Browsing articles in "Community Blog"

For kids, 2012 Paralympics highlighted ability, not disability

Sep 26, 2012   //   by   //   Community Blog, Student POV  //  Comments Off on For kids, 2012 Paralympics highlighted ability, not disability

As the London 2012 Paralympics came to a close, I watched a series of incredible athletes and incredible people inspire youth around the world with lessons of endurance, perseverance, and hard work.

Photo courtesy Wheelchair Basketball Canada

Photo courtesy Wheelchair Basketball Canada

Many of the competitors in these 2012 Games trained their entire lives for a chance at the podium. More than 60 years after the original Stoke Mandeville Games were held in London for the disabled veterans of World War II, these games provided inspiration not consolation. One of the most inspiring Paralympic athletes is Canada’s own Patrick Anderson.

Anderson has been a member of Canada’s Paralympic basketball team since the age of 17, winning 3 gold and one silver medal in the process. In the 2012 final, Anderson led Canada over Australia 64-58 with 34 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

The 33-year old is now a global icon for the sport, but it wasn’t an easy road. In 1989, at the age of 9, he was struck by a drunk driver and lost both of his legs above the knee. He discovered wheelchair basketball the next year and took to it quickly using his athletic ability and incredible tenacity and has since inspired a generation.

“Pat’s a tremendous ambassador for Canada basketball and I believe the Paralympic movement in general,” says Jody Kingsbury, communications manager at Wheelchair Basketball Canada.

“Somebody of his talents and skill when you get to see him play he just captivates people and I think that the more people that can see somebody like that participating at the highest level, it creates more awareness here in Canada and around the world for wheelchair basketball and the Paralympics.”

While Anderson inspires those who watch him play, he’s also a public figure maintaining a blog where he shares information on Paralympic sport and his experiences, and photos of him interacting with fans young and old.


Children, Social Media, and the Finality of Death

Sep 6, 2012   //   by   //   Community Blog  //  Comments Off on Children, Social Media, and the Finality of Death

Children will grow up approaching the concept of death differently than the previous generation did thanks to social media.

Between the ages of 6 and 10, children begin to think through and accepting the “finality of death”.  Children typically start to form an understanding of death after seeing dead bugs, dead leaves, or, more tragically, after a loved one has died.

Image Courtesy of

However, at first, children have a difficult time understanding that things can physically leave and do not come back.  It is, therefore, better if children are told where someone is rather than what has happened to them.  When a five-year old asks where someone is who has died, he/she might be satisfied to hear someone who died is now located in the cemetery.  Carolyn S. Wilken Ph.D. writes: “Children need physical, tangible ways to experience and express grief. Rituals such as visitations, funerals, and memorial services are very important”.  For children, a real and literal way of viewing death assists them in understanding what has become of the person.

Today, it is not abnormal, considering the 200,000 Facebook users who die each year, for friends and family to flock to the deceased’s social webpage to pay their respects.   In fact, a recently created Facebook application allows an individual to make a video or text message that will be published after they die.  But where does Facebook fit in as part of that important ritual for children?  Where is this tangible reminder of death and all of its finality?


Heaven Can Wait, There’s Money to be Made

May 19, 2012   //   by   //   Community Blog  //  Comments Off on Heaven Can Wait, There’s Money to be Made

“It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white… the only color that really matters is green”

– Peter Griffin (Family Guy)

The advert that takes 30 seconds out of your precious gaming experience even before loading time, is it really important? Why can’t the game start right away like the good old days? These are a few questions that came in to my head a few years before I really understood the importance of in-game advertising. It’s true that it frustrates a casual gamer sitting in front of a screen eagerly waiting to play a new exciting game. ­­­If the gamers actually knew and understood the formula “Ad + waiting = money + gaming” it would all seems so simple. Money is the backbone of any industry, as well as the gaming industry.


The Research Behind Educational Media

May 13, 2012   //   by   //   Community Blog  //  Comments Off on The Research Behind Educational Media

(Photo courtesy of Michelle Cain)

As an early childhood educator, I often find myself defending my love for kid’s media and my belief in its educational potential.  While I
have read about the negative impact that too much or poor quality programming can have on the developing child, I have also witnessed children learning through television and digital games. I have also read about the positive influence that media can have when time, knowledge and care are given to its development. Identifying quality educational media can be quite the challenge, especially with the amount of content that continues to flood the market. A search for “kids educational” in the iTunes store alone can leave you overwhelmed with the 10,000+ apps available. For those who are committed to the identification and development of quality educational media, understanding the important role that applied and evaluative research can play is an invaluable tool.


LOLOMGSeriously: Marketing “Cool” to Tweens

May 3, 2012   //   by   //   Community Blog  //  Comments Off on LOLOMGSeriously: Marketing “Cool” to Tweens

‘tween  // [tween] preposition 1. contraction of between. noun 2. Also, tween. A youngster between 10 and 12 years of age, considered too old to be a child and too young to be a teenager.

The Tween Demographic   

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

The definition of a “tween” market (ages 8 to 12) has changed the advertising landscape as we know it. Danielle Hulan, in her study of branding and tween identity, writes that this vulnerable generation has been “raised by a commodity culture from the cradle [… their] dependably fragile self-images and their need to belong to groups are perfect qualities for advertisers to exploit” (Quart, cited in Hulan, 2007). In fact, many corporations hire the expertise of market research companies like Look-Look to hunt for the next “cool thing.” The marketing of “cool” forces tweens to grow up quickly. Industry research reveals that children 11 and older don’t consider themselves children anymore. The Toy Manufacturers of America has changed their target market from birth to 14, to birth to ten years of age. By treating tweens as independent, mature consumers, marketers are essentially erasing the parents from the picture.


Raising the Red Flag: The impact of media multitasking on children

Apr 18, 2012   //   by   //   Community Blog  //  Comments Off on Raising the Red Flag: The impact of media multitasking on children

(Photo courtesy of The Age

I sit at my computer, in my living room. The TV is on, Facebook is open, messages are chiming and a bouncing icon is telling me I have unread mail. I would love nothing better than to sit here uninterrupted and write this blog, but the realities of digital media are allowing me to fall victim to the media multitasking phenomenon.


Do Girls Play Games?

Apr 12, 2012   //   by   //   Community Blog  //  Comments Off on Do Girls Play Games?

(Photo courtesy of Dueling Analogs)

Girl gamers carry a stigma in society; they’re girls who like ‘boy things’ (video games and sports). The genre needs to be revamped into a place where girls can play games designed *shock* FOR GIRLS. It’s time to revolutionize the market. So why is the market this way? And what can we do to start changing it?


iSki therefore iPad

Mar 26, 2012   //   by   //   Community Blog  //  Comments Off on iSki therefore iPad

(Photo courtesy of Microsoft Office)

For the past two years, I’ve worked part-time at a ski shop. I fit kids ages 3-12 for skis, boots and outerwear. If you’ve ever taken a little one ski shopping, then you know it can be a lengthy process. After being measured, weighed and stuffed into a hot, puffy snow outfit, it’s no wonder they get restless. Since equipment and outerwear fitting is a long sweaty, process, kids often bring some form of electronic entertainment with them. Most of them bring their Nintendo DS’s.


Buying cool: kids and teens are less ad savvy than ever before

Mar 5, 2012   //   by   //   Edu-speak  //  Comments Off on Buying cool: kids and teens are less ad savvy than ever before
(Photo courtesy of Microsoft Office)

Children today are spending more time on screens and by the time they reach their early twenties they will probably be exposed to more than a million ads. Some would argue that the increased exposure to advertising has made children, teens and young adults more media savvy than ever before, but I think this over exposure is actually clouding their judgment. Read more >>

Creating content for kids: How do we find the right balance?

Feb 6, 2012   //   by   //   Entertain This!  //  Comments Off on Creating content for kids: How do we find the right balance?
(Photo courtesy of enhy)

In the Children’s Entertainment Program at Centennial College, I teach the two courses in the business of children’s entertainment category. In addition to learning about the landscape of children’s media, the regulatory and funding frameworks and the legal and financial aspects of the industry, we spend a lot of time reviewing news and topical issues. Beyond just the “who’s who” and “who’s doing what,” we track trends and lightening rod issues—and this leads to some of our most interesting discussions. Read more >>

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