18th January 2011

Education and Inspiration

AutodeskAutodesk has launched an animation contest which is open to students 18 and over (or over the age of majority in their jurisdiction or residence, whichever is older), in the United States and Canada, but excluding residents of Florida, New York, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island and the Province Iikoof Quebec. As part of the First Robotics Challenge 2011, students are being tasked to create a 30 second animation that depicts a solution to a series of challenges that the iiko, an alien race, face on their home planet.

As a contestant, you have the opportunity to identify a challenge the iiko face and tell us how your idea/product/invention would change their world – for the better! It might be something that makes a positive difference in the lives of the iiko, in their world at large, or even in space. It may save lives or make daily life easier, or bring back their world to the way it once was. It’s up to you. You can use and modify the characters if you choose, or you may decide on other ways to tell the story of how you chose to help the Iiko. We want you to be creative and innovative, maybe it’s a new invention, maybe you recycle something from what we have found.

As part of your entry, you are required to create a storyboard, 30 second animation and accompanying jpeg image. Please visit the contest page for complete details and full rules.

Desire2LearnDesire2Learn will receive a grant of $4.25 million from the province of Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade as part of the company’s investment of more than $28 million, which will see 21 new jobs created at Desire2Learn and an additional 33 existing jobs will be sustained. The company is continuing its R&D and staffing investment to build out platforms for learning focused on three technology pillars including teaching and learning applications, mobile learning, and analytics that will help Desire2Learn increase its share of the growing eLearning market.

“Desire2Learn has demonstrated a real commitment to research and development,” states Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Economic Development and Trade. “We’re proud to support their latest investment that will help the company grow its share of the global eLearning market and create good jobs for Ontario families.”

The Government of Ontario offers a number of programs that support innovative ventures in technology, research, development and commercialization across industries and attract new investment in strategic areas of Ontario’s economy. Working proactively to promote the province’s technology sector and support high-value jobs for Ontario families is part of the government’s five-year Open Ontario Plan.

“We are very appreciative to be the recipient of a provincial grant that will support our ongoing commitment to R&D and job creation,” says John Baker, President & CEO, Desire2Learn. “We’re very excited about the future and fortunate to be experiencing incredible growth; financial infusions such as this are invaluable in assisting us achieve our goals.”

“Great ideas create great jobs. As Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, and as a resident of Waterloo Region, I am proud that Desire2Learn’s software is making learning more accessible for students around the world while creating jobs here in Waterloo Region,” remarks John Milloy, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, and MPP for Kitchener Centre.

tvokidsHow many angles of equal measure are there in an isosceles triangle? What do plants need in order to conduct photosynthesis? How do you turn a good idea into a well-written paragraph? Every child tackling homework is bound to hit a stumbling block, but perhaps the bigger challenge for kids is overcoming the anxiety and frustration that often follow. What can kids do? Where can they turn for help?

Support and encouragement are just a click away thanks to the newly launched TVOKids Homework Zone, available now at tvokids.com. The TVOKids Homework Zone is a microsite that aggregates TVOKids’ massive inventory of kid and teacher-tested, curriculum-linked resources into an easy-to-navigate and fun work zone. Primary grade-school Homework Zonekids can practice and review concepts learned in school and get problem-solving tips and tricks for three core areas of the Ontario curriculum: math, science and literacy.

“We’ve heard from kids, parents and educators that these subjects are areas of need,” says Stacie Goldin, TVOKids’ in-house educator/research advisor. Goldin led the mammoth task of identifying the content appropriate for the microsite, and tagging and categorizing resources in a way that kids – and their parents – could easily find help. “As parents, we often struggle to help our kids with homework because we ourselves may have struggled in those subjects, especially math. One key objective of the site is to help parents, not just kids, better understand these subjects,” she adds.

Kids can locate the subject they need help with and drill down to a specific topic, be it perimeter or patterns; the animal kingdom or outer space; or spelling and grammar. To illustrate these concepts, the Homework Zone provides episodes of popular TVOKids-produced shows and web games from some of tvokids.com’s 160+ offerings, as well as new resources exclusive to the Homework Zone including:

* teacher videos featuring experts in each of the three subject areas (math expert Troy Langevine, principal at Ellesmere-Statton Public School; science expert Aldo Petrucci, vice principal at Edgewood Public School; and language expert Wynne Ng, a Grade 2/3 teacher at Glamorgan Jr. Public School)
* printable activities and worksheets
* interactive practise tools
* general homework and study tips on things such as practising for the EQAO tests

Language expert Wynne Ng agrees that the TVOKids Homework Zone will be a useful resource for the whole family. “Students are taught that nouns are people, places and things and verbs are action words, but when you ask them to identify the noun from the verb in a sentence they can’t transfer that skill. Even adults forget basic grammar,” she says. “The Homework Zone gives parents a chance to see how [grammar] might be taught in a classroom and how they can kick-start rich conversations at home with their kids.”

She adds, “I wish I had the Homework Zone when I was in school. Instead of just turning to the Internet as a source of gaming or entertainment, students can use it as a tool to become accountable for their learning.”

Coupled with the TVOKids Homework Zone microsite is a bi-monthly, live broadcast-webcast event in which students can connect directly with a teacher and ask questions via email or phone on a variety of homework topics. The next live TVOKids Homework Zone event airs Monday January 31 on TVOKids’ afterschool block, The Space, and online on the Homework Zone microsite.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 at 9:39 am and is filed under Animation, Business News, Contests, Digital Products, Education, Government, National News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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