination with an increasing number and complexity of movement elements. Movement concepts and problem-solving skills are also explored through rhythm games and participatory storytelling. These types of experiences are selected for the video segments (the template for the participatory television design) because they stimulate movement participation from the viewers. The excitement participants feel when moving is captured and used to stimulate their desire to have an active rather than passive relationship to content being presented on the television screen.
The children who participate in the "movement learning" program administered by Action Centered Learning Media Project will engage in a learning process with many correlating benefits. When they physically explore the difference between a straight and a curved line, they are more readily able to form letters on a page. This is just one instance of how the "movement learning" program simultaneously builds movement vocabulary and traditional academic skills. Participants will move in new ways that expand their self-image and self-expression, and that improve their overall brain functioning. Literacy skills will be increased as defined by physical, cognitive and emotional parameters. The academic and movement concepts explored in the movement learning program will reflect local and statewide learning standards, thereby providing participants with the skills and self-confidence to use their own bodies as a learning resource in mastering mandated curriculum. All the while the health benefit of exercise is included. Discussions with "movement learning" program participants will focus on how to watch TV with health and learning awareness.
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We are seeking funding for the Action Centered Learning Media Project from the McDonald's Corporation, U.S. Dept. of Education, Markle Foundation, Kaiser Family Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Broad Foundation and other Foundations interested in our mission and projects. To learn more about and how to support this initiative to create a more physically active and healthy society, please contact us at (510) 834-0284 or email Martha Eddy.
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Ozzie Alfonso and Tom Cammisa (Team Leaders) bring decades of Emmy award-winning work in children's educational programming, between them having worked as producer and director of Sesame Street, 3-2-1 Contact, and various other public, network and cable programming. They are principals in Terra Associates, Inc.
Vince Ricci (Educational Manager/Instructional Designer) has extensive experience in the fields of both traditional education and instructional technology. He is a graduate of Stanford University, where he majored in history and studied both theatre and education extensively. Vince recently completed his MA in Educational Communication and Technology from NYU. While in New York, he helped Columbia University establish a $10 million Center for New Media Teaching & Learning, and created video kiosks for one of the original pioneers of interactive museum exhibit design. Vince has been recognized with such honors as the Lyons Award for Service while at Stanford, the Distinguished Teaching Award for the State of Louisiana, and Non-Profit Program of the Year for the educational program he directed in New Orleans. He is currently living and working in Tokyo, where he serves as Instructional Designer for The Princeton Review of Japan and develops interactive curriculum for SVIC, a joint venture between Sony and Vektor, the global leader in digital language learning.
Clark Jackson (Project Director) has worked with thousands of New York City public school students as a teaching artist in the areas of theatre, movement, creative writing and improvisation, in classes ranging from advanced students to the severely emotionally disabled. He also worked at the Children's Museum of Manhattan in New York City as a production facilitator in their television workshop where he produced, wrote and facilitated half-hour television workshops teaching kids ages 4-12 the basics of television studio production. As an actor, Clark is a recent recipient of a Drama Desk Award for his performance in "Cobb," produced by Kevin Spacey at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, and has appeared on TV in "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and the critically acclaimed ABC drama "Wonderland." His film credits include a major role in the independent feature "The Arrangement," and the lead character in the award-winning educational video "Rapmatics". Clark is a graduate of Stanford University and the Yale School of Drama.
David Fuhrer (Associate Producer/Editor) is President of Production Central, and has worked as writer, producer, director and editor on a multitude of films including Wolf, The Funeral and In the Soup. He is also the director of the award-winning educational video Rapmatics.
True (Art Director) is President of Hierographix Productions, a graphic design firm specializing in general and ethnic market illustration, animation, and character & logo design for traditional and new media. Clients include Disney, Barnes & Noble, HBO, MGM, Nickelodeon, PBS, Scholastic and Sony.
Martha Eddy, CMA, Ed. D. (Curricular Consultant) is the Co-director of the Moving On Center, School of Participatory Arts and Research, in Oakland, CA, an educational center for adults who want to advance their careers by employing more movement in the fields of health, education and performance. Martha served on the faculty of the program in Dance and Dance Education at Columbia University, Teacher's College from 1991-2001. She is currently the Director of the Wellness Center at Riverside Church in NYC, and continues to serve as an educational consultant in the field of dance, providing curricular development and evaluation to a variety of pre- and post-secondary schools, camps and after-school programs.
Bette Lamont, MA/DMT (Content Consultant) is a developmental movement therapist with a 25-year history of working with children and adults with learning and behavioral issues. Bette sees private clients, teaches, consults and lectures nationally and internationally, working in public and private schools, universities, prisons, nursing homes and hospitals.
Gayle Loyd, M. Ed. (Content Consultant) is the founder of three private schools and the Developmental Neurobics(tm) movement therapy program. Gayle creates developmentally appropriate educational opportunities for students with a wide range of learning needs and styles. She also sees private clients, trains teachers, consults with schools and assists parents in finding and/or developing educational opportunities for their children.
Helen Landalf (Writer) is the author of Movement Stories for Children (with Pamela Gerke), Moving the Earth: Teaching Earth Science Through Movement in Grades 3-6, and Moving is Relating: Teaching Interpersonal Skills Through Movement in Grades 3-6. Areas of expertise include: exploring the basic concepts of movement and dance through the use of music, props and improvisation, choreography experiences for children, and integrating movement into the basic curriculum.
Pamela Gerke (Writer) is Artistic Director and Playwright for Kids Action Theater (KAT) in Seattle. Since founding the program in 1998, she has written and/or directed over thirty children's plays and is author of several books in the field of children's theater. Pamela currently divides her time between composing, conducting, writing and teaching piano and drama. She is the author of Multicultural Plays for Children, Grades K-6 (2 volumes), and is co-author (with Helen Landalf) of two drama curriculum books for grades K-1 and 2-3 and Movement Stories for Children.
Anne Green Gilbert (Content Consultant) is known throughout the country as a leader in children's dance education. She founded Kaleidoscope Dance Company and the Creative Dance Center in 1981. She has a MA in Education, has taught dance and movement at the University of Washington, and has been a consultant for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Washington State, training teachers to use movement as a tool for teaching academic curriculum. Anne is an adjunct faculty member at Seattle Pacific University, Seattle University and Lesley College. She is the author of Teaching the Three R's Through Movement and Creative Dance for All Ages: A Conceptual Approach. Ms. Gilbert has received the prestigious American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance 1999 Honor Award for service to the field of dance and is the past Chair of Dance and the Child International USA.
G & E Music (Soundtrack Production) G & E Music produces music and sound design for film, television, commercials, corporate presentations and the web. Clients include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Ready to Learn Campaign, PBS, Nickelodeon, The Discover Channel, VH1, MTV and the BBC.
Jan Plass (Interface Design Consultant) is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Communication and Technology Program at New York University. His research interests include a cognitive approach to the instructional use of multimedia and the web, and the design and development of instructional multimedia and web applications, particularly issues of information architecture and information design.
George Henik (Instructional Design Consultant) is completing his second year as a doctoral student at NYU in Educational Communications and Technology. He is currently a web designer for a variety of sites including NYU.
Geoff Berman (Legal Services) is a seasoned entertainment and educational-issues attorney with Weill, LLC.
Eric Chan, IDSA (MOVE!Mat(tm) Ergonomic Design Consultant) is the principal of ECCO Design Inc., the 14-person industrial design and product development firm that he founded in New York City in 1989.
Chan received his master's degree in design from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He has earned awards in more than 20 design competitions worldwide.
Basic Twist (Character Consultant) is the creator of the critically acclaimed Symphonie Fantastique, which played for a year and a half Off-Broadway at HERE (New York). He received a 1999 Drama Desk Nomination, an UNIMA Citation of Excellence and a 1999 OBIE Award. He has produced and performed at Lincoln Center. Basil is a graduate of the prestigious Ecole Superieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette in Charleville-Mezieres, France, and is the sole American accepted into its 3-year training program. Mr. Twist is the director of The Dream Music Puppetry Program at HERE Arts Center in New York. Television credits include From Sorcery to Science for PBS/WNET's "Great Performances" series as a part of their tribute to Aaron Copland.
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