IBM Kidsmart Early Learning Multimedia Guide

July 1, 2003

Websites and other electronic resources that support adults working in different settings with young children, adolescents and young adults represents a significant body of work within CCT's design prototype and production experience.

Our approach to this work reflects the conceptual foundation that adults and children learn best when they are allowed to explore and discover information and new ideas rather than when they are told what to do or how to do it. Therefore, our website designs often employ scenarios as a means of depicting realistic experiences and challenges in educational settings or simulated exchanges that are based on real conversations and interactions between adults and children.

In 1999, IBM engaged us to develop a multimedia guide to early learning that would provide teachers and, eventually, parents with information and ideas for supporting early childhood development and learning using technology at home and in school. For the first phase of the project, we constructed narrative vignettes that raised key questions and revealed detailed information to educators working in early childhood settings. In addition to conveying information, the vignettes also guided readers along a linear path through the site's contents. As a result of this first phase of work, we produced a Web site and CD-ROM of staff development materials for early childhood teachers and support staff.

In a second phase of work on the project, we teamed with Bank Street College of Education, which conducted an evaluation of the KidSmart program, to revise and expand the Web site. Two new professional development sections were added as well as a separate section for parents. Organized by theme--school and family life, the stories are cross-linked showing the same ideas played out in both settings to promote home-school connections.