It’s not a new concept at the core, but Disney Interactive (NYSE:DIS) plans on launching a new platform dubbed ‘Disney Connected Learning’ in late 2012/2013 which will allow parents to actively monitor their child’s performance in learning-related activities. What makes this particular implementation unique is that it will run under Apple iOS and Amazon Kindle devices, along with Facebook and other platforms, and encompass more than thirty separate games throughout the year, featuring familiar Disney characters as they educate players via Disney’s Learning System. In addition, an API will be exposed that will allow third party developers to integrate Disney’s K-5 curriculum which was developed in partnership with Stanford University and the University of Georgia. The native and third party apps will allow to progressively test skills with the child and report back to a separate parent-specific app that will allow feedback on the child’s progress.
While this is a new frontier for education for the company, it is no stranger to producing educational materials for children. Disney Educational Productions has produced and offers several series of DVD videos including the popular ‘Science of Imagineering’ series. In addition, Disney Consumer Products owns and operates Disney English centers in China, which uses Disney characters and stories to promote English as a second language.
ABC Family is joining forces with DonorsChoose.org on the “Bright Student, Big Ideas!” campaign, www.ABCFamily.com/BrightStudents. For the first time ever, public school students in grades 9-12 will be able to work with their teachers to submit a project for funding. ABC Family will “Double Your Impact,” providing 50 percent of the project funding (up to $100,000 in total funding).
“ABC Family believes that every student can have a Big Idea, and we want to be a part of making those ideas a reality,” said Michael Riley, president ABC Family. “DonorsChoose.org, with its innovative micro-financing model, is the perfect platform to help us support students in the pursuit of the ideas that are most important to them. It is powerful to conceive an idea, work to make it happen and then see it come to fruition, and we want to be a part of empowering students to turn their Big Ideas into action.”
“Our partnership with ABC Family will help bring hundreds of innovative and inspiring ideas to life,” said Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org, “As a former teacher, I understand the importance of keeping students engaged and encouraging leadership development, the impact of which will be felt by the benefitting schools and communities for years to come.”
Whether supplying 15 copies of To Kill a Mockingbird for an 8th grade class in the Bronx, microscopes for a 7th grade science experiment in Detroit, or a field trip for a Baltimore history class to visit the Supreme Court in session, DonorsChoose.org visitors have helped fund – largely through micro-donations of $5, $15 and $20 – more than 200,000 teacher projects that served over 5 million students throughout the U.S., mostly in poverty stricken areas.
Now, with “Bright Students, Big Ideas” campaign on ABCFamily.com, students can take on a more active role. Here’s how it works:
Step One: The student shares an idea for his/her school with a teacher (teacher must be a full-time public school teacher). Students can be as creative as they like, as long as the initiative enriches the class, school or his/or her development. For instance, projects could range from creating an anti-bullying video to hosting a mock trial on an important issue facing students or even a beach clean-up or the creation of an organic garden to help the environment.
Step Two: Teacher submits the idea on the DonorsChoose.org website. Submissions will describe how student(s) came up with the idea for the project, how many students are involved, a request for project materials ranging from $100 to $1,300, and a description of how the teacher will work with them to develop it. All submissions have to include the keyword “ABC Family” in the title field in order to qualify for funding from ABC Family.
Step Three: Once the project request meets the necessary requirements, ABC Family automatically donates 50 percent of the total amount needed (up to $100,000).
Step Four: Once the project is fully funded, DonorsChoose.org will send the teacher and student all of the materials they need to bring the idea to life.
Step Five: Together the student and the teacher put the student’s idea into action. Photos and thank you notes are then sent to the donors who helped make it a reality.
Fullerton College and the Disneyland Resort have joined together to create a unique machinist training program that prepares adults for successful careers as machinists. A total of six students were selected earlier this year for the program, four of whom are Disneyland Resort cast members and two who were recommended by the machinist union.
The four-year program, which is supported by the International Association of Machinists District Lodge 947, consists of full-credit courses on the campus in subjects ranging from blueprint reading to automotive fundamentals. The units attained through taking those courses can be applied toward an associate’s degree. Program participants not only receive a classroom education, but also paid hands-on training three days a week in various departments of the Disneyland Resort including overhaul and manufacturing facilities, attraction maintenance and transportation services.
“This collaboration helps to develop the talents and potential of our cast members,” said Rich Langhorst, vice president of facilities and operations services at the Disneyland Resort. “The hands-on learning environment supported by the Disneyland Resort and Fullerton College is a great way to further develop the skills of the craft workers in our local-communities.”
Upon completion of the program, all participants are eligible to be hired into permanent positions available at the Disneyland Resort. In addition, each candidate who successfully completes the program is awarded the Journeyman card, which certifies that the candidate performs technical work at an advanced level and is trained to use power tools.
“One of the primary missions of the California community college system is to advance the state’s economic growth and global competitiveness through education, training, and services that contribute to continuous work force improvement,” said Dr. Rajen Vurdien, Fullerton College president. “Our partnership with Disney allows us to provide real world experience and training that will benefit Orange County.”
“Community colleges are uniquely designed to respond to the needs of our local work force through practical-based coursework,” said Dan O’Brien, Fullerton College machining instructor. “The students are dedicated to improving their skills and gaining real-world experience, which is a huge advantage in this competitive job market.”
Disney Launches Nationwide Environmental Science Competition for Classroom, Prizes Include Class Disneyland Celebration
BURBANK, Calif. — With the school year in full swing, educators will have a new environmental science learning tool to draw from as they develop their curriculums. Disney today announced the nationwide launch of Disney’s Planet Challenge, a project-based environmental competition for 4th – 6th grade classrooms that will empower students to make a difference in school, at home and in their local communities. With more than 15 years experience running highly-acclaimed classroom environmental competitions in regional markets including California and Florida (as “Disney’s Environmentality Challenge®”), Disney developed the new Disney’s Planet Challenge in response to growing demand across all 50 states. Program collaborations with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the K-12 Alliance and state and federal government agencies ensure academic and environmental excellence. Participation in the program is free, and enrollment is open today at www.disney.com/planetchallenge.
“Disney’s environmental legacy is carried forward today in our ambitious environmental goals that not only focus on how we operate our businesses, but on how we inspire others to learn about the planet and take action as well,” said The Walt Disney Company’s senior executive vice president and chief financial officer, Tom Staggs, who oversees the company’s environmental efforts. “Disney’s Planet Challenge is an excellent example of how our unique connection to children can give us the opportunity to inspire a new generation of environmental stewards.”
To ensure Disney’s Planet Challenge promotes excellence in science education and adheres to the specific educational standards of each state, Disney is collaborating with NSTA and the K-12 Alliance. Disney has also worked closely with the U.S. and California Environmental Protection Agencies, U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife and the California Department of Education to achieve the highest in environmental standards.
DALLAS, TX — Today, JourneyEd, a division of Journey Education Marketing, Inc., announced a major collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios. As the leading online marketer of software to K-12 and college education, JourneyEd will market and sell RenderMan®, Pixar’s professional rendering software, through its website, to high school and college students, educators, schools, and higher education institutions at attractive academic prices.
Both JourneyEd and Pixar’s RenderMan® will exhibit next week at SIGGRAPH 2009, the leading international conference on computer graphics and interactive technology. The convention in New Orleans showcases the most respected technical and creative programs focusing on research, science, art, animation, music, gaming, interactivity, education, and the web. Educators and students are invited to drop by the JourneyEd and Pixar booths to see some of the best products.
“JourneyEd is thrilled to become Pixar’s connection to the education market,” said JourneyEd’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Fischler. “RenderMan is the software that Pixar uses to create not only its own Academy Award®-winning animated films, but is also used to render the bulk of visual effects seen in today’s movies. We are delighted that student artists can now access this coveted professional resource among our animation software offerings at a highly attractive price.”
RenderMan® is now available to the education community through JourneyEd at special academic prices, as low as $125 for an annual student subscription, at www.JourneyEd.com.
“Pixar is excited to be able to reach out to the education community through JourneyEd, and make RenderMan accessible to the next generation of CG artists,” said Chris Ford, Pixar’s RenderMan Business Director. “JourneyEd is a perfect partner for us, with deep roots in the education market and online sales leadership.”
Journey Education Marketing, Inc. (JourneyEd) is the leading multi-channel software marketer to the K-12 and college academic markets. It sells to students, faculty, staff, educational institutions and public school districts. With the addition of the popular K-12 education reseller CCV Software to its business in Feb. 2008, JourneyEd expanded from serving only higher education into the K-12 market. It acquired online retailer Academic Superstore in Jan. 2009. JourneyEd’s Academic eStore Network (AEN), which includes more than 22,000 online stores, offers thousands of market-leading software and technology products, including those published by Microsoft and Adobe, at discounts of up to 85 percent off retail prices to the education community. JourneyEd is also a leader in verifying academic buyers. Call JourneyEd at 800-874-9001 or visit www.JourneyEd.com.
Pixar Animation Studios, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is an Academy Award®-winning film studio with world-renowned technical, creative and production capabilities in the art of computer animation. Creator of some of the most successful and beloved animated films of all time, including Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL•E and most recently, Up. The Northern California studio has won 21 Academy Awards® and its ten films have grossed more than $5 billion at the worldwide box office to date. The next film release from Disney•Pixar is Toy Story 3 (June 18, 2010).