China Toy Fair


Sesame Workshop and OLPC Provide Laptops, Content for Children

Sesame Workshop and One Laptop per Child, a nonprofit providing children with a modern education through durable and affordable laptops, are teaming up to make Sesame Street content available to children, equipping them to learn, create, play, and connect through OLPC’s branded “XO” laptops.

OLPC has already distributed more than two million laptops, and the Workshop and OLPC plan to distribute more laptops in Latin America and South Africa, preloaded with Sesame Street content. The two organizations have plans to distribute in additional international territories in the future.

The educational packages for Latin America and South Africa will include content from the respective local adaptations of Sesame Street: Plaza Sésamo and Takalani Sesame. Touch-screen branded “XO-3” tablets are currently in development for OLPC’s Sesame Street content distribution in the near future. Pre-loaded content will feature the  international Sesame Street Muppet characters in games, e-books, video clips, character photos, and printable activities such as coloring sheets.

This post was originally written by Ali Mierzejewski and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Joan Ganz Cooney Center Releases Second Study on iPhone/iPad Apps

A new study by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop has found that most top-selling educational apps in Apple’s App Store are aimed at preschoolers. The study, iLearn II: An Analysis of the Education Category of Apple’s App Store, was presented at the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show (CES).

Using a 2009 analysis conducted by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center (iLearn: A Content Analysis of the iTunes App Store’s Education Section) as a benchmark, the new report examined nearly 200 top-selling educational apps for the iPad and iPhone. According to results, only 14 percent of apps were tagged for intended school usage. Of the entire sample, only two iPhone apps (and zero iPad apps) were based on well-known branded characters. Other key findings included that 109 different publishers were represented in the sample (89 of those publishers were not represented in the previous study’s sample), and the average price of children’s apps has risen by more than $1 since 2009.

To read the full report, and to see The Joan Ganz Cooney Center’s recommendations for growth and development, click here.

[Read more...]

Sesame Workshop Partners with Qualcomm for Augmented Reality Prototype

Qualcomm Incorporated and Sesame Workshop have joined forces to explore augmented reality experiences for children by creating a prototype play set that brings physical toys to life. An application is being demonstrated at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), running January 10-13.

The collaborative project explores the use of a tablet with a traditional play set, aiming to make children’s’ playtime more fun and educational. The prototype play set includes traditional elements such as common household objects and figurines of classic Sesame Street characters Cookie Monster, Bert, and Ernie. Additionally, the demo includes a tablet and an application that uses Qualcomm’s newly branded Vuforia augmented reality platform. When the tablet is pointed at the play set, the pieces and the play environment come alive through the tablet’s camera, transforming the play set into an interactive experience.

Qualcomm is exhibiting at Booth No. 30313 in South Hall 3 at CES.

[Read more...]

Sesame Street Airs Special on Food Hunger

Lily, a new Sesame Street Muppet whose family struggles with food hunger

Last Sunday, Sesame Street premiered Growing Hope Against Hunger, a one-hour primetime PBS television special produced by Sesame Workshop. The special included documentary films by Academy-Award winning director and filmmaker Cynthia Wade and starred Brad Paisley, Kimberly Williams Paisley, and the Sesame Street Muppets.

The special, supported by Walmart, presented families’ personal stories to raise awareness of the widespread issue of hunger in the U.S., as well as strategies that have helped these families find resources and grow stronger together. Growing Hope Against Hunger also introduced a new Muppet named Lily whose family has an ongoing struggle with hunger. A Spanish version of the special will air on October 22 on Univision and on October 23 on Telefutura. All materials are available online at sesamestreet.org/food.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Visit Sesame Street

In this photo handout from Sesame Workshop, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden visit Sesame Street on Monday, April 18, as part of the White House’s “Joining Forces” Initiative and Sesame’s military families project, to tape Public Service Announcements asking all Americans to support our military families.

Photo by Richard Termine

Shalom From Stars and Muppets in Israel

Sesame Workshop, the developer behind Sesame Street, has teamed with Israel’s Channel HOP! to develop a 12-part DVD set about Jewish values. The 30-minute episode DVDs will include approximately 30 more minutes of bonus features as well as appearances by Grover and other Muppets. Celebrity appearances for the series include Debra Messing, Natalie Portman, Ben Stiller, Jake Gyllenhal, and Achinoam Nini, among others.

The first DVD, Welcome to Israel, features Grover and Anneliese van der Pol as they begin their explorations of Israel with guest Christina Applegate. Chanukah: The Missing Menorah takes the crew on a hunt for van der Pol’s missing menorah before Chanukah activities begin and includes an appearance by Debi Mazar. Both DVDs, and subsequent episodes, showcase Jewish values while explaining traditions and practices in Israel.

Shalom Sesame is meant for U.S. audiences and is a continuation from the 1988 11-part Shalom Sesame, which was based on the Israeli version of Sesame Street, Rechov Sumsum. The first two DVDs will be released nationwide on October 5. Subsequent releases will roll out starting in January.

Nigerian Version of Sesame Street Announced

New York-based Sesame Workshop has teamed with Ileke Media in Nigeria to co-produce Sesame Square, Nigeria’s version of Sesame Street. The 30-minute program will focus on preschool issues while two Muppet hosts encourage counting, reading, and staying in school.

Kami, a girl Muppet, is HIV-positive with golden fur and an adventurer’s spirit. A blue-skinned boy Muppet is energetic and loves making even trivial tasks fun. A mobile phone contest to name the boy Muppet is currently underway, with those in Nigeria encouraged to text one of three names–Zobi, Wazu, or Baju–to the show’s producers.

Sesame Square is planned for three years of broadcast, during which two outreach kits will be sent to schools and NGOs throughout Nigeria, meant to encourage literacy and health. The project is funded with the help of a five-year United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grant that will help with the television series and outreach kit creation, as well as research regarding the program’s effectiveness.

Sesame Workshop and Mercy Corp Partner for Haiti Relief Videos

In a partnership announced yesterday, Sesame Workshop and Mercy Corp will distribute three original films based on the Haiti earthquake, as well as two films recently dubbed into Creole, all to be distributed to Haiti’s youth.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit group behind Sesame Street, stated the two dubbed films, Cinderelmo and Healthy Monsters, feature celebrity appearances by such figure heads as Keri Russell, Oliver Platt, and India Arie. The films promote healthy eating, physical activity, teamwork, and play.

Along with these films, Sesame Workshop plans to release three live-action films by filmmaker Linda Costigan, which were shot on location in Haiti following the earthquake. The first film, Helping Hands, teaches lessons about teamwork and working towards common goals. The others, I Am Haiti and Recycled Car, teach how Haiti’s children will be the leaders in the country’s recovery and how Haitians will rebuild their country, respectively. [Read more...]

The Toy Book’s Toy Report 12/14/09

toy-logo

Catch up on last week’s news! Read The Toy Book Toy Report for 12/14/09.

To view click here.

IMG Picked as Sesame Workshop’s Korea Rep

bertandernie

Sesame Workshop has named IMG as its licensing representative for Korea. IMG will oversee the Sesame Street brand in categories such as apparel, accessories, stationery, home décor, books, video, and audio.

Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventures, a claymation series following the best friends, currently airs on Korea’s Educational Broadcasting System (EBS).