In February, the ALSC Children and Technology Committee blog post presented the criteria for the newest Youth Media Award, the Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award [EELDM]. Last month, the blog featured the 2019 winner, PBS’s Play & Learn Science. Today, I would like to take you through one of the inaugural award honorees, Tinypbop’s Coral Reef, to highlight some of the features that stood out to the committee particularly related to the award selection criteria.
Media Reflects/Embodies Its Stated Mission/Purpose
In order for an application to receive the Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award, the media must reflect and embody the mission of the parent company. Tinybop is a company that creates “educational products, for play at home and in the classroom, to spark the curiosity of kids around the world today.” Coral Reef is one application of the 11 Tinybop has produced to help children explore the wonders of the world. The handbook offers caregivers, teachers, and children who can read insights into the facts behind what is simulated in the application, but the handbook is not necessary to start to explore and ask questions about the reef.
Meets High Aesthetic and Technical Standards
The 2019 EELDM committee was wowed by the aesthetics presented in Coral Reef. Illustrator Wenjia Tang created visual graphics rich with shading and colors that range the full span of realities one could encounter under the sea around the clock. In other words, the starfish, kelp, sea turtles, sharks and all other living and non-living things in the reef are represented differently in day- and night-time settings of the application.
And, Tinybop elected to represent all of the coral reef—the wondrous, gorgeous, gritty, and the gross are fully accounted for. The decomposition of the dead shark was one of our favorites. It is important to note, too, that the application also integrates haptics and audio to accompany the sensational visuals (haptic programming sends forces, vibrations, or motions to the user to enhance the multisensory experience of the user). For these reasons, this app received high marks on this award criteria.
Stay tuned for next month’s blog feature on the second, and final, honor recipient for the 2019 Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media, Pop Pop Pop’s Lexi’s World.
Guest blogger, Katie Paciga, PhD
Associate Professor of Education
Columbia College Chicago
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group; IV. Knowledge, Curation, and Management of Materials