PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details
In “Professor S.”, a young physicist and his assistant Jeanette are trapped in a journey through time and space. The game’s chapters link an exciting story and the learning content of all subjects in 4th grade. Children and teachers explore different places in time and solve quests together with the story characters.
They use two features that are integral parts of the game and link the story to the real world: a secure website and a mysterious suitcase with a built-in tablet. On these interfaces the pupils follow the story line. They watch videos, read messages with tasks and receive little objects. As fellow explorers, they help the story characters to solve problems: like sending traffic rules for cyclists or helping with information on sea creatures. In the background, the teacher slips into the role of Professor S., chooses and edits tasks, and may also create, upload and share own tasks. We provide story material (audio, video, texts) and teaching material (background information, lesson plans, worksheets).
“Professor S.” is designed to accompany pupils and teachers for a year, throughout the entire 4th grade. The game’s modular and interdisciplinary structure allows for a very flexible use in class: from 45-minutes sections to several hours with indoor/outdoor activities. Currently, the game is being played an average of 90 -180 minutes per class & week.
It is easy to play the game but if required, trained media specialists support teachers in the classroom.
INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.
Re-imagining learning means re-thinking education in our global and digital world. Recent political discussion and pedagogical studies stress three important dimensions of education: media literacy, personal learning concepts and interaction in the real world. Against this backdrop, the concept, design and implementation of “Professor S.” focus on three main questions: How can we link analogue didactic models to digital space? In which ways can we support individual needs and talents in differentiating ways? Where and how can we move on beyond the frontiers set by classroom, income, belief?
LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?
Playing is important for a child’s development. Playing means interactivity with the environment, immersion into an exciting world and fun. “Learning through play” adopts these principles and qualities. An adventurous story allows a playful and activity-oriented access to a curriculum. It also helps, by way of its storyline to remember the information acquired. Thus, learning is put into a context and not abstract anymore.
For us, “learning through play” affects the pupils’ motivation to learn, their ability to remember and therefore improves their learning results.
SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.
Total: 1.357.000€ (100%)
Projektfonds Kulturelle Bildung, fund for pioneering projects for cultural education: 17.000€ (1,25%)
Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, regional film fund: 50.000€ (3,68%)
Investitionsbank Berlin: 900.000€ (66,32%)
Own capital: 350.000€ (25,79%)
Investor: 40.000€ (2,95%)
MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?
We want to provide a fun learning tool beyond borders & obstacles. The game architecture is adaptable to other countries and languages. Therefore we are able to calculate for our commercial services (annual licenses for the game, hardware, a media library with films & mini-games on a pay-per-view/pay-per-use basis) an affordable fee. Nonetheless, we also offer an assessment-based grant to those schools/households with limited resources.
FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?
We would hire an additional story editor and a pedagogical expert to accelerate the development of the home version of “Professor S.”. Part of that being the selection of content for the Media Library (films and games). Furthermore, we would like to start to adapt "Professor S." to the 3rd grade.
PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.
Westermann Publishing: promotion/distribution - known for having developed the most successful learning tool for kids in primary schools and are one of the biggest school book publishers in Germany..
Academy for Children’s Media: story development - they are THE training organisation for media content (film, games, books) for children in Germany.
Flying Moon: video production - they are a multi-award-winning international film production.
COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.
The modular structure of “Professor S.” can be associated to any learning content (age 8-12). Thus we would like to partner with various Challenge Pacesetters: e.g. G.Hosford's "codeSpark", E.Tulbert’s “Planet Lab”, B. Palmer-Scott’s “Shakespeare at Play”, A.Lacey's "now, press, play".
VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?
“Professor S.” will have set the international standard in education for children. Children will love to learn. Parents will know that their kids can navigate modern media safely. Teachers will use multiple media to link interactive storytelling and the reality of the individual child. A media library provides suitable content for children at any place in the world, edited by a professional network that continues to advance this way of learning.
IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time
In the past two years “Professor S.” received great resonance: from funders, school book publishers, research institutions – and 19 teachers and more than 400 pupils who tested the game: for teachers, the material fits “excellently” with lessons, the “motivation effect is very high”; for pupils “class turns into an adventure”, they want to “discover new tasks”. We want to influence teachers in integrating multi media tools into their classes.
APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.
Physical Play, Play with Objects, Symbolic Play, Games with Rules, Creating a Supportive Socio-Emotional Environment, Providing a Range of Opportunities (providing the equipment and materials needed for various types of play), Educational Structuring (developing playful projects within educational contexts), Adults Participating (Ensuring adults are able to play alongside children), Challenging Play (play that disrupts - where rules are disregarded and levels of imagination are high), Other (please specify).
AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.