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The Role of Early Childhood Multimedia Edutainment Essay

In Jordan, it is fact that water sources is at risk. Evolving efficient use and water management practice is increasingly seeking the participation of people who have connections with places with limited water sources and also to value community-held knowledge. Water speaks experiences common to children everywhere. Educational multimedia entertainment (EME) can encourage children, parents’ even educators to look up and share managing of water. By mobilizing media as a tool to expose children to the water value, Hikayat Simsim, the Jordanian co- production of sesame street workshop, can help children gain positive social attitude in this critical issue. This paper should analysis the importance role of the ( EME), in relation to the efficient use and water management in children’s daily lives, in a way that unique to sesame street/ Hikayat Simsim- fun , practical ,developmentally appropriate and relevant to parents as well as children.

Introduction

Over the past half-century, child development research has provided an increasingly comprehensive knowledge base to explain how young children acquire skills and knowledge and define the environmental supports needed to stimulate and sustain development, during early years, from children’s own perspective, play and learning are not always separate in practices. (Samuelsson et al., 2008). Early childhood education, however, is a critical means to address many of children’s developmental needs; the environment in which young children grow plays a major role in children’s development. Therefore, a well designed, age –appropriate, and culturally sensitive educational and social activities during the early childhood years must be provided to facilitate interaction with the greater environment, and foster learning of an array of social, emotional and basic cognitive skills.

The Sixth IWA Specialist Conference on Efficient Use and Management of Water, Efficient 2011 Conference ,Dead Sea, http://www.efficient2011.com/

By the time children are five years old, the vast majority have learned a great deal. They have reached “developmental competence” and “maturity,” meaning that they have achieved the normative learning benchmarks of their community (Einarsdottir et al., 2009). Though, children’s early experience with efficient use and management of water issues can be an important first step in their interest and education. This while engaging children in observing the problems we are facing with our waters resources, can lead to valuable significant lessons with family, friends and educators help instill a life – long interest to explore learn and foster appreciation of the efficient use and management of water. This will make children to recognize these issues as personal expression, and can assist to understand that every citizen has a duty for water properties and practices.

Actually, the formal and informal educational systems supported by suitable resources, teaching material, outreach material and trained educators can play a great role in influencing young children knowledge, attitudes and behaviour in this important concern; while teaching children about sharing the responsibility of water problems of their country will promote a sense of appreciation and develop a sense of national and personal duty. For that, Education multimedia entertainment (EME) can make a significant contribution to children’s understanding of this issue. However, despite some efforts in this issue, children’s entertainment can better utilize the powerful medium of television and other media tools to inspire young people to learn more about efficient use and management of water.

At the heart of the Hikayat Simsim project is the belief in the power of multimedia to educate and entertain. The paper attempts to discuss and analyzes the particular case of the Hikayat Simsim project in Jordan with respect to two unique and complementary aspects of the project: (1) The television series; (2) The educational outreach and training workshops. The paper also attempts to clarify and explore the role of how Hikayat Simsim can promote appreciation, awareness and preservation of water efficient use among children. This will achieved by the support of presentation of ideas, based on the educational goals of Hikayat Simsim that can utilize to better teach, educate and entertain children about water conservation issues in the future.

Sesame workshop and the Arab region

Sesame Workshop is a non-profit organization established over 40 years ago, it has been dedicated to addressing children’s critical development needs in more than 150 countries, loved by children, respected by educators and trusted by parents (Sesame Workshop, 2010). Sesame workshop’s four decades of experience have proven that with the right combination of humor, art and sensitivity, television can address those “hard to teach” topics and provide new images and messages that can help meet many of the current challenges.

While the international adaptation of Sesame Street began in the early 1970s, the first sesame street co – production in Arabic began in Kuwait in 1979 with Iftah ya Simsim. Iftah ya Simsim have since aired via satellite throughout Arabic speaking countries and helped raise past generations of preschoolers with a wide range of educational and social skills. Since Iftah ya Simsim, sesame workshops had co – produced other series in Arabic to help address the educational needs of specific cultures and countries (Haddad, et al, 2005). These are: Al Manahel; Co- produced in Jordan in 1988. It aired in more than 15 Arab countries. Share’ Simsim; Co- produced in Palestine in 1998, was the first educational children’s program specifically developed for Palestinian children. Alam Simsim: Co- produced In Egypt beginning in 1999. The program is extended its broadcast to 22 Arab countries in 2003 on primary schools; ages from 4 to 7 years old.

By mobilizing media Hikayat Simsim as a tool to expose children to the values and problems of their environment, helps children gain positive social relation skills requisite to appreciating the diverse world in which they live. Using its entertaining Muppet characters, Figure1, to teach, educate and entertain children a variety of lessons, it is a valuable tool for teaching children about the problems of water that Jordan is facing and for efficient use and management of water as well. In addition, to the professional crossfertilization inherent in the sesame workshop model, the Hikayat Simsim project goes one step further toward engaging local stakeholders to work together toward the development and sustainability of high quality children’s media that contributes to Jordanian early childhood education. Hikayat Simsim project in Jordan have to two unique and complementary aspects of the project (Haddad et al, 2005). (1) The television series. (2) The educational training. outreach and

The significance of Hikayat Simsim educational model

There are currently a very limited number of television programs created for young Jordanian children that target specific developmental and educational needs in a quality manner (Haddad, et al, 2005). Hikayat Simsim, the national version and co-production of the world famous Sesame Street and Jordan Pioneers, is an educational Jordanian initiative designed to support the educational sector since 2002, set up to educate and entertain Jordanian children in gain. It serves as the Educational Framework for the Hikayat Simsim project. These are: (1) Cognitive Skills, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Environment, (2) Health, Hygiene, Nutrition and Safety, (3) Child, Family, Community, and Group Relations, (4) Respect, Understanding, Tolerance and Diversity, (5) Culture, heritage, and Art.

In the section about Natural Environment, the statement emphasizes how to encourage children to:1-Recognize or identify the general characteristics of Water, 2- Geography of Water; expose children to the many places where water can be found (e.g., oceans, rivers, lakes), introduce places in Jordan where water bodies are found such as Dead Sea, Aqaba, and Mojib, 3- Sound of Water; expose children to the sounds water makes from different resources (e.g. faucet, rain on roof tops, waterfalls, etc.) 4- Health Issues, Expose children to health issues regarding safe drinking water. 5- Expose children to the various ways in which members of different ethnic groups and rural and urban populations in Jordan get their water (e.g., from a faucet, a well, a pump, etc.) and 6- States of Water; Introduce water in solid, liquid, and gas condition. In the section of Environmental Awareness, the statement exposes children to the following ways of supporting and helping the environment, and encourages children to recognize and identify behaviors that affect the environment: 1-Water Conservation; encourage children to save water by doing things such as turning off a faucet when not in use and turning off the water while brushing teeth or washing hands. 2- Present segments where household water is reused in the garden, and collecting rain water for use.

TV episodes

This part of the paper is based on analysis of Seasons One to four of Hikayat Simsim, which together includes 104 episodes. Each 25-minute episode contains average 8-10 segments of 2 to 3 minutes each. About half of these segments usually show the main Muppet characters, Tonton and Juljul playing together in a way that promotes one of the lessons of the show. For example, Juljul frequently plant, whereas Tonton plays outside or asks questions of Juljul about water ,energy, school, environment, and along with their human friends show children how to eat healthily, exercise, be kind to each other, and take care of the environment especially about recycling and water issues.

In addition to these regular characters, the show also features short segments showing how children in “live action” sequences of children and families from various areas of Jordan explaining parts of their daily lives, culture, environmental issues. In addition, there are cartoons of animals and children from Jordan and other parts of the world. Each segment and show has a specific educational goal, which relates back to the curriculum of the show that is based on needs defined by Jordanian educators, parents, government officials, and even children themselves (Jordan Pioneers, 2009).

Figure 3: Examples of the TV program; live action segments, studio Muppet segment and animation showing children drinking water from the traditional ‘Zeir’, fixing faucet and turning off the water when there is a need.

We counted the number of episodes that contain any segment related to efficient use of water, and then analyzed and categorized each management of water segment. Each segment was first categorized as Jordanian or International, and then broken down into types of efficient use of water. It is of importance to briefly define the categories of Jordanian and International efficient use of water segments on Hikayat Simsim before going on to analyze results. Among the Jordanian segments, those categorized as: 1-“Efficient use of water” segments take place at different location in Jordan, showing Jordanian children who live near these sites and how they care about water and enjoy spending time at these sites . These segments come closest to directly promoting water conservation and preservation; they directly talk about conservation and preservation issues. 2-Musical segments deal with water conservation issues.

For example a song says: We live in a region where rain is few, and water is precious so what can we do. What do we do when we are thirsty, we drink water. How do we wash our clothes and stuff … we wash it with water. With what do we mix flower into becoming pastry …we mix it with water. When we swim so happy as if we are fish. We swim in the water. With what do we water the thirsty plants ….we do that with water. Anything alive, everything alive depends on water. But what happens if the sky doesn’t rain? Or when the water hits the ground and evaporates …the water becomes a lot less. What do we do and what’s the way when the water is fading away. When we wash our teeth we have to use the water carefully and never leave the tap open. Rain water’s the trees, and rain waters human beings. 3-General episodes about water clearly take place in Jordan and show scenes of daily life in various Jordanian towns and cities, but do not fit into any specific category.

All of these episodes make reference to how efficient use of water manifests itself in current everyday life in Jordan, Figure 3, but do not directly discuss efficient management of water. There are also usages of International efficient use of water segments. However, these segments are often not produced in Jordan. They are taken from the Sesame Street global library that allows all Sesame productions to share and borrow segments from each other to present different efficient use of water and themes.

As a result, Hikayat Simsim currently has dealt with many water issues in Jordan as it exists today, but it does not directly discuss how to manage and conserve water deeply. Based on an analysis of 104 episodes of Hikayat Simsim, there were:  68 segments dealing with some type of water issues and 36 dealing with International water issues. Over the four seasons of the show, the number dealing with Jordanian water issues is increasing. The highest number of segments dealt with, efficient use of water showing how a Jordanian child’s themselves in contemporary everyday life. Efficient use of water, in all of the four seasons, was the least common among water themes.

Though, these episodes teach children to understand and appreciate some aspects of efficient use of water, they do not directly address the issue as critical one in Jordan.

Summary and concluding remarks

It is essential for Jordan to encourage future generations to preserve its water resources, improve water management and awareness. By introducing young children through multimedia, to a variety of sources, including activities making learning enjoyable about water, water efficient use, water conservation issues, conduct events like the one of the walk around live shows in different regions of the country, we can help them to develop their responsibility to this critical mutter in Jordan. Addressing a wide range of educational objectives, the Hikayat Simsim project is a dynamic tool to present critical learning opportunities for young children and can serve as a case study of how multimedia can be used to foster educational water conservation aims.

The Hikayat Simsim project represents a model of children’s educational/entertainment multi-media that can assist foster understanding and mutual for water sustainable use and respect. For that, Hikayat Simsim sustainability is necessary to continue serving the educational needs of primary Jordanian children, parents and teachers. With its multiple media approach and educational objectives exploring a comprehensive approach to child development, the project can help educate a new generation of Jordanian children to be empowered to embark on both formal and informal educational endeavors. The TV show already features segments explaining various professions, or showing Tonton and Juljul about what they should do to water conservation issues.

Therefore, Hikayat Simsim could feature segments showing children in Jordan or the Muppets learning about the efficient use and management of water and why it is important. Hikayat Simsim could also design a Hikayat Simsim- themed website or computer game dealing with more about efficient use and management of water. Currently Hikayat Simsim, actually teaches lessons about water conservation directly, and has included some cartoons or live action. Following precedents set by museums and television shows with more developed curriculums dealing with water issues, Hikayat Simsim should seek in upcoming seasons to teach children more about the efficient use and management of water.

Hikayat Simsim should intend to broaden its reach and national awareness about this issue, engage with multiple sectors to help deliver this critical educational content, within the trusted and beloved context of Sesame Street that has quickly captured Jordanian viewers’ hearts, minds, and imaginations. The creation of the efficient use and management of water applications for outreach material in relation to digital edu-entertainment games is a learned process with its share of challenges. However, good citizenship should be more emphasized Simsim to teach principles behavior on the efficient management of water. concepts in Hikayat of social use and

References
Einarsdottir, Johanna, Dockett, Sue and Perry, Bob, 2009. ‘Making meaning: children’s

The Sixth IWA Specialist Conference on Efficient Use and Management of Water, Efficient 2011 Conference ,Dead Sea, http://www.efficient2011.com/ perspectives expressed through drawings’, Early Child Development and Care, 179: 2, 217 – 232 Haddad, Khaled, Haddad, Naif, Labin, Danny, 2005,The Role of Multi-Media in Early Childhood Education: A Case Study of Hikayat Simsim in Jordan, proceeding of the First Conference on Childhood and the Family, Towards A Happy Childhood & Prosperous Family, The Hashemite University, Queen Rania Faculty for Childhood, 11-12/5/2005, Zarqa-Jordan. 103-117. Jordan Pioneers, “Statement of Educational Objectives, 2009: Hikayat Simsim, (commissioned by Jordan Pioneers and Sesame Workshop); Sesame Workshop, Jordan. Samuelsson, Ingrid, Pramling and Carlsson, Maj Asplund, 2008, ‘The Playing Learning Child: Towards a pedagogy of early childhood’, Towards a pedagogy of early childhood’, Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 52: 6, 623 – 641. Sesame Workshop, “Around the World,” http://www.sesameworkshop.org/aroundthe world (accessed January 5, 2011)

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The Sixth IWA Specialist Conference on Efficient Use and Management of Water, Efficient 2011 Conference ,Dead Sea, http://www.efficient2011.com/


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