Media, Education and the Marketplace (MIT)

Lecture 2

Course Home

Announcer: Star Festival is a new CD-ROM based curriculum that enables teachers to take their students on an interactive electronic field trip to explore other cultures, and their own cultural identity. Originally based on research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the CD-ROM tells the story of real-life MIT professor Shigeru Miyagawa as he returns to Japan during the Star Festival, and rediscovers his roots and heritage.

Movie: Finally, the seventh day of the seventh month has arrived. It's a beautiful clear day, so the Tanabata lovers will probably meet. I feel like I've made a journey too. And my adopted culture, back to my roots. Am I American or Japanese? Or American and Japanese? Maybe, like the magpies of the Tanabata? I'm a bridge between two cultures. I thought I knew all about Japan, and I realize now, I just made a lot of assumptions. Look, you see the fish.

Announcer: The professor recorded his notes into a high-tech diary known as the PDA. During the festival he loses the PDA. We find it, and are able to experience his rediscovery of his native land.

Movie: Attempting to ???? Reset. Reset complete. Welcome to the PDA prototype XLV7. You are in browse mode.

Announcer: The professor visited twenty sites in his hometown. We never see him, but we can listen to his memos, performed by George Takei, famous for his role Sulu on Star Trek.

Memo: Star Festival is, ah, to peak into another world and discover something of your own, and get an appreciation of yourself and your culture by, ah, an exposure to another.

Announcer: Map mode is another way to navigate to a new site. Let's go to the high school. We see a picture of the professor's mother and artifacts, all clickable, related to her experiences during World War II. Let's listen to his memo.

Memo: July five, eleven thirty three AM. Day three. I hope I'm not getting off track, but I can't stop thinking about the stories my mother told last night. So I've asked her to let me interview her about the War.

Announcer: Now let's listen to Mrs. Miyagawa's memories of the War.

Mrs. Miyagawa: B-29 bombers flew right over Hiratsuka on their way to Tokyo. When they came, the sirens would go off, and we had to turn off all the lights. We went into the bomb shelter when it seemed really dangerous. On the day Hiratsuka was bombed, I was sleeping on the second floor of my Suka home. There was shouting, "Wake up, wake up! The bombing has started."

Announcer: Students can explore the family home. The professor's field notes, full of factual information, and his diary,where he stored family photos.

Speaker: Not everybody learns the same way. Not everybody is a visual learner. So for some kids this is a real challenge, to, to do anything manipulative and creative is a real challenge. And for some, it, it fits like a glove. Some kids, ah, oral learners, and some learn by reading, some learn by doing, so as many ways as you can present materials to kids, the more ways you can present materials to kids, I think the better off you are. And I think this multi-media approach, that the, the idea of having a CD-ROM in a classroom for kids to, to have right there, and to do research from is fantastic. Plus, umm, our kids are computer literate.

Teacher: Oh, click that one. That's going to be a Miyagawa's house.

Student: It's kind of interesting because it's like, you can see how Japan is, and umm look lifestyle to like, and umm it full of like information. It's like unbelievable, so...

Announcer: To compliment the award-winning CD-ROM, a practical and innovative curriculum has been developed for grades K through 12 by Boston's Children's Museum, renowned for their work with teachers and intercultural issues. The curriculum is easy to use, and tied to the national standards in areas such as social studies, language arts, geography and history. The material is of exceptional quality, developed over a six year period, and beta tested by teachers of all grades in Boston public and suburban schools. Because it is based on a true story, the CD-ROM is engaging for all ages from kindergarten through high school. Learners find age appropriate materials just as they do in real life.

Background: Welcome to the PDA prototype XLV 7. You are in browse mode.

Students: ???? You have to press ????. What?
Teacher: OK. Now you need to go to here. You see that? Right. Over here. Click.

Teacher: They like the CD because it's not like most of the things we have on the computer are cartoons or drawings. And so this wasn't. It was like real people. And it was like real photos, and, you know, really being in the place. And then I thought, well, you know, they can't read, but they could operate this because well most of it is language that they can listen and figure out what it is and even though it does have a lot of writing that I could read to them or I could read and then shorten it down, they would go to the places that the people are talking and they enjoyed that and I thought this is really an advantage because you don't really have to be a great reader, you can sort of follow along and they were great at reading the map, I never showed them the map, all by themselves they figured out "Oh look here's a map". It gave them the opportunity to really experience a different kind of life and a different kind of people and a lot of the children I have come from different cultures and actually it probably gave them more insight into another culture because even though they go to school with one another they don't know that much about each others ahh background and and where they come from or what part of the world or what language they speak at home, so I think it really did give them a, a new horizon. It was fun and they learned and I think the have a different feeling about people of different backgrounds by just meeting the professor himself, by learning about themselves and learning about their classmates.

Student: Instead of being from one place he can be from both, because he had asked, stuff like, what is he Japanese or American? Or American and Japanese? So it it would be a hard decision to to decide like what are you and stuff.

Student: Umm, I used to hate the Japanese people because my great grandfather died in a bomb because of Japan, Japanese people and now I don’t really hate Japanese people as much.

Announcer: Students respond to the multimedia approach and hands on self directed exploration. As they learn about the professor’s stories they relate his experiences to their own.

Teacher: They would just encourage each other and I stopped doing my before school work in the morning, you know that paper and pencil kind of activity because I saw them going right to the computer and I said "Hey, they're learning more from them than they are from just the review sheet." So it was easy for me to get excited about doing this with them.

Teacher: I was able to do letter writing, I was able to do data collection and do a product out of that, so I incorporated my curriculum, the Boston curriculum into the lessons. So, it wasn't hard.

Announcer: The curriculum outlines activities that address learning skills at each grade level, including letter writing, data collection, reading, research skills, presentation skills, critical thinking and collaborative work in small groups.

Teacher: I just had them basically do, umm year one to the present. It was nice and warm outside, the was the day he was born. Cause I asked them to go back and interview their parents and whoever they could to find out information about themselves.

Teacher: It's like the professor was interviewing people to find out more about his own background or his family, I wanted them to go home and interview their parents or grandparents or aunts and uncles.

Announcer: The CD-ROM makes it easy to utilize the computer in your classroom.

Teacher: Well first of all I was scared to death of the computer and I I think that tells you right away, I hate computers, I'm a computer, not computer nerd, I'm a computer moron, I don't know how to turn it on, I don't know what to do. When the gentleman brought it in and installed it in my cage in the backroom here, they gave me one simple sheet, they just showed me how to turn it on, how to get into the program and then the program really explains itself, and it really invites you to explore the pieces of it by itself, I mean the instructions are all there and I felt so good about it that I would stay after school and look at it. And I really wasn't afraid any more, so I think that it's a it’s a good tool.

Teacher: Surprising enough they got very involved, very emotional about it and umm they ahh felt very close to the professor because many of them had come from other countries or their parents had come from other countries, so they know the feelings of about how important it is to find out more about your own background and not just become one of many. You have to really stick out and become yourself and be proud of what you are and I think it really enabled them to do that. And they got to look at both sides, they got to look at the nice things about it and they also got to look at how hard people worked and how difficult it was for the umm storekeeper, how things were changing for him and how said that was, the war, how said that was. They also got to move on and to see how things can be rebuilt and how things can be changed and how enriching it can be and how you contribute and how you make it better, I really had a great time, I can't wait for next year’s class to do it.

Announcer: Think of Star Festival as a text book that has come to life, an environment where students can observe and draw there own conclusions. It is a pathway to a new type of learning that is independent yet guided that fits the national standards and that integrates the technology of today with the wisdom of the past.