In 1969, Sesame Workshop saw TV as the pathway for teaching pre-school children their ABCs and 123s. Today, we see mobile technology—which reaches people in all corners of the globe—as the new path for teaching young children literacy, numeracy and other critical lessons.
That’s why I’m so excited about Sesame Workshop’s collaboration with Qualcomm Wireless Reach on the “Let’s Get Ready!” project in China. This mobile safety project highlights the unique capability of mobile technology to expand delivery of educational resources. With Qualcomm’s help, we can now bring Elmo, Grover and emergency preparedness tools to children and their families in previously hard-to-reach areas of China.
“Let’s Get Ready!” uses an HTML5 mobile website that’s accessible to anyone with a smartphone, an Android mobile application that provides a personalized experience, and fun content to create an interactive and engaging solution that empowers young children and their families to learn about emergency preparedness. Available nationwide, the application can be downloaded for free to any 3G mobile device. It has the potential to reach more than 100 million Chinese children.
Designed specifically for China, “Let’s Get Ready!” emphasizes the importance of knowing your name and address, having an emergency plan, packing an emergency kit, and learning about people and resources within your community that can help in an emergency. Sesame Workshop worked closely with Chinese educators to develop the content, as well as with the China Youth Development Foundation, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
This effort is an extension of the emergency preparedness kits that Sesame Workshop distributed to 120,000 children in 15 Chinese provinces last year and does even more than prepare young children for disasters. Having the content accessible on a mobile device enables the entire family to watch and learn together. Mobile devices are also unique in their ability to be taken out into the community, enabling children and their parents to learn where the fire station and other helpful resources are located. Mobile applications also have an amazing ability to provide personalized learning experiences.
The “Let’s Get Ready!” project was piloted in China’s Guizhou Province—a part of China that has the highest concentration of people living in poverty. The region is also prone to geological and natural disasters such as landslides and floods.1 This pilot study involving 31 families with children ages 3-6 was implemented in Guizhou Province to evaluate the “Let’s Get Ready!” project’s effectiveness. The families were provided with Snapdragon-enabled smartphones, preloaded with the emergency preparedness content.
During the pilot we found that parents were enthusiastic. They said their involvement heightened awareness of the importance of emergency preparedness, they appreciated the emergency preparedness checklist and activities, and they liked how the mobile devices enabled them to interact with their child outside the home—whether at a bus stop, a relative’s home, kindergarten, or a content-related site like the police station.
Emergency preparedness is an important issue in China where there are 108.2 million children under the age of seven.2 But it is also an issue throughout the world. Since 2005, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Sesame Workshop has been providing tools to help families cope with preparations for and recovering from disasters. Now, by combining our expertise in early childhood education with Qualcomm’s cutting-edge mobile technologies, we hope to improve the lives of many millions more children globally.
Learn more about the “Let’s Get Ready!” project here.