Panwapa: Sesame Workshop takes on the WORLD

Sesame Street’s parent company Sesame Workshop has launched its newest initiative for 4- to 7-year olds: Panwapa. The project aims to foster the foundation of global citizenship and community participation, and consists of a DVD, print materials, and an incredibly complex interactive website akin to social networking in a completely safe and anonymous environment for young users.All materials are available in five languages (English, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, and Japanese) and feature an entirely new crop of Muppets, including Azibo the Monster (you know, like Elmo, but green), KoKo, a cute penguin, and Athina the smart and culturally savvy Owl.

Although the filmed aspects of Panwapa — which means “here on this earth” in Tshiluba, a Bantu language spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo — are colorful, funny, and superbly produced, the really exciting and most central aspect of this project is the website’s social networking and community interactivity.

How does it work?

(….Click the link below to continue reading this great review…)

» Blog Archive » Get Out Your Passports, It’s Time to Sail to Panwapa Island Get Out Your Passports, It’s Time to Sail to Panwapa Island

Thanks, Ashley from Children’s Media Consultant for a rockin’ review. I played with the site about two weeks ago and thought it was a great initiative– safe, challenging, cute. It had some bugs, as most beta sites do, but over all it should be an interesting adventure. Totally reminded me of “Its a Small World” ride at Disney World. Seriously.

But I dig that you can make your home be a tree house or an apartment, and that you can choose traditional clothing or a lizard suit (I love the lizard suit). They’ll have a LOT of room to do some interesting educational support with that site (of anyone to work with the MacArthur Foundation, I certainly hope it’s Panwapa & Sesame).

Here’s my avatars (if you hadn’t already spotted them in my avatar page):

Panwapa Izzy Panwapa Izzy in Costume

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  1. October 12, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    Completely agree, Izzy…I sat next to one of the MacArthur Foundation guys at the virtual worlds summit yesterday and wish I’d have known about this then to ask him about it! The guy on the other side of me was from USC’s Ctr on public diplomacy, so it would’ve made a fabulous dialog, dangit!! The educational side could really take it into new directions, beyond stereotypes and into forging forward with universal commonalities over differences…

    I just saw a comment on Peter Kim’s blog about a mom surfing it w/her 4 year old for two hours, finding global popcorn enthusiasts…Not exactly Peace Prize initiative stuff, but it’s a start in terms of like-minded souls connecting in friendship and sharing points of interest. I just wrote about it on Shaping Youth along with Ashley’s content swap & a link list to some other relevant articles here:

    Hey, btw, love the lizard look. CUTE! We need to catch up when I get off this mega-deadline next week, ok? whew…talk soon. Amy

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