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Elmo’s Alphabet Challenge: The Story Behind the Animation

By Graydon Gordian


On Tuesday, August 14, Sesame Street released “Elmo’s Alphabet Challenge,” our latest home video. In it, Elmo, Abby and Telly get sucked into an animated video game world and have to defeat A.B.C.-more at a number of alphabet-based challenges in order to escape.

The challenges are all spoofs of iconic video games: Pac-man, Guitar Hero and Super Mario Brothers, among others, inspired the levels Elmo and his friends must traverse. The animation was created by Magnetic Dreams, an animation company Sesame Street has been working with for almost a decade. Read More

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August 08, 2012

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Helping Life-Saving Lessons Reach Marginalized Indian Communities.

By Sesame Workshop


This article originally appeared on the Sesame Workshop India site. Visit SesameWorkshopIndia.org to learn more about Galli Galli Sim Sim and all the wonderful work Sesame Workshop India does to improve the lives of and educate the children of India.

Millions of families in India are cut off from information that can help children grow up healthy, happy, and ready to learn. To get around the barriers that marginalize these families, Sesame Workshop India is using phones to make educational media an integral part of the community. The poor and deeply conservative village of Nagina in the Mewat district if Haryana does not have electricity. Children here have never seen a radio or TV before, let alone a Bollywood movie.

Yet there is one media source that’s breaking through in Nagina. In the evenings, children and parents gather around a mobile phone to tune in Radio Mewat, a nearby community radio station. What are they hearing? Laughter mixed with learning, as characters from Galli Galli Sim Sim talk about literacy and math lessons, as well as good nutrition and healthy habits like always washing hands before you eat.

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August 08, 2012

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Finding My Way to Sesame Street

By Liza Dorison


As a college junior I had watched many of my peers graduate and enter the professional world. Many of my friends with similar interests and work experience fell into social media entry level positions, specifically communications. Because my small liberal arts college does not offer a Communications major I began to wonder what the draw was to public relations and communications outside of college. I wanted to know more. I needed a contact in the business to chat with. It is easy to search major PR firms online and compile a list, but without a name or some sort of connection I was in trouble.

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The Evolution of a Sesame Street iPad App

By Graydon Gordian


Thorough research provides the foundation of everything Sesame Workshop produces. Whether it’s a book, a game or an episode of our flagship program Sesame Street, our early childhood education experts spend hours working with parents and young children to ensure that all of our educational material, no matter what medium it comes in, is both fun and effective. That policy hasn’t changed as new technologies have allowed us to bring our educational efforts to new venues, such as applications for tablets and smart phones. In fact, the simple nature of updating apps has allowed us to continue scrutinizing the effectiveness of our educational material even after it’s been published.

Take the recently updated version of our first book app for iPad, The Monster at the End of This Book, based on the classic book of the same name. Although the app, made in collaboration with Callaway Digital Arts, was tested before release to ensure that it was educational, navigable and entertaining, we received feedback suggesting some parents and children were not fully utilizing the app’s user interface. Even little hiccups can hamper the effectiveness of an app’s educational aims, so our research team went back and took another look at it. They found there were ways to make the app even more user-friendly.

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February 28, 2012

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The Technology Behind the Art of Drawing Oscar the Grouch

By Graydon Gordian


Evan Cheng, associate art director of character design, draws on his digital tablet.

When Sesame Street debuted in 1969, the term “digital pen tablet” didn’t exist. It would be years before the use of personal computers and similar technology became widespread. But nowadays digital tablets are one of the primary tools used by our Creative Resources team, the talented people who take Grover, Elmo and Big Bird and create the vivid two-dimensional images that go in educational books, on clothes and on any other item where Sesame Street MuppetsTM can be found.

Often they’ll begin drawing an image with a pencil and paper, but the advancements made in tablet technology now allow them to complete a drawing in a small fraction of the time it formerly took. Unlike previous tablet technology, the Wacom tablets Sesame Workshop uses allow an artist to draw directly on the screen, as opposed to a separate touch sensitive pad. They also respond to the pressure of the pen, giving the artist crucial control of the thickness of lines. Whether furry or feathery, every Sesame Street MuppetTM is incredibly textured. The artists on our Creative Services team need that level of control to render them accurately.

The tablet also allows the artist to view the drawing from a variety of angles and distances. If the artist zooms in on a particular section of the image in order to add small details, his pen strokes will affect a zoomed-out version of the image as well. That way he or she can see how the details are changing the entire drawing.

The digital pen tablets used by the Creative Resources team are just another example of the ways Sesame Workshop is using technology to encourage laughter and fun, while educating children all over the world.

To learn more about the digital pen tablet technology, watch this video in which Sesame Workshop artist Diana Leto explains how she uses it.

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January 12, 2012

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Sesame Workshop and Qualcomm Unveil Next Step in Children’s Education

By Beatrice Chow


Qualcomm Vuforia and Sesame Street

Qualcomm's Vuforia In Action with Sesame Street Characters

“Much of Sesame Workshop’s success can be attributed to our collaborative, research-intensive approach to the development of programs and activities. Qualcomm’s Vuforia platform offers a new dimension to mobile experiences. We think it can bring enhanced entertainment and educational benefits to children.”
– Terry Fitzpatrick, chief content and distribution officer, Sesame Workshop.

Sesame Workshop has been a longtime advocate of embracing cutting-edge technologies to enrich children’s early learning experiences. At the International CES (Consumer Electronics Show), Qualcomm and Sesame Workshop unveiled the result of their latest collaboration, a prototype playset that brings physical toys to life.

Using a tablet and a traditional playset, children engage with their toys to make playtime both fun and educational. The prototype playset includes elements such as common household objects, as well as figurines of classic Sesame Street characters Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie. Children interact with this playset using a tablet and an application that features Qualcomm’s newly branded Vuforia augmented reality platform. When the tablet is pointed at the playset, the pieces and the play environment come alive through the tablet’s camera, transforming the playset into an interactive experience.

“In the past, the only place toys came to life was on TV and in movies. Today, we are bringing that magic one step closer to reality,” said Jay Wright, senior director of business development at Qualcomm. “With the ability to recognize 3D objects, Qualcomm’s Vuforia platform will transform the play experience. Our collaboration with the Sesame Workshop is helping us demonstrate the power of augmented reality to enrich children’s lives.”

Qualcomm’s award-winning Vuforia platform transforms real-world objects into interactive experiences for use in gaming, interactive media and instructional applications.  Sesame Workshop seized the opportunity to combine their educational research with cutting-edge technology to address children’s developmental needs. Augmented reality is another major step in proving that technology can be a useful tool in children’s education.

For more information, read the full press release here.

News Coverage:
A Game-Changer for Television? Sesame Street Will Be First Interactive Show
Reuters

CES: Qualcomm Teams with Sesame Street, Microsoft
The Street

Educational Applications of Augmented Reality
Raman Media Network

CES Moment of Zen: A Fuzzy Friend
CNet

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