Family Fest Preview: Learning about Learning

FF final logoOn Saturday, April 6th, as part of our Centennial Family Fest celebration, we will be offering parents the chance to attend presentations by parenting and child development experts, who will discuss some of the hottest topics in parenting today.  Because we know from talking to parents that navigating the bewildering world of digital media with their young children is a relevant concern, we wanted to bring in someone who works in the field every day, creating digital media experiences for young children, their parents and their educators.  Thanks to our partnership with WGBH, we’re fortunate to host Jillian Orr as one of these speakers.

Jillian Orr is a Digital Associate Producer in the Digital Kids Group at WGBH. She holds a Master’s degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a B.S. in Mathematics, and a B.A. in Theater, and she has worked extensively with children. As part of the Digital Kids Group at WGBH, she has worked on digital production (websites, games, and apps) for popular PBS series such as “Curious George”, “Arthur”, “Martha Speaks”, “Design Squad Nation”, and “Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman”.

In anticipation of this exciting event, I asked Jillian to tell us a little about her work and what motivates her.  This is what she said:

JOrr_BCM_Blog_PicMedia is undeniably powerful. It is quite literally in the hands of children and carried with them throughout their day. It shapes their words, their thoughts, their memories, and their view of the world. As a producer of media for children, I have the ability to shape the future – for better or for worse. Because of this impact, I work with a team that is deeply passionate about education and also about the overall social and emotional development of our young audience.

Children are our treasures. They deserve delicately-designed media that will allow them to learn and grow as children should – by exploring, by playing, and by interacting with the world and other people around them.

To this end, I’ve been focusing my attention on how preschools use media and technology (specifically iPad tablets) to learn, play, and socialize. My most recent work has been on a $3-million NSF-funded research project called Next Generation Preschool Math (NGPM). NGPM focuses on the integration of digital content in the preschool classroom. Under this grant, my team and I work hand-in-hand with researchers, advisors, preschool teachers and children to develop:

  • Eight math iPad apps
  • Non-digital activities to accompany the iPad apps
  • A Teacher’s Guide with progress reporting of children’s learning

In our work on NGPM, my team and I have witnessed incredible moments of children learning, collaborating, overcoming fears and accepting other children into their communities of play. I am constantly inspired—and humbled!—by children and what they teach me about technology. These lessons go into every new piece of media I produce.

Interested in meeting Jillian and delving deeper into this topic?  Join us on April 6th at 12:30 or 1:30 here at Boston Children’s Museum.  For detailed event schedule information, visit: http://www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/calendar/2013-04-06 .

See you at Family Fest!

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